Calendula oil is made up of about 2% palmitic acid (C16), 2% stearic acid (C18), 3.1% oleic acid (C18:1), 27.5% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 64% conjugated linolenic acid (C18:3). It's high in tocopherols at 1,937 ppm!
With all this conjugated linolenic acid (or CLnA), calendula oil is effective at reducing inflammation and improving epidermal differentiation. With all those double bonds, though, it is going to be more prone to oxidation, so make sure you add some Vitamin E when using calendula oil. (And yes, there is a ton in there naturally, but a little more won't be a bad thing!)
Calendic acid is considered an omega-6 fatty acid (meaning the first double bond is 6 from the end or omega) and is a known drying agent, so it's an astringent or dry oil.
It contains 0.3% to 0.8% flavonoids, which work as anti-oxidizing agents in the oil. The tocopherols offer skin softening and moisturizing as well as anti-oxidizing properties. Calendula oil contains carotenoids, the pre-cursors to Vitamin A. Carotenoids are free radical scavengers and behave as anti-oxidants on our skin. (The carotenoid gives calendula oil its yellow colour!)
Calendula oil offers anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and possible wound healing qualities. It can soothe inflamed and irritated skin, and helps regenerate new skin cells. It may also be anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, but it's not enough to preserve your products. There are some studies showing the CLnA in calendula oil may help with visible effects of photo-aging, but these are still preliminary studies.
If you're someone who has problems with red skin or acne, calendula may be a good choice for you. It's also a good choice for anyone wanting to increase the anti-oxidants in a product - the tocopherol level is very high and the carotenoids offer free radical scavenging - as well as the skin softening benefits of Vitamin E.
As calendula oil is made from infusing the petals of the flower into a carrier oil, the shelf life will vary. Those made with longer shelf life oils - like sweet almond oil - may have a shelf life up to 1 year. Those made with shorter shelf life oils - like sunflower oil - will have shelf lives as short as 6 months. Ask your supplier for their recommended shelf life.
Join me tomorrow for fun with camellia oil!