Grapes are a truly enchanting fruit that may have immense benefits, despite being small in size. It is a berry (fruit) of the delicious woody plants of genus Vitus. This plant is non-climatic and occurs in clusters of 15-300. Grapes can either be pink, orange, green, yellow, dark blue, black, or crimson. The fruits can be consumed directly as fresh -table grapes or squeezed into wine. Although it is widely known as a fruit, many people tend to overlook its seeds, and they are undoubtedly the grape's healthiest feature. The seeds contain oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCS) which are natural plant products and are rich in powerful antioxidants and compounds such aslinoleic acid, vitamin E, and flavonoids. Research has shown that these compounds may have the potential to curb acne!
What is acne?
Acne (Acne Vulgaris) is a skin condition that affects the sebaceous glands that secrete sebum (an oily substance that moisturizes the skin's top layer and the hairs) due to hormonal imbalance (1). Overproduction of sebum results in the clogging of hair follicles. The moment it combines with the dead skin and bacteria found on the skin it causes acne. Acne manifests mostly manifests itself through whiteheads (small, round and white acne bumps), blackhead (a specific kind of dark acne lesion), papules (small red bumps), and pustules (pus-filled spots) (1).
How is acne treated?
Ask anyone out there and they will have their own version of how to treat acne. Besides, many topical products of treating acne are overflowing in the market but the harsh reality is that sometimes it's all about marketing hype and some products may have detrimental side effects. This is because most of them contain antibiotics, chemicals, and abrasives that bring about more harm than good to the skin through irritation and discomfort. The good news is some plants and plant products such as grape seeds may be used to get rid of acne for good without breaking a sweat. Grape seed contains no chemicals like the variety of skin care products out there, therefore, whether taken as a supplement or topically, it may help in clearing out acne.
Linoleic Acid and Acne
Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated fat that is normally referred to as omega 6 when found in a diet. Grape seeds contain linoleic acid, and research has shown that it helps in fighting acne (2). It is worth pointing out that too much linoleic acid can destroy the skin cells by destabilizes the cell membranes through symmetrically increasing the activity of the immune system and suppressing the role of omega 3s (3). Surprisingly, despite that aspect, many folks lack linoleic acid in their skin cells, therefore, creating a platform for a number of skin conditions to thrive on. Recent studies have shown that lack of deficiency of linoleic acid makes sebum stickier and harder thereby making it easier to clog the skin pores (a factor that leads to the development of acne). Besides, in the absence of linoleic acid, the sebaceous glands make use monounsaturated oleic acid that has a higher melting point. This means it does not shed off easily, which will clog the hair follicles. When this happens, the Acnes bacteria will thrive thereby facilitating the development of acne through skin cell inflammation.
Linoleic acid prevents this from happening due to its antimicrobial powers that can inhibit the multiplication of acnes bacteria. Also, being a key ingredient of ceramides, it may help the skin cells maintain their structural integrity, which acts as a shield against inflammation and irritation (features of acne) (2). Linoleic acid also helps in lamellar granules (skin proteins) formation. The lamellar granules may also protect the skin from acne attacks, and help in the shedding off of dead skin by digesting the adhesive barriers, making the skin clear, and free from dirt that make acnes bacteria thrive.
The list of how linoleic acid fights acne goes on—it also has the ability to alter the sebum production by the sebaceous glands. Studies have shown that linoleic acid is capable of activating the receptors (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors, PPARs) of sebaceous glands by making them tight, therefore, regulating the amount of sebum produced. Also, linoleic acid has been proven to inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase function of converting androgen testosterone to Dihydrotestosterone (a more potent pore- clogging form).
Antihistamines, Antioxidants, and acne
Grape seed oil contains antioxidants such as Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins(OPC) that may help prevent new acne breakouts while treating the infected areas. The antioxidants can prevent acne breakouts by neutralizing the free radicals found in the skin that promote the development of acne (2). If acne has already manifested itself through either the blackheads or whiteheads, the grape seed antioxidants will help clear the skin of such symptoms giving you a smooth, spotless, and glowing skin.
Dermatologists are also quick to point out that grape seed extracts may help the acne wounds to heal much faster. Grape seed extracts tend to oxidize these wounds thereby allowing the development of new skin and faster regeneration of the blood vessels found on the skin (4). OPCs also have anti-inflammatory properties that may help in tackling the acne breakouts.
There you have it, some grape seed’s properties make it possible to fight acne. One way to take grape seed is through its supplements that are readily available in the market. Another way is through using the grape seed oil as a cleanser by applying it to your body. As mentioned earlier, grape seeds are rich in linoleic acid, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties which make it one of the important ingredients in fighting acne.