When shopping for skin care products, you should always take your skin type into account. If you have oily skin, you may opt for gel-like moisturizers over heavy creams, while those with dry skin tend to like the opposite.
Some ingredients, however, are winners for all skin types—from acne-prone to chronically dry and even highly sensitive. One of those crowd favorites is grapeseed oil, so let's chat about the benefits and how to use this hydrating superstar.
What is grapeseed oil?
But back to skin care—this ingredient isn't new. In fact, it's been used for thousands of years, even tracing back to ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Given its nutrient profile, it's no wonder this oil has stuck around for so long and continues to be used in products everywhere.
9 skin benefits of grapeseed oil.
We know there are plenty of oils used on the skin today, so we'll dive into what makes grapeseed oil so unique and why you may want to add it to your routine:
"It's been documented that people with acne-prone skin show a decrease in the concentration of linoleic acid and a deficiency of ceramides in their skin," clean cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline tells mbg.
"That leads to skin barrier dysfunction in which acne is the result. Assuring proper balance of lipid profiles in the skin as well as enhancing skin barrier functions can help maintain acne in the long term," she adds.
This is a major win, as other popular oils like coconut oil, for example, may help to soften and nourish the skin but can also build up, clogging pores and thus triggering breakouts.
It supports collagen production.
"Polyphenols found in grapeseed oil are also known for inhibiting the activity of proteinase, collagenase, and elastase, which are responsible for the degradation of collagen and elastin, thus ensuring skin firmness and elasticity," board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic dermatology at Montefiore Advanced Care Kseniya Kobets, M.D., tells mbg.
Hence, why grapeseed oil is found in so many facial products formulated for aging skin. What's more, we know that grapeseed oil has skin-barrier-loving properties, so it can help to mitigate dryness that also frequently comes along with skin aging.
May help ease redness.
Locks in hydration.
Grapeseed oil, like other botanical oils, has an occlusive property. This means that when applied topically, grapeseed oil will help to lock in moisture, reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This is why your grapeseed oil product should be applied last—more on that to come.
Helps with wound healing + scars.
May help with hair growth.
"Interestingly, procyanidins, which are a flavonoid in grapes, may even perhaps counter apoptosis in hair epithelial cells induced by TGF-β1 and TGF-β2 and thus help hair growth," Kobets explains.
For more hair growth tips, read our guide here.
Helps minimize the look of enlarged pores.
For those looking to minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, grapeseed oil may be able to help, Kobets says. Especially for those with large and often clogged pores in the T-zone, especially blackheads, grapeseed oil is a great option to regulate that extra oil production leading to buildup as well.
It protects the skin from UV rays.
Because grapeseed oil is an antioxidant ingredient, it can help protect the skin from absorbing full UV rays, as demonstrated in this study7. That being said, this should never be used in replacement of sunscreen—instead, keep it as one step in your sun care routine, in addition to your favorite SPF.
How to use grapeseed oil for skin.
If you're ready to test it out, here are a few ways to add grapeseed oil to your routine:
Use it as a face oil.
"Since grapeseed oil is an occlusant, it will be beneficial to use it after applying hyaluronic acid or other humectants to seal them in and stop transepidermal water loss," Kobets says. Read: Use it as the last step in your routine.
However, you won't want to apply an occlusive agent like grapeseed oil over concentrated actives like retinol or chemical exfoliants (think salicylic acid, glycolic acid, etc.). Instead, reserve it for your morning routine or the evenings you stick with only gentle or hydrating serums and treatments.
As a scalp treatment.
Given that grapeseed oil may have hair growth benefits, why not add it to your scalp care routine? To do so, simply apply pure grapeseed oil to your scalp and gently massage it in, using your fingertips or a gua sha comb—not your nails.
You can leave the oil on your scalp overnight, or rinse it off a few hours later. Keeping it on the skin for more than a few minutes will ensure your skin reaps all of the potential benefits. You could call this process hair slugging, hair oiling, etc.—read up on the potential benefits here.
As an oil cleanser.
Double-cleaning is the method of using an oil-based cleanser to remove your makeup or SPF and then following up with a water-based cleanser afterward. Grapeseed oil is just one of the ingredients you can use for the first step in that process—either in a pre-formulated cleanser or on its own.
Given its rich antioxidant and wound-healing properties, grapeseed oil may be able to ease hyperpigmentation when used topically as well.
Side effects & safety
As with any botanical extract, you should patch-test grapeseed oil on a small section of your skin before applying it to your entire face or scalp.
In addition, be sure to keep expiration dates in mind when using products with this ingredient in them. "All plant oils are subject to oxidation and can go rancid on the shelf," Koestline says.
"Pre-formulated face oils are subject to stability studies that assure that it's stable and effective for the amount of time listed," she adds.
On the bottle, packaging, or the website you bought your product, you should be able to find out how long it lasts—look for a small jar icon with a number inside of it.
Does grapeseed oil lighten skin?
As mentioned above, grapeseed oil can be found as an ingestible supplement as well. In fact, one study showed that oral grapeseed oil helped improve the appearance of melasma and hyperpigmentation in the skin.
Does grapeseed oil tighten skin?
Grapeseed oil may help tighten skin by regulating collagen production. "Polyphenols found in grapeseed oil are also known for inhibiting the activity of proteinase, collagenase, and elastase, which are responsible for the degradation of collagen and elastin, thus ensuring skin firmness and elasticity," board-certified dermatologist and director of cosmetic dermatology at Montefiore Advanced Care Kseniya Kobets, M.D., tells mbg.
Which is better, grapeseed oil or coconut oil for skin?
Each oil has its own unique benefits for the skin. However, coconut oil has been shown to clog pores, while grapeseed oil tends to be a safer option for those with acne-prone skin.
Will grapeseed oil clog your pores?
Grapeseed oil is considered to be non-comedogenic and will not clog your pores. Not only is it safe, but it's actually beneficial for those with breakouts as it has anti-inflammatory properties and regulates sebum production.
All in all, grapeseed oil is a great way to get moisture and antioxidants into your skin. One of the main benefits of this topical oil is that it's noncomedogenic, which means it's a safe option for those prone to breakouts. You can also ingest grapeseed oil, but do so in the form of a trusted supplement. Want more acne-safe oils to have on hand? Here are a few more.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.