33 Miracle Benefits Rice Bran Oil for Skin and Hair

(Last Updated On: August 3, 2018)

Rice bran oil is an overlooked oil that deserves a little more recognition for its fantastic moisturizing and rejuvenating properties. While rice bran oil isn’t a well known cosmetic oil in the western world, it has been used for centuries in Japan where it is a widely used natural anti aging ingredient, and where the use of this oil is credited with the flawless complexions of Japanese women. In Japan rice bran oil, or komenuka, is traditionally added to soaps and creams, and is prized for its skin soothing and antioxidant properties. It’s considered a compliment to a Japanese woman to tell her that she is a ‘rice bran beauty’.

Rice bran oil is the oil extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice. It has a high percentage of fatty acids and is full of rich emollients, excellent antioxidants and vitamins A, B and E.

The emollients in rice bran oil not only hydrate skin, they provide a protective barrier over the skin, which makes rice bran oil particularly suitable for use with damaged and broken skin conditions.

Rice bran oil is also rich in a substance called oryzanol which is an antioxidant and free radical fighter with more powerful anti aging effects than Vitamin E, and is unique to this oil.

In addition to using rice bran oil on your skin and hair, you can eat it too, making this oil able to give you lots of healing, skin boosting benefits from the inside. Rice bran oil is a popular staple in Asian cooking because it has a high smoke point, so it’s suitable for deep-frying and stir-frying, you can also use it in salad dressings as it blends easily with other ingredients without separating. Rice bran oil has a subtle nutty flavor and no odor.

Not all rice bran oil is created in the same way. The best quality oil, with all of its beneficial properties intact is the cold pressed oil. Cold pressed oils are produced by applying great pressure to the rice hull which squeezes out the oil. In contrast, some extraction processes use chemicals to obtain the oil. Alway check the labels for any oil that you use, to ensure that it is a cold pressed oil.

Because rice bran oil has gained popularity as a cooking oil you should be able to find it in most large supermarkets as well as in asian grocers and online.

Let’s take a look and find out some of the different ways that rice bran oil can benefit your skin and your hair.

1 . Vitamin E – Tocotrienols

Vitamin E is an important ingredient in many skin care products but much of the added vitamin E is synthetic and doesn’t actually do any good. The vitamin E in natural products however, is beneficial for you skin and your hair, and one particular form of vitamin E stands head and shoulders above the others. This form of vitamin E is known as a tocotrienol, and it is a very powerful antioxidant. Rice bran oil has 2 forms of vitamin E, the more common natural tocopherol and the less common tocotrienol form. Which makes the vitamin E in this oil a potent free radical fighter.

2.  Fatty Acids

Rice bran oil has a very beneficial mix of skin nourishing fatty acids.

Myristic acid – 0.6%

Palmitic acid – 21.5%

Stearic acid – 2.9%

Oleic acid (an Omega 9 fatty acid) – 38.4%

Linoleic acid (LA, an Omega 6 fatty acid) – 34.4%

α-Linolenic acid (ALA, an Omega 3 fatty acid) – 2.2%

3.  Vitamins A and B

Rice bran oil also contains natural vitamin A and vitamin B, which when incorporated into your daily skin care routine helps to keep skin smooth and wrinkle free skin. These vitamins boost your skin’s ability to cope with dry cold winter weather, helping it to naturally retain moisture and resist irritation and inflammation.

4.  Rich In Squalane

Squalane is a substance that actually makes up 12% of human sebum. Sebum is the skin’s natural moisturizer, lubricant and protector against infection. This essential substance is produced in the liver, but its production decreases as we age. After the age of about 30 the liver produces a much smaller amount of squalane, which is why older skin tends to have problems with dryness. Another benefit of squalane for older skin is its ability to reduce the appearance of age spots.

5. Powerful Antioxidants

Rice bran oil contains three powerful antioxidants (tocopherol, tocotrienol, and oryzanol) which are used to protect the body’s cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for premature aging and a tired, dull complexion.

6. Co Enzyme Q 10

Coenzyme Q 10 (COQ10), is another substance that is produced by our bodies naturally, but like squalane, its production is also slowed down after the age of 30. Other factors involved in less than optimum production of CoQ10 are certain medications and stress.

CoQ10 is known to have two very important roles when it comes to skin health. First, it is essential for producing the biological energy inside the cells, and second, CoQ10 is an antioxidant.

When CoQ10 levels in the body drop, cells are less able to withstand environmental and biological stresses and their rate of regeneration declines. CoQ10 is regarded as one of the most accurate biomarkers of aging because its decreasing levels correlate so well with the aging process.

