Rice Bran Oil Skin Benefits

History of Rice

The beauty of rice bran oil begins with rice.  The European word for rice comes from the Greek word oruza which is believed to stem from the Indian word vrihi. There is evidence of early rice cultivation among several cultures, including China, India, and some of the civilizations of Southeast Asia. However, the earliest archaeological records come from China and date back to 7000–5000 BCE. From China, it is theorized that rice cultivation then spread to Vietnam, Thailand and India.   By 300 BCE rice had reached West Asia and Greece and by 800 AD rice cultivation could be seen in Africa. Rice was introduced to Europe through Western Asia, and to the Americas through European colonization. Today over 18,000 varieties of rice are grown in more than 100 countries, representing close to 25% of the world’s food grain production. Currently, China is the largest rice producing country followed by India.

Rice Production

Rice is a member of the grass family (Gramineae).  Typically, grass species are annual plants or are herbaceous perennials that die back to the ground at the end of the growing season and then regenerate the next season by shoots developing from underground root systems. Classified in the genus Oryza, there are two species of domesticated rice— O. sativa and 0. glaberrima. 0. sativa is the most common and often cultivated plant, occurring in Africa, America, Australia, China, New Guinea, and South Asia. The only raw material needed for commercial production of rice is the rice seed or seedlings. First the field is prepared by leveling and fertilizing the ground. Next rice seeds are soaked and then sown into soil which has been flooded to a depth of 5 inches. After 3-4 months the grains begin to ripen and then the fields are drained. The next step is harvesting, threshing (removing the grain from the stalk) then drying of the rice to remove excess moisture. The rice is then taken to the mill where the hull is removed; leaving the bran layer, which we know as brown rice. Additional milling to remove the bran layer results in white rice.

Rice Bran Oil

It is during the hulling process that rice bran oil is produced. It is the oil extracted from the hard, brown, oily layer between the outer husk and the white rice kernel. It appears that rice bran oil was an unintentional by product of rice production and was thrown away or used to feed livestock. It is not clear when the oil was recognized for its skin benefits or dietary advantages , but women throughout Asia have used it for centuries to moisturize, protect and slow the signs of aging. In Japan, women use rice bran oil for keeping their skin soft, flawless, moisturized and glowing. In fact, a high compliment to give to a beautiful woman in Japan is to call her “Nuka Bijin” (literally “rice bran beauty”). Packed with nourishing fatty acids and vitamins, rice bran oil is amazing oil for skin care. It leaves skin soft, silky, hydrated and moisturized all without leaving the skin overly greasy. In addition, it is an oil that is very quickly and easily absorbed by the skin making it an ideal all around body or facial oil.   Besides how this oil makes your skin feel, rice bran oil is good for your skin. Besides fatty acids and vitamins, rice bran oil contains ferulic acid and Coenzyme Q10 all of which work to moisturize your skin and make it look and feel fabulous. Let’s take a closer look at each of these ingredients to see how they benefit our skin.

Fatty Acids

Rice bran oil is comprised of the fatty acids oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, α-linolenic acid, and myristic acid as well as vitamins E & K, Ferulic Acid and Coenzyme Q10. Fatty acids are the building blocks of oils and they are what determine the properties of the oil. For example, oils high in oleic acid content are considered to be extremely moisturizing, whereas oil with high linoleic content is considered to be more drying. The fatty acid components of rice bran oil and what they do for skin are highlighted below.


Fatty Acid %                 Benefit to Skin
Oleic Acid 38.4%
  • Helps maintain suppleness, flexibility and softness.
  • Able to carry nutrients deep into the skin layers.
  • Anti-inflammatory and regenerative
Linoleic Acid 34.4%
  • Plays a critical role in the skin barrier function
  • Oils containing linoleic acid are absorbed quickly and deeply into the skin layers
  • Nourishing and highly conditioning
Palmitic Acid  21.5%
  • Contains antimicrobial properties
  • Helps support and protect the skin’s barrier function by forming a protective layer
 Stearic Acid 2.9%
  • Helps support and protect the skin’s barrier function
α-Linolenic Acid  2.2%
  • Protective and Nourishing
  • Soothes Inflammation
  • Helps to relieve itching, redness and irritation of the skin
 Myristic Acid  .6%
  • Easily absorbed by skin
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Able to regenerate and repair the skin barrier function


Other Active Ingredients

In addition to fatty acids, rice bran oil also contains other active ingredients that are good for our skin, such as ferulic acid, vitamins B, E & K, Squalene and Coenzyme Q10. These ingredients are part of the healing fraction of an oil and they nourish, repair, hydrate and protect the skin from damage.


Active Ingredient                 Benefit To Skin
Ferulic Acid
  • Anti-bacterial Properties
  • Antioxidant – protects the skin from free radical damage
  • Act to suppress melanin production by absorbing UV rays.
  • One of the most common lipids produced by human skin
  • Works as an antioxidant preventing age spots and protecting against sun damage
  • Helps skin retain moisture
  • Has antibacterial properties
Vitamin B
  • Antioxidant – protects the skin from free radical damage
  • Anti-inflammatory
Vitamin E


  • Protects skin against environmental damage and stress
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Speeds would healing
Vitamin K


  • Has wound healing properties
  • Speeds up the healing of bruises
  • Antioxidant – protects the skin from free radical damage
Coenzyme Q10


  • Antioxidant – protects the skin from free radical damage
  • Effective in reducing the depth of wrinkles
  • Antioxidant – protect the skin from free radical damage

So…..Why should you use rice bran oil?

Rice bran oil is a great moisturizing, soothing and rejuvenating oil. Deeply penetrating, yet not greasy it is one of the few oils that works with all skin types. For dry skin this means skin will get the deep moisture that it needs and for oily skin this means skin will be hydrated, but not oily or irritated due to its noncomedogenic nature. As a natural source of fatty acids vitamins, oryzanol, vitamins and squalene it forms a protective barrier on the skin and contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-aging properties.


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