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Grapeseed oil uses and side effects

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grapeseed oil

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  • Grapeseed oil comes from the seeds of red, green or purple grapes. It has a mild flavor and scent, and is produced in Spain, France, Argentina and Italy
  • While typically used for cooking and baking, grapeseed oil has cosmetic purposes too
  • You can find different substances in grapeseed oil, such as omega-6 fatty acids, saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, phenolic compounds, and polyphenols
  • While grapeseed oil may seem like a good cooking oil, you should skip it and opt for coconut oil instead

You may already know about the benefits of grapes, but their often-ignored seeds have also been linked to health-boosting abilities. This is why grapeseed extract1 is now a sought-after supplement in health and grocery stores, but have you ever wondered if grapeseed oil (a type of vegetable oil) reaps the same benefits? If you’re curious whether grapeseed oil can be a good alternative to olive oil or other cooking oils, continue reading this article.

What is grapeseed oil?

Grapeseed oil, also known as grape oil,2 is made from the seeds of red, green or purple wine-making grapes. Grapeseed oil has a relatively high smoke point of 485 degrees F,3 but it possesses a mild flavor and a somewhat hidden scent.4 While this oil was used for centuries in Europe, its current production is concentrated in Italy, France, Spain and Argentina.5,6

You may confuse grapeseed oil with grapeseed extract, but there are differences between them, particularly regarding their source material, as some extracts are made with grape skins.7 Their production methods differ too; manufacturers use solvents to perform solid-liquid extraction on seeds to create grapeseed extract,8 while grapeseed oil is produced via expeller pressing, partial refining or solvent extraction.9

The most glaring difference between these two substances would arguably be the higher amount of health benefits linked to grapeseed extract, as you’ll learn from my article, “The Many Benefits of Grape Seed Extract.”

Grapeseed oil's uses

Today, grapeseed oil is commonly used for cooking and creating infused oils.10 Grapeseed oil has also been touted to be a vegan substitute for butter or olive oil when baking, but there may be drawbacks to using this oil for culinary purposes — more about this later.11,12

Its uses extend to cosmetic applications too. Grapeseed oil can be found in hair products, massage oils, hand creams, lip balm, sunburn lotions and other skincare products.13

7 composition of grapeseed oil

Grapeseed oil is abundant in plant substances. This oil is composed of the following:14

  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like omega-6 fatty acids15
  • Saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids16 like oleic acid
  • Vitamin E, particularly tocotrienols or unsaturated types of vitamin E (although amounts of this vitamin in the oil largely depend on the environment the grapes were raised in)
  • Phenolic compounds like flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids such as gallic acid, tannins and stilbenes
  • Polyphenols such as catechins, epicatechins, trans-resveratrol and procyanidin B1
  • Tocopherols (alpha-, beta-, gamma- and delta-tocopherols)
  • Phytosterols

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What are the benefits of grapeseed oil?

Grapeseed oil has been highly touted for its benefits to your skin when used topically, thanks to its vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids.17 It can be absorbed into your skin without leaving an oily sensation and clogging your pores, while helping tone and enhance your complexion.18

Whether you have oily19 or sensitive skin, you can reap grapeseed oil’s benefits.20 If you’re suffering from acne, grapeseed oil’s astringent capabilities may aid in addressing your condition.21 A 2016 Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine article also revealed that grapeseed oil has wound-healing benefits.22 MedicalNewsToday suggested that grapeseed oil can be utilized to remove makeup or act as a skin lightener.23

Before applying grapeseed oil on your skin or face, do a skin patch test to see if your skin will react negatively to it. I also advise diluting this oil into a carrier oil like coconut, sweet almond, olive or jojoba.

