Friday, December 4, 2009

Sea buckthorn oil

If you arrived here via the Sea Buckthorn Insider, a company site masquerading as a newsletter, please note that they have stolen my written work without permission. I have written to them repeatedly, but they haven't responded or removed my work. I am not affiliated with this company in any way, and would encourage you to buy your sea buckthorn oil from a more scrupulous company. There are many great suppliers who sell sea buckthorn oil. 

Sea buckthorn oil is a weird oil indeed, filled with new and interesting fatty acids that are showing great benefits for our skin. There are two types of sea buckthorn oil - that from the pulp and that from the seed. Let's take a look at the pulp oil first...

The fatty acid profile for sea buckthorn berry oil is weird indeed, made up of about 35.5% palmitic acid (C16), 36.3% palmitoleic acid (C16:1), 1.1% stearic acid (C18), 10% or so oleic acid (C18:1), 12.4% linoleic acid (C18:2), 1.2% linolenic acid (C18:3), and 0.9% nervonic acid (C24:1).

Oils containing oleic acid are great for softening skin, regenerating skin cells, moisturizing, and behaving as an anti-inflammatory. Oils containing linoleic acid are good for helping to restore skin's barrier function and reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL), but what does palmitoleic acid do for our skin?

Palmitoleic acid is found in our skin's fatty acid profile and is a building block to prevent burns, wounds, and skin scratches as well as the most active anti-microbial in our sebum. It can be used on our skin to treat damaged skin and annoyed mucous membranes. Studies have shown it can prevent adhesion of Candida albicans (yeast) to pig skin, and one study showed it had the same effect on baby's bottoms!

Sea buckthorn oil is full of wonderful phytosterols! It contains up to 261 mg Vitamin E per 100 grams of oil. (I have seen it written it can be as high as 481 mg per 100 grams of oil, but around 250 mg seems to be the most reported amount of Vitamin E). The tocopherols and tocotrienols ensure a long life for this oil as well as wonderful free radical scavenging properties.

The main phytosterols found in this oil are cholesterol at 4.5 mg per 100 grams of oil, campesterol at 9 to 12 mg per 100 grams of oil, stigmasterol at 6 to 10 mg per 100 grams of oil, and B-sitosterol at 522 to 576 mg per 100 grams of oil. Stigmasterol and B-sitosterol both behave like cortisone, reducing redness and inflammation and soothing itchy skin.

The main polyphenols found in sea buckthorn oil are the flavonoids - carotenoids. It contains between 300 to 1000 mg per 100 grams of oil - it depends upon the extraction method. The carotenoids also behave as free radical scavengers and give the oil a really orange colour! These help increase the shelf life of the oil as well.

Studies are showing sea buckthorn seed and pulp oils hold great promise for treated burned, scalded, and radioactively damaged skin, with good healing and anti-inflammatory effects. It can reduce tissue inflammation and accelerate tissue regeneration for first, second, and third degree burns. A study confirmed its use as a treatment for inflammatory atopic dermatitis.

Sea buckthorn oil can be produced through pressing, CO2 extraction, and solvent extraction. Solvent extraction produces the most tocopherol and carotenoid content in the berry oil (527 mg per 100 grams carotenoids with petroleum/ether extract vs. 148 mg per 100 grams for CO2 extraction), while CO2 extraction is more effective for seed oil. The fatty acid profile changes only slightly depending upon extraction method, but it isn't statistically significant.

So what does this all mean for us? Sea buckthorn berry oil offers all kinds of amazing benefits - free radical scavenging, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, skin regenerating, moisturizing, softening, reducing water loss, and restoring barrier function. It is an expensive oil - 1 ounce can cost up to $18.00 - and I am surprised this isn't the new flavour of the month with the large cosmetic companies!

I use it at up to 10% in facial serums and speciality moisturizers. I would love to use it in more products, but it's simply too expensive. I have seen this oil used in hair care products - I'm not really sure why as it doesn't seem to offer a lot for hair, although it might be very good for an itchy scalp. It has a shelf life of about 1 year if kept in a cool, dark place. With a cost like this, I'd suggest freezing it in between uses and letting it thaw by coming to room temperature.

Sea buckthorn seed oil has a different fatty acid profile and contains fewer carotenoids but slightly more tocopherols than the berry oil. It contains more B-sitosterol than the berry oil, but no cholesterol or stigmasterol.

