Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cranberry seed oil

Cranberry oil - INCI: Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil - is an interesting oil. With 3 to 6% palimitic acid (C16), up to 2% stearic acid (C18), 22 to 26% oleic acid (C18:1), 30 to 38% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 20 to 38% linolenic acid (C18:3), you'd expect it to have a short shelf life with all those unsaturated fats. But it has a 2 year shelf life thanks to all the amazing anti-oxidants contained therein (if kept in a cool, dark place).

Cranberry oil contains one of the highest levels of Vitamin E in the form of tocotrienols (1000 ppm) and tocopherols (between 200 to 450 ppm).

The polyphenols - in the form of anthocyanidins, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidin - contribute more anti-oxidizing awesomeness. Cranberry oil contains quercetin, a fantastic anti-oxidant also found in mango butter, and peonidin, a good anti-oxidant.

Cranberry oil contains tannins - which give it an astringent taste and feel - that have anti-bacterial and anti-clotting properties (which is why the juice works for urinary tract infections!), and it is rich in carotenoids, including ß-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A. (More about carotenoids and Vitamin A tomorrow...)

When you see all the polyphenols in this oil, it's little wonder cranberries and cranberry seed oil have the highest number of total free phenols of all the fruits (grapes are second!)

But wait! There's more. Cranberry seed oil contains lovely phytosterols like ß-sitosterol at about 1300 ppm, which is slightly less than macadamia nut oil, and a lot less than soy bean or pomegranate oil, but more than the lighter carrier oils like sweet almond, apricot kernel, or grapeseed oil. Phytosterols offer anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties, as well as helping to repair damaged skin.

So what can cranberry seed oil offer to one of our mighty creations? Linoleic acid repairs skin's barrier abilities, reduces transepidermal water loss, and offers anti-inflammatory properties. Oleic acid is a moisturizing and softening ingredient that is well absorbed to increase cell regeneration and offers anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin E is a great softening and moisturizer, as well as an anti-oxidant. We get more anti-oxidizing power from the quercetin, peonidin, and the other anthocyanidins, and anti-bacterial properties from the tannins. ß-carotene can offer some sun protective qualities and reduced redness in skin. Finally, the ß-sitosterol behaves like cortisone, reducing inflammation and itching.

This is an expensive oil, up there with sea buckthorn oil, at $10 to $20 per ounce! And it isn't easy to find. None of my regular suppliers carry it, and none of the on-line sites I frequent have it. (Oh, I found it at Lotioncrafter and From Nature with Love!)

Join me tomorrow for fun with cartenoids and Vitamin A!


SylvieL said...

Thank you for so much useful information through the year.

Happy Holidays to you!

JusB said...

I've found out that my scalp is somewhat sensitive to excessive oleic acid, so I'm trying to regulate which oils I use. That means switching out my 8 - 10 "medium" quality oils with 2 -3 more expensive, yet multi-purpose "high-quality" oils. Cranberry oil has been intriguing me these last few months, and I'm finally going to give it a try.

Your post has reconfirmed my decision to purchase this oil. Thank you for such an AMAZING site; you make me want to create every single hair and skin care product I own.