Tomato seed oil (Solanum lycopersicum seed oil) is a hidden treasure. It is made from leftover material of the food industry, which would otherwise go completely waste. Tomato is one of the most used vegetables in the world. Its popularity is steady all over the world. The food industry makes tomato puree, sauces, salsas, ketchup etc. In the manufacturing process, the seeds are removed from the tomatoes and the rest is pureed. There was no use for the seeds before. Nowadays, the seeds are squeezed to oil. Tomato seed oil is especially valuable in cosmetics. It has many skin care properties. This time we will learn more about tomato seed oil, what effects it has on the skin and how you can use it in cosmetics.
Tomato seed oil is made from leftover material from the food industry
Processing tomatoes produces three different biomasses, depending on how the tomatoes have been processed. Tomato skins, tomato seeds and a mixture of these make up to 5-30% of the original mass of the tomato. Utilizing tomatoes as accurately as possible also facilitates overloaded waste management. It is very important that new uses are developed for the whole tomato. Pressing tomato seeds into oil is sustainable development at its best.
Tomato seeds contain about 25% oil, of which about 15-17% can be recovered. Tomato seed oil is usually produced by mechanical pressing either by hot process or cold pressing. However, squeezing the oil out of small tomato seeds is difficult. There must be plenty of tomatoes for it to be worth pressing the oil. Nowadays, when tomatoes are grown and processed all over the world, pressing the oil has become possible.
The production of tomato seed oil started already at the beginning of the 20th century. Oil pressed from tomato seeds was once recommended as a salad dressing. At that time, tomatoes were not as widely available as they are today. Nowadays, more than one million tons of tomatoes are processed annually in Greece alone, from which about 2,000 tons of oil is obtained. In 2017, the global market for processed tomato products (juice, puree and peeled tomatoes) was approximately $8.7 billion according to FAOSTAT https://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data
About the properties of tomato seed oil
Tomato seed oil is a light yellow-brown oil with a rich feel. It has a strong tomato aroma which I don’t find unpleasant at all. If you get tomato seed oil as natural as possible, cold-pressed and only lightly filtered, you will clearly notice the tomato aroma.
Tomato seed oil is quite an expensive oil, which is not easy to find. I get my own oil from England. When purchasing oils, you should check with the seller the best before -date. Tomato seed oil will keep for about a year if you keep it in the fridge and protect it from oxygen (in a small bottle as possible).
Tomato seed oil contains a lot of valuable compounds for the skin
The by-products of tomato processing, such as seeds, are inexpensive biomass with plenty of different uses. Numerous scientific studies have shown that tomato seeds contain plenty of valuable bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, phenolic compounds, phytosterols and valuable fatty acids. All these valuable compounds are transferred from the seeds to the pressed oil.
The carotenoids in tomato seed oil prevent aging
Carotenoids give tomatoes their bright red colour. Carotenoids are a group of compounds, of which lycopene, lutein and beta-carotene are especially present in tomatoes. All these compounds have also been found in tomato seed oil in moderate amounts.
Carotenoids are very useful both externally and internally. Carotenoids are antioxidants that effectively fight oxidation reactions on the skin. Oxidation reactions are mainly caused by the sun’s UV rays and skin aging.
The main ingredient in tomato seed oil is lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that is destroyed when heated. Therefore, lycopene can only be found in cold-pressed tomato seed oil. Lycopene has many different functions on the skin. It soothes the skin and helps it regenerate.
The lycopene and beta-carotene levels in tomato oil are decreased when using heating process to make the tomato oil. On the other hand, the levels of lutein, the third carotenoid contained in tomato seed oil, remain high despite of the heat. If you value the antioxidants contained in tomato oil, I recommend choosing cold-pressed tomato oil. Cold-pressed tomato seed oil contains all the valuable carotenoids.
The problem with carotenoids is poor absorption. In tomato seed oil, carotenoids are mixed with lipids, the fatty substances. Lipids make carotenoids more easily absorbed. In this way, the skin is better able to utilize carotenoids.
