Watermelon Seed Oil

Watermelon Seed Oil

Watermelon seed oil is a highly nutritious oil obtained from Watermelon seeds. This seed oil has been extracted using traditional methods in West Africa, where it is still used as a cosmetic ingredient. Watermelon seed oil is light and an excellent skin moisturizer. As a result, it is used in many skincare products. It is not clear whether it is suitable for edible use; however, one can use this oil in homemade beauty products.


The source of the watermelon seed oil is the watermelon seed. The watermelons generally used for oil extraction is Citrullus lanatus. This is the common watermelon that we savour in summers. Another variety used for extracting oil is the Citrullus vulgaris. There is also a wild variety of watermelon, called Citrullus colocynthis, but this is less used. Watermelons are native to Africa, and it is here that the local people have devised many uses for their seed oil. The seed is thick and come in many shades of colour but are generally black. They are a powerhouse of nutrition with a high concentration of dietary minerals. Some of these nutrients pass into watermelon seed oil.


  • To obtain oil, watermelon seeds are sun-dried. This lowers the water content in them. Then the seeds are pressed for extracting fine, yellow coloured oil. There are many ways in which this oil is extracted. Cold-pressed method
  • Solvent extraction using hexane as solvent.
  • Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction.

Among these, cold-pressed oil is the healthiest as it does not contain any artificial ingredient. It is pure, natural and organic watermelon seed oil.

Other Names

Watermelon seed oil is well known by other names like Kalahari oil and Ootanga oil. These are African names for this seed oil.

Blends Well With

Watermelon seed oil blends well with other nutty oils because of its slightly nutty flavour. It is light, very stable, and used as a carrier oil for any essential oil during an aromatherapy massage.


These are the therapeutic healing properties of Watermelon seed oil.

  • Emollient – It is a wonderful moisturizer for both oily and dry skin.
  • Antioxidant – Watermelon seed oil does not go rancid even after years. This gives a glimpse of its superb antioxidant capacity.
  • Anti-ageing – The application of this oil on the skin brings in anti-ageing action. It provides direct nutrition to the skin and prevents it from free radicals.
  • Detoxifying Agent – It is used in detoxifying massage formulations.
  • Anti-inflammatory – It reduces inflammation on the skin.
  • Antihelminthic – It is used to drive worms out of the intestine.
  • Diuretic – It assists the body in releasing more urine from the body, thus eliminating more toxins.

Colour and Aroma

Watermelon seed oil is pale yellow. It is a slight aroma that is nutty. This oil has been used for cooking by native people of the Kalahari desert, although it is not used for cooking nowadays in most places.

Health Benefits

Watermelon seed oil offers many health benefits both topically and internally.

As a Carrier Oil

Watermelon seed oil forms a nice carrier oil for massage. It is light and absorbs quickly into the skin. It is often used to dilute thicker carrier oils in massages that require the oil combination to be thin. It is a nice carrier for essential oils. Watermelon seed oil is also applied singly as a massage oil. It can be used for baby massage, besides other oils for infant massage like olive oil.

Watermelon seed oil for skin

Watermelon seed oil is good for oily skin. It reduces skin oil ( sebum ) on the skin by dissolving it away. As a result, the skin is much less oily after application with watermelon seed oil and washing it. This fact is helpful for skin conditions that are aggravated by excessive oil production, like acne. It prevents clogging of hair follicles and thus contains conditions like folliculitis.

Watermelon seed oil is also helpful for people with dry, irritated skin in conditions like eczema and psoriasis. One can directly apply this oil to the skin as it is gentle and generally safe.

Watermelon seed oil for hair

Watermelon seed oil forms a nice smelling ingredient in hair care formulations. When applied directly to the scalp and then washed out, it reduces oiliness on the scalp and hair. This reduces the excessive glossy look of the hair. Watermelon seed oil reduces frizz in hair and provides it with nutrition. It can be used as a hot oil treatment to achieve smooth, shiny, but much less greasy hair.

Anti-Ageing effects

Watermelon seed oil is a powerful antioxidant. This implies that when applied topically on the skin, it provides antioxidants to the skin cells. When the cells have these nutrients, they can better deal with free radicals and oxidizing agents in the environment. Free radical-induced damage is a major cause of accelerated ageing, along with UV radiation-induced damage. Gently massaging watermelon seed oil onto the skin once a day and letting it absorb into the skin provides the skin with nutrients from the oil. This improves the ability of our skin to neutralize free radicals before they damage the matrix of collagen.

Detoxifying Agent

Watermelon seed oil aids the body in expelling toxins. A massage performed using warm watermelon seed oil helps the oil to take away dirt and environmental toxins deposited on the skin. It is a powerful skin cleanser and detoxifier. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, and it performs considerable detoxification through sweat pores.

Diuretic Action

Massage the lower abdomen and middle back region using warm watermelon seed oil. It helps to tone the urinary system and increase urine output. This is helpful in many urinary conditions in which urination is infrequent and scanty. It also prevents kidney stones as urine output is considerable.

