Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Carrot tissue oil

Carrot tissue oil - INCI Helianthus annus (and) beta-carotene - should not be confused with carrot seed oil, an essential oil. The carrot tissue oil is beta carotene infused into sunflower oil, so we get all the goodness of carrot tissue oil with the awesome power of sunflower oil!

Pure carrot tissue oil contains about 16% palmitic acid (C16), 1.8% stearic acid (C18), 11.6% C18:1 fatty acids (more below on this), 60% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 4.9% linolenic acid. The C18:1 fatty acid isn't all oleic acid - up to 73% of the C18:1 is in fact petroselinic or 6-octadecenoic acid, which has the double bond on the 6th carbon from the end (making it an omega-6 molecule), as opposed to oleic acid (9-octadecenoic acid), which is an omega-9 molecule with the double bond on the 9th carbon from the end. So what's the big deal? The melting point of petroselinic acid is 33˚ C versus oleic acid's 12˚ C melting point, so this is a thicker oil than something with a similar amount of oleic acid. (It's also thicker because of all that wonderful palmitic acid!)

How much ß-carotene is in carrot tissue oil? I have no idea. I have searched and read and searched some more, but no one will tell me how much carrot tissue oil is infused in the sunflower oil or how much ß-carotene is in this oil. I'm going to guess there's a least a bit in there due to the bright orange colour, but I can't give you any hard figures.

ß-carotene is a great anti-oxidant that offers photo-protective benefits and can behave as a precursor to Vitamin A. Vitamin A can help improve skin's barrier functions, increase cell proliferation and thickening of the skin, and increase collagen production.

The linoleic acid contained in the sunflower oil helps to improve skin's barrier function and prevent transepidermal water loss. The oleic acid offers skin softening and moisturizing, as well as anti-inflammatory properties.

Carrot tissue oil is a medium weight, bright orange oil, with a 12 months shelf life, and it can be used for colouring soaps and other bath and body products. You don't want to use too much - urban legend has it you could make your skin a little darker! - so 2 to 5% in a leave in product will be enough. ß-carotene and Vitamin A can be irritants to sensitive skin, so try it if you are in doubt.

Some people enjoy using carrot tissue oil in a facial serum (dry skin here, oily skin here) to get the maximum goodness of the ß-carotene and Vitamin A. Similarly, it's good in a facial moisturizer for the same reasons!

Join me later today for a downloadable Christmas treat!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the useful info :-)

ASlowRise said...

Thanks for this brilliantly informative post! I fell in love with a facial oil that included carrot tissue but it was £75 for 30ml and I knew I could probably make something similar myself. The carrot tissue oil I bought today is startlingly bright, but I'm excited to see if I love the results as much.