Carrier oils derived from plants have risen in popularity over recent years, including those extracted from cereals such as wheat. An oil that keeps cropping up in popular media recently is wheat germ oil, so what is it and what does it do?
Wheat germ oil is derived from the process of wheat milling and is a byproduct of creating wheat itself. It is rich in fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin K, and other beneficial nutrients, making it highly beneficial for the skin and hair.
This guide will talk you through some key points regarding wheat germ oil in the beauty industry, such as what it’s made from, its potential uses/benefits, some information on what it should look and smell like as well as some potential substitutes.
What is wheat germ oil made from?
Wheat germ oil comes from the seed embryos of the wheat plant and is a byproduct of the wheat milling process.
The oil is generally extracted using a cold-pressing method to keep the nutrients within the oil intact and is most commonly produced in Egypt.
Uses for wheat germ oil
Wheat germ oil has several key uses in the beauty/cosmetic industry.
Its most popular use is for the hair due to its high vitamin E content. This allows wheat germ oil to increase blood flow to help repair cells in the hair bulb and is also thought to strengthen hair follicles thereby promoting hair growth and a healthy scalp.
Many people like to use wheat germ oil on their skin, particularly if they have very dry skin. It is often used in anti-aging products as it contains the bioactive compound ceramide which can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, plus it can help to reduce water loss from the skin thereby locking in moisture and keeping skin hydrated for longer.
Wheat germ oil is sometimes compared with coconut oil due to their similar uses and benefits. Here’s some information on wheat germ oil vs. coconut oil if this interests you!
Benefits of wheat germ oil
Here are some key benefits of wheat germ oil that make this carrier oil so popular:
- Helps to replace lost moisture in hair/skin
- Can repair existing damage to hair
- Strengthens hair follicles
- Can promote good scalp health
- Soothing for conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
- Thought to be anti-bacterial
- Can be used alone or combined with carrier oils/essential oils
Appearance and scent of wheat germ oil
Wheat germ oil is generally a dark amber color, however, this may differ depending on the refinement process as some manufacturers will bleach carrier oils when filtering and refining.
It is said to have an earthy, peppery scent, which is fairly mild and not generally thought to be overpowering.
Substitutes for wheat germ oil
Here are a few substitutes for wheat germ oil if you’re seeking an alternative:
- Coconut oil
- Vegetable oil
- Sesame oil
- Evening primrose oil
- Avocado oil
Here are some other carrier oils that you may wish to investigate if you’re looking for an alternative to wheat germ oil.
Shelf life and storage for wheat germ oil
Wheat germ oil generally has a shelf life of up to 2 years.
Make sure to keep your wheat germ oil in a cool, dark area away from direct sunlight to decrease the chances of it spoiling. You may even wish to keep wheat germ oil in the fridge if you’re using it for anti-inflammatory purposes, as this will help to increase its benefits.
Take a look at the following frequently asked questions to learn more about wheat germ oil.
Wheat germ oil is very high in vitamin E, which can be very helpful in reducing inflammation, particularly for those suffering from conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
It’s great for dry skin as it’s highly moisturizing, and may also be beneficial for bacterial infections as it’s thought to contain antibacterial properties.
There are many ways to use wheat germ oil, however, in the beauty industry, it’s generally used by applying a few drops to the skin, hair, or wounds to help nourish and promote healing.
It’s worth bearing in mind that it has a high comedogenic rating of 5, which means it’s likely to clog pores and potentially cause acne when used on the face. For this reason, you should only use wheat germ oil if you have very dry skin, as it may cause those with oily/normal skin to suffer from clogged pores.
Wheat germ oil can be used on the face, however, it’s not recommended if you have oily/normal skin. This is because it has a high comedogenic rating of 5, and so is likely to result in blocked pores and acne.
If you have very dry skin, you should be okay to use wheat germ oil on your face in small amounts. It’s worth consulting a dermatologist or medical physician if you’re unsure as they’ll be able to clarify in more detail what’s best for your skin type.
Wheat germ oil is potentially considered to contain anti-inflammatory compounds which are likely to help reduce inflammation.
This can help to reduce swelling and soothe conditions that have symptoms of inflammation.
Wheat germ oil is rich in linoleic acid, which is believed to be very good for promoting hair growth and keeping the scalp healthy.
It is also thought that wheat germ oil can prevent hair loss due to its high levels of vitamin E and antimicrobial properties. It can help to strengthen hair roots and follicles while making the hair look thicker and healthier.