By using rice bran oil, which is a source of CoQ10, you help to boost those declining levels, which means that your skin is better protected from age inducing free radicals and retains its ability to produce good levels of collagen and elastin. Because CoQ10 is a small molecule, it can easily penetrate into skin cells, so a topical application of a CoQ10 product works really well.

7. Anti-inflammatory


Rice bran oil has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe irritated skin and improve its appearance by reducing redness and puffiness.

8. A Non Irritant Alternative to Lanolin

Lanolin is made from sheep’s wool and it’s a very rich moisturizer, with plenty of applications. Lanolin softens rough heels, soothes dry skin, protects chapped skin and eases the discomfort of cracked nipples for nursing mothers.

While lanolin is a natural and effective moisturizer, a lot of people, especially those with sensitive skin, can’t use it because it causes them to suffer an allergic reaction.

Rice bran oil has properties that are very similar to lanolin and it doesn’t irritate sensitive skins or cause reactions.

9. A Light Oil That Penetrates Easily

Unlike some oils that sit on the skin for ages, and take a lot of rubbing in, rice bran oil penetrates easily and deeply. In fact some people use it as an alternative to the more expensive argan oil which has similar absorption properties.

10. It Won’t Make Oily Skin Oiler

Even though rice bran oil is a very rich moisturizer it doesn’t make skin oily. And because of its squalane content, it will actually help oily skin to produce less oil. Bonus!

11. It Doesn’t Clog Pores

Rice bran oil is non comedogenic, so you don’t have to worry about it clogging your pores and leading to spots or acne.

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12.  Moisturizes Very Dry Skin

Rice bran oil penetrates deeply into dry skin to restore moisture and provide a protective seal to keep it locked in. Its anti-inflammatory properties soothe the redness and irritation that often accompany dry skin, and help to leave dry skin, hydrated, soft and smooth.

13. Cleanses Skin

As well as being an effective moisturizer, rice bran oil can cleanse your skin, which means that you can replace 2 products with just one bottle of rice bran oil. The oil is traditionally used in Japan to cleanse skin and to clean hair. To use it as a cleanser, apply some oil to a clean cotton pad and use as you would any other cleanser.

14. Prevents Razor Burn

When used prior to shaving, rice bran oil provides a protective layer over the skin, that allows the razor to glide smoothly without tugging at your skin and causing a shaving rash or razor bumps.

It moisturizes and prevents dryness, leaving you with silky smooth skin.

15. Blocks Damaging UV Rays

Rice bran oil contains a substance called oryzanol, which is able to block ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays can damage your hair and your skin. UV rays can oxidize hair which causes dryness and color damage. Many sunscreen products contain rice bran oil for its UV blocking properties.

16. Calms Rashes

Rice bran oil is effective for all kinds of inflamed skin problems and is especially helpful for rashes caused by contact dermatitis. It soothes and calms irritated skin and its anti-inflammatories prevent blistering and bring relief from pain.

17. Relieves Eczema

Rice bran oil is one of the best oils to use on skin affected by eczema. It brings all of the benefits of lanolin, but in a lighter form that won’t cause any irritation or allergic reactions. Its emollient properties penetrate cracks and form a protective barrier, keeping skin from further irritation.

18. Perfect For Sensitive Skin

It can be difficult to find good moisturizer for sensitive skin, especially ones that actually deliver skin rejuvenating properties along with the hydration factor. Rice bran oil offers all of this and won’t irritate even the most sensitive skin.

19. Conditions Hair

Rice bran oil makes a wonderful deep conditioning hair mask. Its rich fatty acids can penetrate the hair shafts to moisturize and protect from within. Used once a week rice bran oil will add a lovely sheen to hair and protect it from sun and other environmental damage.

20. Smooths Split Ends

In addition to being a non greasy lubricant which can smooth split ends and frizz, the vitamin E components of rice bran oil protects your hair from heat damage, which prevents further splits from occurring. Rice bran oil adds moisture to dry damage hair and locks it in place, giving you healthier looking hair that is easier to keep under control.

21. Softens And Moisturizes Cracked Heels

The squalane and fatty acids in rice bran oil make it an effective remedy for treating dry skin on your feet, and it’s anti-inflammatories quickly soothe the pain of deep cracks. The oil delivers moisture and seals it within your skin allowing for healing to take place more rapidly.

22. Hand Moisturizer

Hands are subjected to so much wear and tear that they need a rich moisturizer. Unfortunately good long lasting moisturizers tend to be on the greasy side, while the lotions and creams that quickly absorb into skin, don’t moisturize for very long and need frequent reapplication. Rice bran oil gives you the best of both worlds. It’s a rich moisturizer that absorbs easily and completely, leaving your hands soft and smooth. So by using rice bran oil instead of hand lotion you can nourish and protect your hands and then quickly get back to whatever you need to do, without leaving a greasy residue on your keyboard, phone, steering wheel, etc.