The seed oil contains 7.2% palmitic acid (C16), 2.4% stearic acid (C18), 13% oleic acid (C18:1), 35% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 37% linolenic acid (C18:3). This is a very different fatty acid profile than the berry oil as it contains no palmitoleic acid - so you're not getting the anti-microbial and wound healing properties - but much more linoleic acid - which is great for reducing transepidermal water loss and restoring barrier function - and more linolenic acid. This oil is more on par with something like soy bean or sunflower oil.

The carotenoids in the seed oil are about 22 mg per 100 grams of oil instead of the 300 to 1000 mg per 100 grams of oil from the berry oil. It is much lighter in colour, and has a shorter shelf life. Interestingly, it has about 273 mg Vitamin E per 100 grams of oil as compared to 261 mg per 100 grams of oil in the berry oil. Not a huge difference, really. Seed oil can contain up to 746 mg per 100 grams of oil B-sitosterol (compare to 522 to 576 mg per 100 grams of oil in berry oil). B-sitosterol behaves like cortison, offering a reduction in redness and inflammation, and soothing of itchy skin.

Its shelf life is shorter due to the increase in double bonds, so ensure you keep it in a cool dark place and add a little Vitamin E to the bottle when you get it. I haven't actually found a supplier that sells the seed oil, but make sure you get the one you want when you order!

Join me tomorrow for fun formulating with sea buckthorn berry oil!

I need to add in this post that you need to check the colour of your oil because it might be a dark orange colour. Test it on your skin before formulating with it because a dark coloured oil might stain very light skin. I wouldn't test it on your face - try it on your arm or leg or somewhere else. I honestly thought this was kind of obvious, but a few people chastised me for not noting it!  


ilona@israel said...

I didn't know anything about this natural ingredient until I started doing some research into natural skin care products. In fact, I don't think I had even heard of it until about a year ago. I am amazed at all the wonderful, natural ingredients that are available in so many natural skin care products.

Thanks for sharing...

Jacki said...

Susan, NDA carries a steam extraction of the seeds for $24.86 for 3.3 oz (US site).

Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

I can tell you the study about the pigs was right. I have an autoimmune disorder and sometimes have weird things happen to my skin. I had a fungal infection and decided to apply seabuckthorn oil to the affected skin. The next day the skin looked white and began to slough off. The day after that, I took a washcloth to the area and it scraped the fungus off my skin!!!!!!! I don't have a GCR system in my home to determine what type of organism this thing really was but say fungus because it happened in the past. The seabuckthorn oil seemed to create a layer over the affected skin and just grabbed all the bad stuff and kept the good stuff. My skin was not sore after the sloughing process and there was regenerated skin underneath; quite good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Interesting read about Seabuckthorn. Thanks
I used Weledas Sandhorn for a couple of days and was impressed with it's hydrating qualities.

Do you know what happened to the vitamin C content? I mean vit C is water soluble so is it still active by the time i recieve my order of sea buckthorn oil?

Please can you say your reference for your facts on this smazing berry?

Thanks a lot for your blog and reply.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. Vitamin C is water soluble, sea buckthorn oil is oil soluble, so there isn't a ton of Vitamin C in the product. As for my references, I have a number of them that I detail on the blog in a few different posts. Do a search for "textbook" or "references" and see what comes up! This is an older post and I didn't put my references on them back then: I do now. But I really don't have time to find them now in my notebooks.

Could you please leave your name in future on your comment? I have a policy of no anonymous comments, and in the next few weeks I'll be deleting anonymous comments without reading them.

Lea Beuchert said...

Thank you for shearing this!
I was wondering what your opinion was on using this for solid perfumes, I know its expensive..But I am still curious.Everyone seem to use jojoba oil. This sounds amazing, thank you for your wisdom.

Kindly Lea.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Lea. I have written this up in Monday's Long Weekend Wonderings. The short answer is that I wouldn't use an expensive oil in a solid perfume as there really isn't a point.

Mark said...

Susan, Do you know the HLB for Sea buckthorn oil?

Fi said...

Hi Susan, Firstly thankyou so very much for all of your invaluable insight into this world, it is so refreshing to find someone who writes with sound knowledge about these topics. I know this is an old post, but in case you get the chance to answer me, I have a couple of questions. Firstly given the profile of Sea Buckthorn, would you agree that it could be quite a good oil to try for someone who suffers from acne, mixed with another couple of higher linoleic oils? Also you mention freezing the oils. Would you think this would be okay to do with any of my oils to extend the shelf life. I have often thought of doing this but not been able to find out if it would adversely affect them. Many thanks again