Carrot seed oil, or daucus carota has characteristics that make it a good addition to your skin care regimen. It is included in many high quality botanical based products already.
While this ingredient has great potential for positive effects, it is also lauded for some that may not be quite accurate.
First let’s ensure we understand what it is that is being discussed. Carrot seed oil is not the same as carrot oil.
There are four types of “carrot oil”:
- carrot seed essential oil – a concentrated essential oil got through steam distillation of carrot seeds from the plant Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace).
- carrot seed carrier oil – a carrier oil (or vegetable oil) got through cold pressing of carrot seeds of Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace).
- wild carrot carrier oil or carrot root oil – infusing wild carrot root from the plant Daucus carota (Queen Anne’s Lace) in vegetable oil for a number of weeks, then strained to get the infused oil.
- ‘domestic’ carrot oil – produced at home by infusing domestic carrot (the orange one we all know) from the plant Daucus carota subsp. sativus.
** Definitions provided by Beauty Munsta
Carrot seed essential oil would be considered the oil that has the most densely concentrated phytonutrients. While the other oils are also considered beneficial they are generally best used as a carrier oil instead of a key ingredient.
Notice in the definitions above that the ‘domestic’ carrot oil is distinguised by the subspecies sativus. According to The Carrot Museum in the UK, “Both the wild and the cultivated carrots belong to the species Daucus carota. Wild carrot is distinguished by the name Daucus carota, Carota, whereas domesticated carrot belongs to Daucus carota, sativus.” Queen Anne’s Lace originated on the Iranian Plateau (an area which now includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran). One cool fact is that the plateau is home of the Damarand Peak which is listed as #22 of the World Country High Points and is one of the Seven Volcanic Summits according to PeakBagger.com. It was initially introduced as a medicinal herb and later domesticated as a food.
The two plants are sexually compatible, and can be cross bred, however if you pull up the root, you will see an obvious difference in the structure as the wild variety is very fibrous. The domesticated variety has been bred to be smoother and less bitter.
Carrot seed oil has been added to skin care products with claims of adding moisture, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and brightening the complexion. Which of these claims are accurate is up for debate, but there are peer reviewed studies which do show important benefits.
Like many oils and essential oils, carrot seed oil contains powerful antioxidants that can help to protect against disease. (Food Chemistry Volume 91, Issue 4, August 2005, Pages 723-729)
An antioxidant is a substance that helps protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that are made during normal cell metabolism (chemical changes that take place in a cell). They are electrically charged molecules in the cells, that can react with other molecules (like DNA) and damage them.
They can even form chain reactions, where the molecules they damage also turn into free radicals.
This is where antioxidants come in… if a molecule loses an electron and turns into a free radical, the antioxidant molecule steps in and “gives” the free radical an electron, effectively neutralizing it. Antioxidants Explained in Human Terms
This does not mean that we should aim to remove all free radicals from our systems. Free radicals are also used to kill harmful bacteria in our systems. It is about having balance of free radicals and antioxidants.
According to OrganicFacts.net, when externally applied, carrot seed oil can cure infections on the skin and in open wounds. It is extremely effective in curing sores, gangrene, psoriasis, ulcers, rashes, carbuncles, and other such problems.
There are a number of sources such as Healthsite.com that claim carrot seed essential oil stimulates the growth of new cells and tissues. Though I found no scientific articles supporting this, it is likely possible due to the antioxidant effects as well as its ability to ward off skin infections that would otherwise take the energy away from producing new cells.
An animal study was conducted to investigate the effect of carrot seed oil on skin cancer (namely, squamous cell carcinoma) in rats and found it to be particularly potent. Topical treatment was shown to delay tumor appearance on these rats.
It also may be an effective treatment for some forms of acne. This makes sense as it has been shown to have an antibacterial and antifungal effect. Some acne is known to be caused by bacteria. Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes) is the relatively slow-growing, typically aerotolerant anaerobic, Gram-positive bacterium (rod). But there is another less known cause of skin eruptions that is often also diagnosed as acne.
Pityrosporum is a type of yeast that is naturally occuring on the skin. In the case that the normal balance of the skin is disrupted, an overgrowth of this organism can result in a condition known as pityrosporum folliculitis. The yeast overgrowth may be encouraged by external factors and/or by reduced resistance on the part of the host.
According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, “the reasons why a particular patient develops pityrosporum folliculitis are not fully understood but the following are believed to be important: ”
- The yeast favors hot, humid, sweaty environments. Wearing fabrics that trap moisture are conducive to setting up these conditions.
- Application of greasy sunscreens and oily emollients such as coconut oil.
- An oily-skin tendency – the yeast feeds on skin oil.
- Decreased resistance to microorganisms (immunity).
- Stress or fatigue.
- Oral steroids such as prednisone.
- Oral contraceptive pill.
- Being overweight, resulting in more sweating and tighter clothing.
I am not a doctor nor am I advocating any specific treatment for either acne or pityrosporum folliculitis, but I do speculate that it is possible for carrot seed oil to be of benefit for these conditions due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which may help to balance out the oil production and immune response. It is also likely to be an effective treatment for rosacea due to its anti-inflammatory effects.
There have been claims that carrot seed oil as well as other essential oils have great SPF or Sun Protection Factor ability. I have not seen any credible evidence that this is true. Most of the reports cite a 2009 article that found an SPF factor of 38 – 40, however I would not call this article as a credible source. To my knowledge, it has not been peer reviewed. If it had, the methods would have been questioned due to the fact that the other ingredients that were in the mixture that was tested would have to have been identified and analyzed individually to determine each ingredients’ SPF.
That is not to say that carrot seed oil is not useful for sun protection. While I doubt it offers much in the SPF realm, it may offer support to the skin in combating the free radicals that occur due to sun exposure.
Below is a table of herbal plants and their role in photo protection from the Indo Americal Journal of Pharmaceutical Research from 2014. Among many active agents listed, Apigenin is listed for its prevention of UVA and UVB skin carcinogenesis. Apigenin is a compound present in carrot seed oil. According to this paper, the carrot is the “most important root vegetable plant in the world.” The constituents included in the UV protective nature of the carrot. They specifically mention “campesterol which effectively enhance body’s immune response to U.V radiation, nourishes, rejuvenate skin and shows cytotoxicity against mutagens”
In short, the compounds found in carrot seed oil are effective in repairing damage to the skin caused by the sun or other factors. It is not recommended, however as a sun protection to replace sunblocks. A responsible company may include it in their formulation for anti-aging, or cellular repair. It is not the only effective ingredient but should not be ignored.
As I believe sun protection to be a very important aspect of skin care, it would be thoughtless of me to not include some good options from the Earthly Beauty collection.
Source: Research Gate Prakash_Kendr