Friday, March 20, 2009

Exotic oils

Before you go on, if you want more detail on any oil - more detail than you see here - please visit the emollients section of the blog. There are whole posts on a lot of these oils!

Exotic oils (not a term you want to search for as I think I made it up?) are usually quite expensive (compared to carrier oils like olive or sunflower oil) but we add them in small amounts because they contain vitamins, minerals, or fatty acids our skin just loves! I'll give you some examples of how to use these oils in our creations for specific needs. I've added the shelf-life and INCI information for your reference.

A few things to note...
Essential fatty acids - these are fatty acids required by the body for growth and function that we cannot manufacture ourselves. They are are prized for their ability to replenish lipids (oils) that are found naturally within the skin layers.

Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA - an essential fatty acid (sometimes called "Vitamin F") that is not produced by the body, but is needed for healthy skin. The body uses it to manufacture prostaglandins, which are hormone like substances that balance and regular cellular activity.

Vitamin A - improves skin's texture, firmness, and smoothness. Essential for the generation and function of skin cells.

Cost scale - these prices will be higher for cold pressed or organic oils.
$ = $1 to $5 for 1 oz or 30 grams
$$ = $6 to 8 for 1 oz or 30 grams
$$$ - $8 to 12 for 1 oz or 30 grams
$$$$ - $13 for 1 oz or 30 grams

Aloe vera oil ($)
An oil based extract from the aloe vera plant in a soybean or sunflower oil base. Antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing. Contains allantoin, which is an FDA approved barrier for wind and cold chapped skin.
This is a great way to get the awesome-ness of aloe vera in an anhydrous lotion bar, serum, or manicure scrub.
Recommended usage: 1 to 50%

Borage oil ($$): INCI: Borago officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil
A very rich source of GLA (between 22 and 27%), it is known to restore moisture and smooth dry, damaged, or aging skin.
Shelf life: 9 to 10 months

Calendula ($): INCI: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil (and) Calendula officinalis (Flower) Extract
Regenerative and anti-inflammatory, a great treatment for burned, irritated, inflamed, or chapped skin. Effective for aging skin.
Shelf life: 12 to 14 months

Camellia seed ($): INCI: Camellia sinensis Seed Oil
Camellia Seed Oil is very high in oleic acid, and has great anti-oxidant properties. It has been used in Japan for centuries to moisturize and condition the skin, hair and nails. Contains Vitamins A, B, and E, and is great for hair and hand care products. It is described as non-greasy, and is absorbed quickly.
Usage rate: 1 to 100%
Shelf life: 6 to 12 months

Carrot tissue oil ($): INCI: Helianthus annus (and) beta carotene
Effective for prematurely aging and dry, itchy skin. Rich in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, and other nutrients. Generally infused in sunflower oil. It may have an earthy scent.
Shelf life: 12 months

Comfrey oil ($ to $$): INCI: Symphytum officinale.
Comfrey oil and salve are used treatment of dry skin and chapped lips. As a note, some people have concerns about this oil on open wounds - it can sting - so use only in products that are not going to be used on open cuts or scrapes. (I'd suggest doing more research before you include comfrey oil in your products as it contains an ingredient - can't remember the name at the moment - which Health Canada doesn't like very much).

Cranberry oil ($$ to $$$): INCI Name: Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil
Cranberry seed oil is rich in antioxidants, omega 3 & 6 and Vitamin E., and can be a barrier on the skin. It contains a variety of minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and selenium.

Evening primrose ($):
Contains about 10% gamma linoleic acid, and high levels of linoleic acids. Eases inflammation, has superb moisturizing qualities, and treats dry skin. Great for aging skin.
(As a side note, I use this in a moisturizer for my acne, and it feels lovely. It's a great addition at up to 10% of your oils, and it is not expensive compared to the other exotic oils.)

Neem oil ($): INCI: Neem (Melia Azadirachta) Seed Oil
An effective anti-fungal and antiseptic oil. Rich in fatty acids and glycerides.
This oil smells very funky - a bit garlicky!
Usage rate: up to 10%

Pumpkin seed oil ($): INCI Name: Cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil
High in linoleic acid, omega 3 and 6 fatty oils. Also contains potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, selenium & zinc as well as vitamins A, D, B1, B2, & B6.

Rosehip oil ($): INCI: Rosa canina (rosehip) fruit oil.
Rosehip oil is very high in essential fatty acids, retinoic acid (a derivative of retinol or Vitamin A), and Vitamin C. It contains high levels of GLA, which has uses in treating eczema and psoriasis. It may treat stretch marks, wrinkles, and soften scars. It may diminish broken capillaries, but may aggravate acne or blemished skin.

