We don’t know about you, but if you ask us, this week’s ingredient highlight totally sparks visions of Bing Crosby crooning like a boss by “an open fire”. Well, that, or Seabiscuit.
Either way, whatever you are left thinking about, just trust that it is probably not nearly as interesting as this obscure little ingredient: horse chestnut seed oil. Hailing from an amazing plant, as the most miraculous ingredients always do, horse chestnut seed oil has been applied in a variety of different ways, and it’s no surprise that it offers some awesome benefits for your complexion. So, if you’re down to learn all the ins and outs of what it is and what it can do, stick around!
IN A NUTSHELL
Ingredient Category: Vasoconstrictor, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant, Astringent
Main Benefit: Horse chestnut seed oil helps to minimize the appearance of dark spots and redness while having soothing effects, making it great for use around the eyes. It is also super high in antioxidants, promoting radical skin health and preventing premature aging.
Find It In: Eyes Eyes Baby Anti-Aging Eye Cream.
What Is Horse Chestnut Seed Oil?
Native to the wild, uninhabited regions of the Balkan peninsula and other areas of southeastern Europe, horse chestnut, (botanically named aesculus hippocastanum) is a sun-loving tree that today may be found in all temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Its fruits contain seeds that resemble sweet chestnuts, or the kind you often see when December rolls around; but don’t let that fool you; horse chestnuts are not only bitter in taste, but also toxic when consumed. An extract or oil from the seed, however, can actually impart many benefits.
This is due to a substance called escin (also sometimes spelled aescin). Escin is the abundant, primary active component in horse chestnut seed oil and is responsible for most of its medicinal properties. Compositionally, escin is a mixture of chemical compounds known as saponins, which when used as directed, can decrease blood lipids, minimize blood glucose responses, and lower the risk of certain diseases. Escin is also known for helping to thin the blood and prevent water retention, and as such, has been used to treat poor circulation and chronic swelling.
With these kinds of benefits, it is easy to imagine how horse chestnut seed oil’s utility can translate to skincare. Let’s take a look at some of the direct benefits horse chestnut seed oil can offer your complexion!
Horse Chestnut Seed Oil Benefits for Skin
1. It helps to even skin tone.
Horse chestnut seed oil is a master at evening out your skin and minimizing the appearance of redness and darkness. It works by stimulating microcirculation and toning the blood vessels just under the skin. This helps to prevent the stagnation and accumulation of blood cells in any one particular area. Horse chestnut seed oil is also said to protect collagen and elastin, which are the proteins that form the structure of the veins. This, in turn, reinforces the integrity of the vessels themselves. For this reason, horse chestnut seed oil is often used to tone and minimize the appearance of bulging veins, broken veins, and spider veins; but can also be similarly helpful when applied to any area prone to darkness.
2. It has anti-inflammatory effects.
When skin becomes aggravated or irritated in any way, either by an allergy or other trigger, it can experience periods of inflammation. In these cases, horse chestnut seed oil can function as an anti-inflammatory and skin soother due to its ability to restrict blood flow.
3. It’s a powerful antioxidant.
Due to its high levels of escin, horse chestnut oil is super high in antioxidants. It carries an abundance of the polyphenol proanthocyanidin, a compound often found in red and blue food plants that has been known to neutralize the oxidative effects of free radicals and prevent life threatening diseases. Applying it to the skin can protect your complexion from environmental stressors that wear away at the skin barrier and contribute to things like premature aging, allergies, and irritation. Horse chestnut seed oil is also rich in other antioxidants, known as flavonol glycosides, which can be particularly helpful in preventing damage caused by radiation and sun exposure.
4. It can help keep your skin hydrated.
Applying horse chestnut seed oil to the skin can inhibit an enzyme known as hyaluronidase, which is notorious for breaking down hyaluronic acid in the skin. The nerve!
Hyaluronic acid is a powerful humectant that occurs naturally in the skin. It works to maintain healthy levels of hydration by helping skin absorb environmental moisture. It is so effective, in fact, that it’s often a primary ingredient in prized moisture-intensive skincare products. We don’t know about you, but forfeiting even small amounts of this moisture magnet is so not on our agenda. So, bring on the horse chestnut seed oil!
5. It’s great for anti-aging regimens.
Because of its antioxidant and hydration benefits, horse chestnut seed oil can be a very effective additive to regimens intended for mature skin. Even those who don’t necessarily belong to this category, but who strive to be proactive, can benefit from its ability to revivify skin and protect its youthful appearance.
6. It can help keep your skin clean.
Horse chestnut seed oil possesses powerful astringent properties that won’t endanger or strip your complexion. In clinical studies, horse chestnut seed oil also proved to be a powerful antibacterial agent. Offering great strength against various forms of bacteria, including staphylococcus aureus and streptococcus mutans, you can be sure that incorporating chestnut seed oil into your skincare regimen will help “keep it clean”. And with a particular advantage over gram negative antibiotic resistant bacteria like E. coli, horse chestnut seed oil serves as just another example of the paramount power of the natural world. Got a problem? There’s a plant for that!
How to Use Horse Chestnut Seed Oil
Due to its ability to even out skin tone and minimize darkness, horse chestnut seed oil is the perfect ingredient to help care for the delicate skin around your peepers. It is no surprise then that we feature it in our best-selling eye cream, Eyes Eyes Baby! Jam packed with an army of power-packed ingredients, this cream (that’s totally bound to be your new favorite skincare product, btw) offers immediate results by hydrating deeply and reducing puffiness for a youthful, revivified look. But Eyes Eyes Baby doesn’t stop there! Enriched with a powerful cocktail of antioxidants (thank you, horse chestnut oil) and anti-aging ingredients, it will help minimize the appearance of darkness, fine lines, and wrinkles with consistent use. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Firm and tone your skin’s most sensitive area with this ultra-rich, yet lightweight cream for a difference you can SEE.
There are also other ways you can incorporate horse chestnut seed oil into your routine. To take advantage of its purifying properties, consider adding a drop of horse chestnut oil to a pump or two of your favorite cleanser. Emulsify in your hand, massage into the skin and then send those impurities right down the drain! Or try blending with your moisturizer to amp up hydration and give it an added dose of element-fighting antioxidant power! But one thing is for sure - when you choose to chestnut, your skin will be off to the races!
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