Strawberries are once more my staple fare, both as strawberry seed oil in my skincare and as the sweet, lush berry fruit eaten for my inner wellness. I bought two punnets of enormous strawberries at my local farmers market earlier this week. It might be winter in some parts of Europe but, here in Malta, the strawberry is a winter into spring soft fruit, growing ripe and bountiful in our mild climate. Come summer, it’s gone, sadly; the searing heat and dust puts paid to it til next January. I swear that Maltese strawberries are the largest, ripest and most flavoursome I’ve ever eaten. Some are almost as big as crab apples.
There is no beating the strawberry’s allure, from its lipstick red colour that hints at its bounty to its scent. If you’ve ever gone to a pick-your-own farm, you’ll have gorged yourself on the fruit and the fragrance wafting up – an intoxicating mix of mustly leaf and sweetness.
Strawberry fields since forever
Since ancient times, the strawberry’s pulling power has been fêted. The Latin for strawberry is fraga, which anyone can see is the root of ‘fragrance’. Romance language words all draw on the Latin: fragola (Italian); fresa (Spanish) and fraise (French). In Maltese, it’s similar – frawli. Apparently, all these words in turn draw on the Sanskrit root dhraj – to breathe.
The etymology of the strawberry recalls its fragrance, but, and here’s the irony, it’s almost impossible to capture strawberry’s aroma naturally. Like the lily, muguet, it just won’t release its essence – its fruit bomb – easily. Always check any natural skincare raw ingredients carefully if they claim to be or contain strawberry aroma or essences (scrutinise the MSDS – material safety data sheet). Most strawberry aromas are synthetically produced. See ‘further reading’, end of this post, for a link to a good read on the issue of strawberry essence.
However, not so when it comes to strawberry seed oil.
Strawberry Seed Oil benefits lie in its weeny pips
I’ve often wondered at those little pippy seedy bits in strawberries that make such delightful dimples on their flesh. My mother used to make that good ol’ English pud – summer pudding – that is medley of whatever soft fruit there is around. I hated it when it was mostly blackberries as those pesky large seeds would take ages to crunch (or, dare I say, spit!). Now, strawberries were a different matter. Wonderfully small and insignificant in desserts, but wow what punch they pack in skincare!
Strawberry seed oil is produced by cold pressing zillions of weeny seed that are left over as a by-product of the food industry. Think of ice cream sauces, purees and jams (sans seeds). The oil is not an essential oil – hence my chat earlier in this post about the aroma bit not being present. It’s a carrier oil and has very little of the scent of strawberries; more of a light, nutty scent instead.
Strawberry seed oil benefits skin in some amazing ways, for such a small seed. It is an amazing source of antioxidants and essential fatty acids (EFAs that the body itself can’t produce but needs for overall health). It is particularly rich in gamma tocopherol (Vitamin. E), and Omega-3 EFAs linoleic, alpha-linolenic and oleic fatty acids. Their presence means that strawberry essential oil has excellent moisturising properties. Like another pippy colleague – rosehip oil – it is also a dry-ish oil which lends itself to moisturising lotions and creams for those not keen on too slick a gloss. This means it can work well for oilier skins, moisturising but not overloading the pores.
Strawberry Seed Oil benefits for anti-aging skin care
As you can see, strawberry seed oil is a good choice for those seeking an anti-ageing moisturiser – or rather, a skincare option for ageing gracefully! I don’t hold with turning back time, but I do believe in making the best of ourselves and celebrating our bodies, whatever our age. Now for some more good news that strawberry seed oil holds for the more mature among us!
Strawberry seed oil is also a rich source also of ellagic acid, which, in brief layman’s terms is an phenolic anti-oxidant found in the phyto cells of plants. Various research has shown that ellagic acid can work on several levels: from reducing inflammation after damage from UV exposure to skin whitening – the reduction of skin pigmentation after sun exposure.* Both these properties of strawberry seed oil’s make-up would hint at it being ideal for tempering pigmentation (liver spots) that come with age.
As you can see, the strawberry is more than just a pretty fruit, especially when you delve into the benefits of strawberry seed oil. Add in its valuable Vitamin C – three large fresh strawberries provide your daily Vit C intake – and you’ve a fruit that’s fragrant and functional to all-round health and with innumerable benefits to natural skin care.
Strawberry seed oil: Further reading & references:
10 amazing benefits of strawberry seed oil – ABC News.
Skin Ageing & Ellagic Acid – Healthyfellow.com
Strawberry Seeds, Uses in Natural Skincare and Beauty – Herbhedgerow.co.uk