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Carrots: They've always been up there when it comes to our list of favourite vegetables (after kale, spinach and tenderstem broccoli, obviously), but now carrots are also earning themselves the status of one of our favourite skincare ingredients too—and for good reason. Carrots come rich in beta-carotene, the substance that gives them their orange colour, but thankfully, on skin it has an entirely different effect.
Type of ingredient: Antioxidant
Main benefits: Increases cell turnover, brightens skin, antioxidant
Who should use it: In general, anyone concerned about their skin becoming dull. However, people with sensitive skin may want to avoid it.
How often can you use it?: You can use it in the AM and PM, but no more than twice a day.
Works well with: Hydrators like hyaluronic acid, non-retinol exfoliants, Vitamin E.
Don't use with: Retinols, because they're also Vitamin A.
What is Carrot Extract?
"Carrot seed oil is an essential oil which has antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties," Dr. Rose Ingleton, founder of of NYC-based Ingleton Dermatology and an eponymous skincare line explains to us. It can be extracted in plenty of ways, and carrot extract doesn't always come from the seeds, but you can think of it kind of like any other essential oil. She also makes note that when carrot oil has been extracted for skincare, it's not meant for use internally. So... please don't eat it.
What Are The Benefits of Carrot Extract?
As a whole, carrot extract is pretty good for you, but what companies are mostly trying to get to through extraction is that sweet sweet beta-carotene, also spelled "ß-carotene." You might know it as the component responsible for giving carrots their orange tinge, but that's certainly not its only use. Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A—the vitamin responsible for cell regeneration—so when it's applied topically, it steps up the skin's rate of cell turnover, bringing the younger, more radiant skin cells to the surface. In essence, it has a similar effect to turning up the brightness on your selfie, only IRL and without weird background issues.
Plus, it's rich in antioxidants, which are vital in fending off skin-damaging free radicals found in everything from polluted air to the sun's rays, and it can help fade any pesky patches of hyperpigmentation.
Side Effects of Carrot Extract
Well, just as eating too many carrots will tinge your skin orange, so will putting too much carrot extract on your skin. In fact, most beauty formulations that involve carrot only use the ingredient itself in small percentages. It's often towards the middle, if not the end, of the ingredients list. But even so, Dr. Mun recommends to take caution and only use products with heavier concentrations of carrot extract at night. "When exposed to sunlight and heat, beta-carotene can easily oxidize and cause skin discoloration and irritation," explains Mun. "So, it’s recommended to use carrot seed oil in the evening, as part of an evening routine."
How to Use It
If you're not a fan of carrots, don't worry—you don't have to start sneaking them into your diet. In fact, to benefit from the glow-boosting properties of carrots, you don't even have to start adding them to most meals. Instead, you might want to slip a carrot-infused skincare product somewhere into your regimen. Luckily, more than a few products have it as an ingredient. "Carrot seed oil works very well in synergy with vitamin E (Tocopherol)," Dr. Kevin Mun, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of VENN Skincare notes. "Also, carrot seed oil, when used in a formulation, should always be combined with olive oil, hazelnut oil or any other 'carrier oil' rather than applying a pure carrot seed oil directly on the skin."
The Best Products With Carrot Extract
With a particularly rich, buttery texture, this is a heavyweight when it comes to hydration so definitely suited to skin that is a little on the dry side. Avocado oil nourishes while the antioxidants in the carrot extract ward off skin aggressors like air pollution.
Newly reformulated and better than ever, Province Apothecary's moisturizer has quite a few loyal fans. It doesn't stay on your skin as a barrier, but sinks in without leaving you feeling greasy. Tack on the facts that it doesn't clog pores and comes in a huge bottle, and it's hard not to love.
We're big fans of the fact this oil uses the anti-inflammatory evening primrose seed oil as a carrier oil, instead of a standard oil like jojoba. You get more bang for your buck—and we all know skincare products, especially from natural brands, can set you back a pretty penny if you're not careful. The combination of both oils in this product ensures you get an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory formula that protects and nourishes your skin, while maintaining a simple ingredient list.
Fair warning: this serum smells a lot like carrots. But if you can get past the idea that the green oil you're putting on your face is in fact where that smell is coming from, it works wonders. It's so concentrated you only need two or three drops, and the end goal of the serum is to give you a perfect glow without any makeup on. Odacité knows what the people want.
Lipsticks are almost always drying, especially when you're using one from a luxury brand. As with most good pairs of heels, comfort takes a back seat to the look and first impression. But YSL doesn't want that for you. Or, at least, they do want a knockout lipstick, but they also want you to be comfortable. It's why they put carrot oil into their classic Rouge Pur Couture lipstick.
Don't be alarmed by its uncanny resemblance to blood; this exfoliator is magical. Containing a heavy dose of alpha-hydroxy acid (the stuff that retextures skin and brings back its bounce), a smaller helping of beta-hydroxy acid to clarify, and a side order of black carrot extract—it's the product we always return to when need to make tired skin glow fast.
If you, like us, can't get enough of The Ordinary at the moment, we know exactly how to navigate the range and find the right products for your skin.