Sea Buckthorn oil ($$$): INCI: Hippophae rhamnoides Oil
Used for acne, dermatitus, irritated, dry, itching skin. Great source of vitamins A, C, and E, and contains essential fatty acids and phytosterols. Rich source of various B vitamins. A good oil for hair care products or facial serums.
Usage rate: up to 10%

Shea oil ($): INCI Name: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Seed Oil
Anti-inflammatory and soothing, shea oil contains phytosterols which soothe skin. Great in lotions and shaving products. Especially good for sun care products for dry, irritated, or chapped skin.
Shelf life: up to 2 years, very stable

Squalane ($ to $$):
This is steam distilled from olive oil (squalene comes from sharks...) It is soft, silky, and non-greasy. It is absorbed into the skin very quickly, and resembles human sebum so you skin can "breathe" (allows your skin to function normally). Helpful for acne, dry scaly skin, and rashes (shaving or diaper rashes, for instance). Anti-bacterial and protects from environmental factors such as sun, cold, and pollution.
Can be used alone as a moisturizer or in other lotions or serums at 2 to 10%.

So how do you use these oils? I'll give you a few examples...

Outdoor bar - when I was formulating a bar I intended for people who might be outdoors during cold or windy times, I wanted to include aloe vera (chapping and soothing), calendula (anti-inflammatory), and evening primrose (inflammation and dry skin), on top of the other non-exotic oils. I used them at a total of 10% (4% aloe, 3% calendula, 3% evening primrose) for their qualities.

Hair care - sea buckthorn and camellia oils are my choice in my intense conditioner at a total of 10% (6% camellia and 4% sea buckthorn) because both are great moisturizers and emollients. You could use shea oil (a bit heavy, but really nice) or jojoba here (more like a wax, but good for your scalp).

Moisturizer - for a moisturizer for my acne-prone, irritated, slightly dry and aging skin I wanted to include ingredients with high GLA (evening primrose), good emolliency that would allow the normal functions of my skin (squalane), and anti-inflammatory properties (calendula). I didn't include aloe oil as I was using aloe vera juice, but I would include it here for its great properties if I weren't including the liquid. (As a note, it would seem neem oil would be a great inclusion for a moisturizer, but I couldn't get past the smell!)

Serum - if you wanted to make an anhydrous (oil-based, no water) serum for your skin, you'd want to pick a really lovely carrier oil - I'd suggest jojoba, fractionated coconut oil, or olive oil, or a combination of all three - at about 80% and add about 20% exotic oils to the mixture. If you were looking for anti-aging ingredients, you might consider rosehip oil (or for acne prone skin, evening primrose oil), sea buckthorn, carrot, and squalane in your mixture. If you were looking to soothe really dry or chapped skin, aloe oil, calendula, and shea oil. You'd only want to make a bit, as you only put a few drops on your skin with a serum! (If you wanted to be really decadent, you could use squalane as your base, then add your exotic oils on top of that.)

So as you look at the anhydrous creations we're making in the next week, think about how to incorporate your exotic oils into the mixture. Ooh, some evening primrose and shea oil would be great for my elbows right now!


Christine - Lemons and Mint said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christine said...

Oops just deleted my comment... just wanted to say thank you for all this nicely sorted, condensed info! Your blog is brilliant, I wish I had found it earlier (got her from a crafster link).

p said...

Hi Susan!

I was wondering, what do you know about tamanu oil? I've made lotions and serums (sera?) with it and love the results, but I tend to mix it with other stuff that's awesome.


Anonymous said...

When I buy Sea Buckthorn Oil, well... it's kind of ORANGE. Just saying, if you're using it in moisturiser, take care not to overdo it, or you end up with a product (and possibly skin...) which also looks kind of... ORANGE!

Anonymous said...

I realize this is an old post, but I'd like to point out that you seem to have a typo/small error here. Neem isn't Punica granatum, that's pomegranate. I believe neem is Azadirachta indica. You might want to correct this to avoid confusion!


HeidiL said...

Sorry to bug you, but I was wondering if you could recommend a reliable (preferably, but not necesarily free) source for information on products that you have not mentioned. For instance, one of my suppliers has Abyssinian Oil, Black Cumin Seed Oil, Black Currant Oil, etc. Where can I go to find information? I checked Wikipedia and the information there is not pertinent to skin care (aside from also not being vetted). I tried doing research online, and I DID learn a lot- for instance Black Cumin Seed Oil apparently cures HIV and cancer, so THAT's cool- No doubt these article authors would have said that it will also independently clean my house too, if they'd thought it was what I needed to hear to purchase it off of their web site. :( Although I'd of course also love to hear your thoughts on these items, I really was just hoping you could point me in the right direction. If your sources are all super chemistry heavy, many of us may not get all of the data there, but we may be able to grasp just enough to get the general idea without having to bug you. Thanks so much!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Heidi! I'm using your question in today's Weekend Wonderings. Check out that post for more information. And it's a great question! You aren't bugging me!

ShivaD said...

Hi! Love your website - so informative! I did have a question about some of the properties I see listed for carrier oils. How can they possess water soluble vitamins? I see vitamin B's and C listed a lot but I was under the impression that oil would only contain the fat soluble ones like A and E. If you could enlighten me I would appreciate it.