Benefits of Grape Seed Extract
The benefits of grape seed extract (Vitis vinifera) come from its oligometric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), which are a group of polyphenols serving as anti-oxidants. OPC anti-oxidants protect cells from free-radical damage and are thought to be 20 times more potent than vitamin C, and can be 50 times more effective than vitamin E!
Grape seed extract is often confused with grape see oil. For a review of the benefits of grape seed oil, please click HERE.
Much of the research exploring the benefits of grape see extract have been conducted with oral agents. Although the research and results have demonstrated many positive results for cardiovascular health and fighting off cancer, our focus here will be on its topical application. For more information on the benefits of grape seed extract for internal consumption, please see the following articles: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/grapeseed/ataglance.htm
Among the topical benefits of grape seed extract, studies have provided evidence that grape seed extract supports dermal wound healing. The mechanism of actions seems to be the proanthycyanidins containing resveratrol accelerating wound contraction and closure. Not only did grapeseed extract help to heal wounds faster, but it also resulted in less scarring! http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12374620 http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/gdgrapes.htm
This therapeutic property of grape seed extract may be beneficial when adding it to an acne fighting regimen. Many people suffer the agonizing results of acne scarring for a life time.
Of course, the big question many people have is whether grape see extract can eliminate wrinkles. At this time there are few studies with a large enough patient populations to definitively confirm this. Certainly, the powerful anti-oxidants of the polyphenols offer great potential and there are been plenty of anecdotal stories to support its use in cosmetics. One of the active components is mallic acid, and it is said to work like an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) to improve skin tone. This lightly exfoliating characteristic may help the penetration of other beneficial ingredients. An AHA product will make your skin more sun sensitive so please remember to apply your sunscreen.
OPCs are commonly marketed as a treatment of aging skin due to their anti-oxidant properties and potential to protect & strengthen collagen and elastin. Although this apears to be a sound theorectical basis to add to skin care, we are unable to find sufficent clinical evidence.
However, grape seed extract also contains vitamins E and C which are supported by clinical data. Both vitamins help to prevent burning on exposure to ultraviolet light (UV rays), although you should always wear an additional high SPF product!
Additional benefits of grape seed extract are provided by its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-microbial nature. These properties have made grape seed extract a favorable ingredient in hair care product. Their ability to soothe an irritated scalp and reduce dandruff have been noted.