23. Conditions Scalp

The deep moisturizing ability of rice bran oil, will penetrate the driest scalps to restore balance and eliminate itchy, flakey, irritated dry scalp conditions. Because it’s a non greasy oil that is fully absorbed it won’t make your hair greasy and you can leave it on all day.

24. Strengthens Hair

Rice bran oil is rich in a carbohydrate called Inositol. Inositol is a well known hair strengthener and is frequently added to hair care serums for this reason. Inositol promotes healthy hair follicles, and healthy hair follicles grow thicker hair. They also are able to grow hair more quickly than damaged or undernourished follicles. Because rice bran oil is an edible oil, you can use it in your cooking to get these beneficial effects from the inside too.

25. Helps To Prevent Acne

Helps To Prevent Acne

Because rice bran oil has a balanced oleic acid and linoleic acid ratio, along with its high amounts of palmitic acid it has a fatty acid profile similar to Argan oil. Argan oil is one of the best oils to use on acne prone skin, but it’s expensive. Rice bran oil’s similarity to Argan oil makes it a good and lower priced substitute.

Acne prone skin has a linoleic acid deficiency, so oils like rice bran oil and Argan oil which are rich in linoleic acid can help to restore the balance. Oils that are richer in oleic acid however, like olive oil, are more likely to cause an acne breakout.

26. Helps Psoriasis

Rice bran oil is non irritating to inflamed skin which makes it suitable for use on areas affected by psoriasis. Its anti-inflammatories soothe aggravated skin, while its moisturizers calm and hydrate.

27. Perfect For An All Over Body Moisturizer

With its rich moisturizing qualities and low price, it makes sense to use rice bran oil as a whole body moisturizer, to hydrate, soften and protect your skin. Rice bran oil works great on slightly damp skin fresh from the shower, and because it is quickly absorbed, it won’t slow you down when you want to get dressed. Rice bran oil actually feels more like a lotion than an oil.

28. It’s A Good Carrier Oil For Essential Oils

Whether you need to use essential oils for a home remedy, or as part of your normal skincare routine, rice bran oil makes a great choice for a carrier oil, because in addition to being non greasy and easily absorbed, rice bran oil has many beneficial skin care properties of its own. And being odorless it doesn’t interfere with any healing aromatherapy effects.

29. Plumps Up Wrinkles

Rice bran oil is rich in squalane, which is the same substance found in high end skin care products containing squalane sourced from disreputable sources like shark oil. Squalene helps to boost the production of collagen in the skin. Collagen is the foundation of your skin and knits it together. Good levels of collagen result in firm skin that is less prone to wrinkles.

30. Massage Oil

Rice bran is a silky oil that is perfect for using as a massage oil if you don’t like that oiled up feeling or find cleaning up afterwards a chore. Rice bran oil doesn’t sit on the skin, instead it penetrates to lubricate the skin, enabling a comfortable drier massage without pulling or dragging the skin.

31. Base For A Body Scrub

Because rice bran oil is non greasy it makes a great base for all of your body scrubs. Mix a little of the oil with sugar or oatmeal for a moisturizing and exfoliating scrub.

32. Stimulates Circulation For Brighter Skin

Rice bran oil can help to revive a dull complexion thanks to its Phytic acid content. Phytic acid is part of the B family of vitamins and is able to improve circulation and increase cell growth to reveal brighter, younger looking skin.

33. Minimizes Dark Circles And Puffiness Under The Eyes.

Rice bran oil contains plant sterols. Sterols are a naturally occurring steroid. These sterols give rice bran the ability to reduce dark circles under the eyes and to drain and decongest any puffiness around the eyes. This oil can also whiten skin very slightly, which contributes to the disappearance of under eye circles.  

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As you can see there is plenty to like about this unassuming oil. Give it a try, you’ll be glad that you did!

Written by Irina Radosevic MD
Irina graduated from the University of Belgrade, School of Medicine as a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and spent over 3 years working in the Clinical Hospital Center Zvezdara, in the Department of Emergency Medicine. She also undertook a postgraduate in Cardiology from the same University and had previously worked for over a year as a Physician and Nutritionist Dietitian for the Fitness club Green Zone. She eventually left her chaotic but fulfilling job in the ER to pursue her passion of writing, travelling and mountain climbing which has included writing a first aid course for the alpine club of Belgrade. Irina currently works as a VA for PintMedia focusing on medical and travel writing. Feel free to connect with Irina on LinkedIn and FaceBook. Her CV can be seen here.