For years, Cranberry juice was known mostly as a home remedy for urinary tract infections, reducing bacterial infection and taking the acidic sting away. These same calming anti-bacterial properties are of course just what we are looking for when caring for sensitive or Rosacea-prone skin.
Recently though, hype is starting around the hugely beneficial properties of Cranberry Seed Oil as a natural ingredient in high end skin care. It is one of the only botanical oils with the perfect ratio of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids essential for a healthy immune function and balancing skin reactions to infection. With its array of vitamins, polyphenols, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytosterols, this is a very important oil for nourishing and balancing the skin, providing the foundation for skin health.
It is a fairly light weight ‘dry’ oil with a deep warm yellow colour tinged with green, and a soft pleasant fruity scent. It absorbs quickly into the skin. The maximum amount of beneficial goodies are retained in the cold pressed, unrefined oil extracted from the seeds of the cranberry fruit.
Look for Vaccinium Macrocarpon Seed Oil on the label. It’s the same thing. This is just its legal name for cosmetics packaging. Make sure it is unrefined and cold pressed oil though or most of the therapeutic benefits will have been lost.
Who should use it?
- All skin types
- Acne-prone and oily skin as it is a light-weight, dry oil
- Sensitive, dry, cracked, irritated or itchy skin
Why do I like it for irritated or Rosacea prone skin?
Cranberry Seed Oil contains a high level of beta-sitosterol, an amazing natural anti-inflammatory that helps soothe the skin, calm redness and ease itching while supporting tissue repair.
In addition, the uniquely perfect balance of Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids in Cranberry Seed Oil is very important in caring for irritated skin. The body requires equal proportions of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids to balance its response to infection. Omega 6’s help the body fight external invasions, while Omega 3’s then calm and reduce the body’s inflammatory response to infection after the fighting is done. Chronic inflammation is caused by an imbalance of these 2 fatty acids. As we cannot produce these 2 fatty acids, we are reliant on getting them from our diet and topical application. However the Western diet is usually way too high in Omega 6. As you can see, we then need to be mindful that we are providing sufficient Omega 3 to counterbalance chronic inflammation. This is particularly relevant to anyone with sensitive irritable skin.
You know that ‘dry’ taste and feel you get from Cranberry juice? That is from the tannins. Tannins not only create a light, dry, non-greasy feel to the oil, they are also antibacterial. So oils high in tannins are great for blemished skin.
Cranberry Seed Oil also contains Ellagic acid which, amongst other benefits has both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Perfect for irritable skin conditions.
Strengthens skin tissues
Cranberry Seed Oil is rich in Anthocyanins which studies have shown play an important disease-preventive role in the body by strengthening blood vessel walls and collagen, the basis for the structure of skin.
The Tannins also help reduce thread veins by tightening the skin tissue.
While pro-vitamin A also supports elastin and collagen production in the skin. All this is great for improving skin elasticity and reducing the appearance of fine lines.
As skin that is prone to Rosacea is more likely to have the tiny blood vessels that have ended up too close to the surface of the skin, strengthening the vessel walls and surrounding supportive tissues is an important protective mechanism to help normalise skin function.
Pro-vitamin A, vitamin E and other anti-oxidants in Cranberry Seed Oil aid skin health by providing a high level of protection against free radical damage that causes the skin to age. So, this is also an anti-ageing oil that will help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
So, calming, antibacterial, strengthening, tightening, anti-ageing and not at all greasy…. this is a truly wonderful facial oil. All in all, what is not to like?
- As a Facial Oil
You can use Cranberry Seed Oil by itself as a lightweight but incredibly luxurious ‘dry’ facial oil. It is an expensive precious oil though, so it is usually used in small amounts in facial serums. You can of course blend it with other oils such as Jojoba which is a skin protecting oil. See more about Jojoba Oil here.
The ritual: Cleanse and rinse your face as usual. Apply facial oil immediately after rinsing while the skin is still plump and dewy with the water, as this helps to maintain moisture in the skin. With clean hands, lightly rub a couple of drops of oil between your palms and fingers. Gently smooth onto clean face and allow to sink into skin.
- Add a few drops to your own moisturiser base
If you have a regular moisturiser that suits your skin, try adding a few drops of Cranberry Seed Oil to it for extra nourishment. It is lightweight and dry with quick absorption so won’t make your moisturiser feel heavy.
…and of course you can always eat fresh or dried cranberries too. They are just as beneficial internally, as on the seed oil is on your skin.