The Beauty Industry's Biggest Secret Is Also Part Of Your Sunday Lunch & Yes, Really

by Lauren Sharkey
Leandro Crespi/Stocksy

When I first heard about the use of broccoli seed oil in beauty products, I'll admit that I did a double take. The extract, which comes from the same vegetable you have with your Sunday roast, is infusing its way into more and more skincare and hair products, promising to do everything from calming inflammation to protecting from UV damage. But what does broccoli seed oil actually do?

Well, the oil contains a bunch of vitamins that help keep skin hydrated and balanced. For example, vitamin A, an antioxidant that is often touted as a vital part of skin-renewing retinol products. Skincare brand Haeckels states that broccoli seed oil "provides vitamin A without undesirable side effects" (redness, dryness, swelling etc.) and is likely to act as a barrier between your skin and nasty environmental effects. It works by neutralising pollutants that seek to prematurely age the skin and cause issues such as spots and redness, Fashionista reports.

Along with high vitamin content, broccoli seed oil is also renowned for its impressive fatty acids, which, according to holistic health coach Annie Price, are incredibly moisturising. These acids include Omega-9 and Omega-3, and are the reason you may begin to notice broccoli seed oil on the back of your haircare bottles, especially products aimed at dry or damaged hair.

And there's one more factor that has cemented broccoli seed oil as a must-have ingredient. According to certain experts, the oil has the ability to protect a person against skin cancer. "Broccoli seed oil contains sulfurophane, a compound which mobilises cellular defences that protect the skin against UV damage," chemist Marie-Veronique Nadeau told Fashionista.

Dr. Sally Dickinson, a research assistant professor in the Pharmacology Department at the University of Arizona and a UA Cancer Center member, seems to agree. Working with John Hopkins University, Dickinson looked in the effects of sulfurophane and, in 2013, concluded that it is a "highly effective agent when it comes to inhibiting cancer-causing pathways," according to Science Daily. The professor commented: "We already know that [sulfurophane] is very effective in blocking sunburns, and we have seen cases where it can induce protective enzymes in the skin." That's not to say that you should start swapping your SPF for broccoli seed oil, but it's an interesting finding nonetheless.

While health shops have stocked pure forms of broccoli seed oil for a while, it's taken a little longer for beauty brands to catch on. However, this unexpected ingredient is slowly making its way into the mainstream. Here are a few products to try out.


I suppose your nan was right when she told you greens were good for you.