As mentioned earlier, some hair product manufacturers add grapeseed oil into their products24 as the oil is lightweight, and may help increase hair strength and moisture, giving it a shinier appearance. Topically applying grapeseed oil may address the following hair issues:25

  • DandruffGrapeseed oil has emollient properties that can assist in removing dead skin and promoting increased scalp moisture. This reduces your overall risk for dry scalp and dandruff.
  • Hair loss — An animal study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in 1999 revealed that grape seeds helped promote hair growth in mice, thanks to the procyanidin oligomers in them.26

How to make grapeseed oil

Producing this oil starts by gathering leftover grape seeds from wine-making.27 They undergo expeller pressing, partial refining or solvent extraction to ultimately produce grapeseed oil sold in stores.28

Most grape seeds have an 8 to 20 percent oil content, but cultivar varieties, extraction methods, solvent types, operating conditions and environmental influences during grape harvesting can all play a role in the final amount of grapeseed oil that can be produced at a given time.29

Can grapeseed oil lead to side effects?

The drawback of grapeseed oil is its extremely high omega-6 fatty acid content, which can throw off your body’s omega-3 to omega-6 ratios if consumed in excessive amounts. This may result in chronic low-grade inflammation, a known precursor of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity and atherosclerosis.30 Hence, I do not recommend cooking with grapeseed oil.

Grapeseed oil production also entails heavy processing in high-temperature factories,31 where the finished product may already be rancid because of extreme oxidation. Some manufacturers also use hexane, a chemical solvent considered a neurotoxin and air pollutant. There’s not enough research highlighting hexane’s side effects once consumed internally,32 but inhaling this substance may trigger dizziness, nausea, headaches or blurred vision.33

Topical application of grapeseed oil is fine, unless you’re allergic to grapes or grape seeds.34 Some people may also experience dizziness, headaches, nausea, redness, itching or rashes, or develop dry and itchy scalp because of excessive grapeseed oil use.35 Ask your doctor about how often you can use grapeseed oil for cosmetic purposes so you may prevent these side effects from manifesting.36

Avoid grapeseed oil for cooking — There are better options you can use

Although grapeseed oil’s potential benefits may seem appealing, it doesn’t take away the fact that it’s loaded with high amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which can be devastating for your health in excessive amounts. If you’re looking for a reliable cooking oil that won’t trigger health problems, coconut oil is your ideal choice.

My article “Use Coconut Oil Daily” will provide you with insights regarding this popular multipurpose and multibenefit oil. Just like grapeseed oil, it may help boost your hair and skin health, too.

If you still want to give grapeseed oil a try, make sure to purchase oils labeled cold-pressed or expeller-pressed, as this means the manufacturer didn’t use chemical solvents or expose grape seeds to high temperatures during processing.37

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about grapeseed oil

Q: Is grapeseed oil healthy for you?

A: Using grapeseed oil topically may provide benefits for your hair and skin, but won’t do the same if ingested. If consumed in excessive amounts, grapeseed oil’s high omega-6 fatty acid content can negatively skew your body’s omega-3 to omega-6 ratios and raise your risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Q: Can you consume grapeseed oil if you’re on the Paleo diet?

A: According to “The Ultimate Paleo Cookbook,” grapeseed oil must be avoided if you’re trying the Paleo diet.38 However, no matter what type of diet you’re trying to follow, avoid consuming grapeseed oil altogether because it may cause negative impacts to your well-being.

Q: How is grapeseed oil made?

A: Seeds from red, purple or green grapes that are discarded after wine-making are used to make grapeseed oil. Manufacturers use techniques like expeller pressing, partial refining or solvent extraction to develop the final product.39,40

Q: Is grapeseed oil bad for your skin?

A: When applied topically, grapeseed oil may promote toned skin,41 address acne42 and aid in healing wounds.43

Q: Does grapeseed oil go bad?

A:  Yes. Grapeseed oil is known to last for about three months.44

Q: Where do you buy grapeseed oil?

A: If you want to purchase grapeseed oil for topical application, go to a supermarket or check reputable health stores or websites for cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils, meaning they weren’t exposed to chemical solvents or extremely high temperatures.45

+ Sources and References
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