Vitamin E benefits

The watermelon seed oil contains a significant amount of Vitamin E. When applied topically or when ingested, vitamin E gets absorbed into our system. This vitamin improves the functioning of our immune system and also acts as a powerful antioxidant. Inside the body, it prevents polyunsaturated fatty acids from undergoing oxidation. It protects our lipids as well as the nervous system.

Other Possible Health Benefits

Watermelon seed oil may have many more health benefits that have not been proven till now. Its high concentration of unsaturated fats makes it good for the heart and cardiovascular system.


A study found that watermelon seed oil ( Citrullus lanatus ) exhibits anti-inflammatory activity in-vitro against oedema in rats. [1]

Protects the Liver

Watermelon seed oil is hepatoprotective. In one study, watermelon seed oil lead to a reduction in blood ALT and AST levels. These levels are markers of damage to the liver, and if they are lower, it indicates that the liver has regained health. Therefore, watermelon seed oil may be used to remedy lower liver damage induced by toxic substances. [1]


Watermelon seed oil is presently used in a few applications in the cosmetic industry. However, as more of its properties come to light, it might be used for other purposes as well.

  • Cooking – Crude watermelon seed oil is still used for cooking purposes in Africa.
  • Cosmetic products – Watermelon seed oil is an ingredient in many topical application products for Skin and Hair. It is used to make products for babies, like massage oils. It is used in moisturizers, creams, salves, lotions and under-eye creams.
  • Soaps – Watermelon seed oil is used as a base for soaps.
  • Foaming products – It is also used as a foaming agent for many products.

Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues

There is not much information on the side effects of watermelon seed oil. The most important thing to note is that the watermelon seed oil is pure and organic. It should be obtained through a cold-pressed technique without heating the seeds at all. Heat changes the composition of fatty acids and other nutrients in the seeds, which reflects in oils. Watermelons contain nutrients that lead to the production of nitric oxide (NO) in the body. This compound is a powerful vasodilator. These nutrients may be present in seed oil as well. Regular consumption of large amounts of watermelon seed oil may cause more vasodilation than is good for the health.

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

Let us look at the nutrition facts of watermelon seed oil. Although it is presently not used as edible oil, it is still used for cooking in many parts of Africa. This can give us some clues as to its health benefits when taken internally. The most important part of the nutrition of edible oil is its fatty acid composition.

Fatty acid profile of Watermelon Seed Oil

Myristic Acid0.11Saturated fat
Stearic Acid (18:0)10.2 %Saturated fat
Palmitic Acid (16:0)11.3 %Saturated fat
Palmitoleic Acid (16:1)0.29 %MUFA
Oleic Acid (18:1)18.1 %MUFA
Linoleic Acid (18:2)55.6 %PUFA
Alpha Linolenic Acid(18:3)0.35 %PUFA
Erucic Acid (22:1)MUFA
Gondoic Acid (20:1)MUFA
Behenic Acid (22:0)Saturated fat
Arachidic Acid (20:0)Saturated fat

Source: 2

100 gm of watermelon seed oil contains only a minor fraction in terms of saturated fats. This is the breakdown.

  • Saturated Fats – 21.7 gm
  • MUFA ( monounsaturated fatty acid ) – 18.4 gm
  • PUFA ( polyunsaturated fatty acid ) – 60 gm

This fatty acid breakdown shows that watermelon seed oil is mainly comprised of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Besides fatty acids, watermelon seed oil also contains sterols, diglycerides, monoglycerides and phospholipids.

Vitamins and Minerals in Watermelon Seed Oil

Watermelon seed oil is rich in Vitamin A ( carotenoids ), Vitamin E and B vitamins. It is also rich in minerals generally found in watermelon seed flour, like magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorus, potassium and manganese.

Chemical properties

Besides the nutrients, and oil has some more chemical properties of value. Of these, the most important is antioxidant capacity. However, at present, the antioxidant capacity of watermelon seed oil has not been evaluated. Watermelon oil’s comedogenicity is not known with certainty, but it should be low as the oil has a sebum clearing effect.

Specific Gravity0.85great for massage oil
Storage temperatureRoom TemperatureIdeal temperature for storage
ComedogenicityPore clogging potential ( 0 – 5 )
ORACAntioxidant Power
Peroxide value10Measure of Acidity
Anisidine valueMeasure of Initial Rancidity
Saponification Value183.13Measure of the average carbon chain length
Iodine Value121.51Measure of unsaturation of oil
Free Fatty Acids6.40 %Percentage of volatile oils

Source : 3

Buying and Storage

Make sure to buy high-quality watermelon seed oil. It is important to note that the oil can be organic, even if it has been extracted with solvents. But, that oil does not remain a virgin oil. Storage of watermelon seed oil is least troublesome, as the oil doesn’t turn rancid easily. It has a long shelf life.


  1. Medicinal Values on Citrullus lanatus (Watermelon): Pharmacological Review. Erhirhie et.al.
  2. Characterization and composition of different seed oils and flours. Tarek A. El-Adawy et. al.Food Chemistry 74 (2001)
  3. Extraction And Determination Of Physicochemical Properties Of Watermelon Seed Oil (Citrullus Lanatus L) For Relevant Uses. Duduyemi et.al.


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