The phenolic compounds in tomato seed oil are free radical scavengers. Phenolic compounds also help in the preservation of the oil. Phenols prevent the oil from oxidizing and keep it fresh as long as possible. The phenolic content of tomato seed oil is high. For example, caffeic acid, syringic acid and chlorogenic acid have been found in tomato seed oil. These compounds have excellent antioxidant properties. They work in the same way, preventing oxidation as carotenoids. Syringic acid also has plenty of anti-inflammatory effects. Interestingly, tomato seed oil contains the same valuable compounds as the oil contained in green coffee beans.
The phytosterols contained in tomato seed oil are known to enhance collagen production. Phytosterols also renew the skin and give the skin more resistance. Phytosterols protect the skin from external stressors such as air pollution, UV light and harsh weather. Phytosterols have many anti-inflammatory properties. That is why they are also used in the treatment of eczema and other skin diseases.
Tomato seed oil contains fatty acids that are beneficial for the skin
The fatty acid profile of tomato seed oil is very beneficial for the skin. Its main fatty acid is linoleic acid (more than 55%), which is the most useful fatty acid for the skin. Linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid needed to form cell membranes. It strengthens the skin’s protective layer. Oils containing linoleic acid are suitable for all skin types and do not clog pores. Linoleic acid makes the skin feel soft and moisturized.
Another very important fatty acid in tomato seed oil is palmitic acid. Palmitic acid creates a protective layer on the surface of the skin that prevents moisture from evaporating from the skin. Palmitic acid leaves the skin with a pleasant, matte feeling. That’s why tomato seed oil feels so pleasant and nourishing on the skin.
Tomato seed oil contains relatively little oleic acid. Rich oleic acid makes the oil heavy. Oils containing oleic acid also tend to clog pores. Of course, oleic acid also has good properties. It makes the skin feel moisturized. Oleic acid is a very nutritious fatty acid that is suitable for aged and dry skin. The oleic acid content of tomato seed oil is very moderate, so I can recommend it for all skin types.
Fatty acid profile of tomato oil
- Linoleic acid 61%
- Palmitic acid 16%
- Oleic acid 17%
- Stearic acid 4%
Comedogenic value 0-2
How does tomato seed oil affect the skin?
Tomato seed oil is suitable for many different skin types. The magic of tomato seed oil lies in the phytochemicals it contains. It is the so-called a special oil that is added to products only in small amounts to bring antioxidants to the product. I myself have used tomato seed oil just as it is. A few drops of oil are applied with wet hands to wet skin. Tomato seed oil makes the skin feel moisturized and smoother.
- Especially dry, cracked skin benefits from the lycopene contained in tomato seed oil.
- Lycopene contained in tomato seed oil is a powerful antioxidant that fights signs of aging
- Lycopene soothes the skin and fades fine lines at the same time.
- Lycopene renews and strengthens the structure of the skin
- The lycopene contained in tomato seed oil is also a skin-brightening compound that helps fight hyperpigmentation.
- Tomato seed oil has the ability to repair skin damage caused by the sun.
- Tomato seed oil is not an actual Sunscreen, but it helps the skin fight against harmful UV radiation thanks to the antioxidants and plant sterols it contains.
- Tomato seed oil contains a large amount of linoleic acid, which is an essential fatty acid for the skin. Acne prone and irritated skin may benefit from extra linoleic acid.
- The linoleic acid contained in tomato seed oil soothes the skin
- Tomato seed oil is absorbed into the skin quickly, taking great nutrients with it. It leaves a velvety, moisturized feeling on the surface of the skin.
- Tomato seed oil is also recommended for hair care because of its moisturizing effect.
- Tomato seed oil helps moisturize cracked and very dry skin areas
- Tomato seed oil is recommended for treating scars and preventing pregnancy scars
How can tomato seed oil be used in cosmetics?
Tomato seed oil is a valuable special oil that should be used carefully. Since tomato seed oil contains quite a lot of different sensitive plant chemicals, it does not tolerate heating at all. Tomato seed oil is added to cosmetic products such as emulsion creams only in the cooling phase, when the temperature of the product is already below 40 degrees Celsius
Tomato seed oil should be added to products that are left on the skin or hair. In products that can be rinsed off, the valuable properties of the oil will be wasted.
Use tomato seed oil along with other oils in face creams, eye creams, lip products and hair care products. Tomato seed oil is particularly suitable in skin oil mixtures. And as I mentioned earlier, I use it myself a few drops of tomato seed oil just as it is on moisturized skin.
Have you used tomato seed oil?