By Olamide Opeyemi Oluwashola
Among its impressive benefits is the ability to help prevent skin cancer and serve as a natural, gentle alternative to retinol.
“Broccoli seed oil is an extract from the broccoli seed, which gives rise to broccoli sprouts and the broccoli florets we are used to on our dinner table,” says Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at Zeichner Dermatology in New York City. “The seed itself is not edible, but its oil is rich in
calming antioxidants, like vitamin A.”
As an antioxidant, vitamin A shields the skin from the effects of environmental pollution by neutralizing free radicals
Free radicals can harm skin cells in ways large and small, from stealing moisture to causing pimples, age spots and wrinkles; but by slathering
on a layer of broccoli seed oil, you can mitigate the risk of pollution damage.
“Broccoli seed oil is also high in skin soothing fatty acids,” Dr. Zeichner notes, citing the impressive Omega-6 and Omega-9 content of BSO. These nutrients
deliver intense hydration without clogging pores, while also calming inflammatory skin conditions like acne, eczema and even rosacea.
Thanks to a whopping 62.5 percent Omega-9 content, broccoli seed oil is easily absorbed into the skin and is often used as a natural silicone substitute in skin-care formulations. (While silicones do seal in moisture, they’ve been shown to seal in everything else, as well including dirt, sweat, and bacteria.)
But here’s where broccoli seed oil really shines: Studies show that it has the potential to prevent skin cancer. “Broccoli seed oil contains sulforaphane,
a compound which mobilizes cellular defenses that protect the skin against UV damage” says Marie Veronique Nadeau, the founder of Marie Veronique skin care.
And even though it’s decidedly not a substitute for proper sunscreen, science confirms that broccoli seed oil does significantly reduce cell damage caused by
the sun this study from 2007 showed that skin exposed to UV rays experiences 37 percent less cancer-causing cell damage when slathered in sulforaphane beforehand.
Broccoli seed oil isn’t the only broccoli-derived ingredient on the block, though. Broccoli seed extract, a very similar but technically separate ingredient, is also seeing a surge in popularity; most notably in Swedish skin-care brand L: A Bruket’s Broccoli Seed Serum. “Broccoli seed extract acts as a superfood for your skin, adding almost all of the vitamins, nourishment and Omega acids you can possibly need,” says Monica Kyln, the founder of L: A Bruket. Since the extract includes byproducts of the entire broccoli seed (whereas the BSO just includes the oil that can be cold-pressed out of the seed), it boasts the aforementioned nutrients along with a higher concentration of vitamin C, which “stimulates collagen production in the skin,” according to Kyln.
I’ve personally been using the L: A Bruket Broccoli Seed Serum for about a month, and have tracked a significant improvement in my skin’s overall bounciness and moisture levels plus, the user experience is pretty great. The serum absorbs almost instantly, so I can efficiently move onto moisturizer and makeup in my morning routine. (I have to admit that I love its faint scent of broccoli and fresh cut grass, too.)
“Broccoli seed oil and broccoli seed extract are gentle and hydrating and can be used across a variety of skin types, even those with sensitive skin,” says Dr. Zeichner, noting that the ingredients are relatively risk-free (barring a broccoli allergy, of course).