Grape seed oil has been used in the treatment of seborrheic dermatitis (SD) for centuries even though there is no real evidence to support its efficacy. Grape seed oil is a natural agent that is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral.
Grape seed oil is likely safe to use if present in a skincare product but direct application of the oil topically is not recommended. Even though it’s light-weight and rapidly absorbed, grape seed oil contains high amounts of oleic and linoleic acid which may worsen seborrheic dermatitis in some people.
Let’s take a deep dive:
What is grape seed oil?
Grape seed oil is extracted from the seeds of grape, and it has a range of benefits for skin. It’s been shown to help with acne and reduce redness. The oil’s lightweight texture allows it to absorb quickly and easily. This makes it a popular option for skin care products.
What are the benefits of grape seed oil?
Studies have also shown that grape seed oil can protect against sun damage and promote collagen repair. It has mild astringency and antimicrobial properties, attributed to polyphenolic compounds called catechins. Grapeseed oil is rich in antioxidants and other beneficial compounds, including proanthocyanidin.
Grape seed oil reduces the severity of hyperpigmentation and sun damage. Its antioxidant properties may even help to even skin tone and protect against free-radical damage. Grape seed oil can be used on oily and acne-prone skin as well as dry skin.
Is grape seed oil anti-fungal?
Grape seed extract has been shown to have strong anti-fungal effects against candida, especially when ingested. The extract can also be used for skin fungal infections like athlete’s foot to reduce itching, burning and other symptoms.
Lab studies show that grape seed extract potentially has activity against Malassezia.
Is grape seed oil good for seborrheic dermatitis?
Grape seed oil has tons of skin benefits and is also rapidly absorbed. This makes it an awesome choice for a skin oil. On the surface, grape seed oil should be a great fit for SD sufferers with dry, flaky skin.
Unfortunately, grape seed oil contains mostly linoleic acid and oleic acid. Both these long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) feed Malassezia, the yeast that makes SD worse.
On one hand, grape seed extract has anti-fungal activity against Malassezia. On the other hand, its LCFA potentially feeds Malassezia.
While there are many lab studies on grape seed extract, I haven’t found any human studies. More importantly, there are no studies on grape seed oil’s benefit for seborrheic dermatitis.
That’s why I don’t recommend you apply grape seed oil on your skin or scalp.
Use safe carrier oils that won’t feed Malassezia instead.
Can I use skin care products containing grape seed oil?
When it comes to skin care, grape seed oil can be a powerful ally. This natural oil is rich in nutrients that can help improve the look and feel of skin. Grapeseed oil also contains antioxidants that can help speed the healing process.
With its multitude of benefits, it would be a shame to avoid grape seed oil altogether. When grape seed oil is combined with a ton of other compounds, especially if it’s not the main ingredient, it doesn’t usually cause SD to get worse.
I’ve also used Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence throughout the winter months. Even though it utilized grape seed oil as part of its dual phase essence, it didn’t flare my SD. Read my Lancome Clarifique Dual Essence review.
Having said that, everyone has different triggers. If your skin is particularly sensitive to grape seed oil, give any products that contain the oil a miss.
To wrap up
While grape seed extract has been shown to have anti-fungal properties in lab studies, grape seed oil lacks the same proof and contains LCFA which can feed Malassezia. Best to avoid direct application of grape seed oil if you have SD.