Saturday, December 19, 2009

Pumpkin seed oil

Pumpkin seed oil - INCI Curcubita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil - is a high linoleic acid oil with 12 to 18% palmitic acid (C16), 5 to 8% stearic acid (C18), 24 to 41% oleic acid (C18:1), and 18 to 62% linoleic acid (C18:2), with an average of 50% or so.

Pumpkin seed oil contains tocopherols, but the amount can differ with the time of year the pumpkins grew, where the pumpkins grew, and how the oil processed. It can range from as low as 150 ppm - not much - to 1575 ppm, which is quite a lot!

The darker colour of pumpkin seed oil comes from the carotenoids - a type of flavonoid - at about 15 ppm. It isn't a lot, but it behaves as a Vitamin A precursor and free radical scavenger. We also find caffeic acid, also found in coconut oil and mango butter, which is a great anti-oxidant.

The phytosterols in pumpkin seed oil - ß-sitosterol at about 249 milligrams per kilogram of oil - offer help with reducing redness and inflammation as well as soothing dry and itching skin.

The oleic acid in pumpkin seed oil offers skin softening and moisturizing properties, as well as cell regenerating and anti-inflammatory benefits. The linoleic acid helps with skin's barrier repair and reduction of transepidermal water loss. The tocopherols offer anti-oxidizing effects with softening, and the carotenoids offer free radical scavenging. And the phytosterols can help with dry and itchy skin, as well as anti-inflammatory features.

Pumpkin seed oil can have a shelf life of 6 to 12 months. I would stay on the safe side and call it 6 months unless you add up to 0.5% Vitamin E to the bottle the moment you open it.

I'd compare pumpkin seed oil to rice bran oil or sesame oil. It's a medium weight oil with a nice balance of oleic and linoleic acids. Try using it where you might use those two oils. As well, try it in a facial moisturizer or serum, anywhere you want some Vitamin A free radical scavenging.

Join me tomorrow for more fun with oils!


Topcat said...

I have been loving reading over your blog posts. You oil comments are so informative - thank you!

Ryan said...

Susan, your blog is great! I had a question about adding vitamin E in oils, like pumpkin seed. Would breaking open a vitamin E capsule be as effective as buying and using a vitamin E like T50?
Thanks. Ryan

Ryan said...

I found the answer in your anti-oxidants page. "Make sure the Vitamin E from the store is tocopherol and not tocopheryl acetate. If it is the tocopherol, then you're fine - the acetate one is not an anti-oxidant for the purposes of retarding rancidity in your oils!"
I've seen the capsules are Tocopheryl Acetate, therefore they aren't going to do the job.