Punica Granatum Seed Oil (Pomegranate oil)

Punica Granatum Seed Oil (Pomegranate oil)

Pomegranate is a shrub or a small tree reaching a height of 5 to 8 m. It is mainly cultivated for its delicious fruit and also as a garden plant. In appearance, the pomegranate fruit is reminiscent of an apple. Its interior, however, resembles a spongy structure of cavities separated by white membranes containing numerous seeds. In terms of the latter, the pomegranate has been traditionally worshipped as a symbol of fertility and wealth. The tree originates from Iran, from where it has spread to the Mediterranean, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia and America. Botanical characteristics: phyllotaxis oppositeleaved, leaves shiny, elliptic-lanceolate, 3 to 7 cm long, 2 cm wide; flowers with 5 to 8 red petals, calyx red, tubular; fruits yellowish red, 5 to 12 cm in diameter, exocarp leathery, mesocarp fleshy; seeds 200 to 1,400, surrounded by a dark-red juicy aril.

Pomegranate seeds contain approximately 20% oil. The triglyceride composition of pomegranate oil is completely unique in the plant world. It is mainly represented by punicic acid, a very rare omega-5 fatty acid that belongs to the group of conjugated linolenic acids. Another important feature of pomegranate oil is the presence of two estrogen hormones, 17α-estradiol and estrone. Also exceptionally high is its content of vitamin E.

Pomegranate oil is oxidatively very unstable. It is light yellow or golden yellow, with a characteristic sour-oily odour, and is considerably more viscous than a typical vegetable oil. In terms of its unique chemical composition, pomegranate oil has no suitable substitute among other vegetable oils.

Mechanism of action and use
Interest in pomegranate oil as a dermatological and cosmetically active ingredient has only recently evolved. In contrast to most vegetable butters and oils, it has been studied intensively over the last decade. Laboratory research on skin cell and tissue cultures, both animal and human, has shown its anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and photoprotective effects. It has been demonstrated that pomegranate oil improves the regeneration of injured skin, as it stimulates keratinocyte proliferation and the repair of the dermis. It also decreases damaging effects caused by ultraviolet radiation. Pomegranate oil is therefore considered the best choice in the care of demanding mature and stressed skin. It is also recommended in the care of dry and allergy-prone skin, as well as burnt skin and in the care of the skin after sun exposure. Due to its high oxidative instability, pure pomegranate oil should be used in combination with more stable oils or antioxidants.

Source: Modern Cosmetics - Dr. Damjan Janeš and Dr. Nina Kočevar Glavač