Saturday, November 21, 2009

Borage oil

Much like our friend evening primrose oil, borage oil contains a lot of GLA, more, in fact, than any other oil we can find on our suppliers' shelves. With 4% palmitic acid (C16), 11% stearic acid (C18), 17% oleic acid (C18:1), 36% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 23% GLA (C18:3), borage oil offers us a well balanced speciality oil to be used at up to 20% in our creations.

The stearic acid in borage oil can help with moisture retention, flexibility of the skin, and skin repair. The oleic acid offers moisturizing, cell regenerating, and softening to our skin. And the linoleic acid will help restore barrier function of our skin, and acts as an anti-inflammatory that can soothe dry skin and itchiness. GLA helps with inflamed skin, and helps restore barrier function faster than linoleic acid.

Studies have shown that 20% borage oil can help with reducing redness, and animal studies have shown borage oil is more effective than evening primrose oil in reversing epidermal hyperproliferation and increasing ceramide synthesis in guinea pigs. (Epidermal hyperproliferation is when our skin cells generate too quickly!) Unlike evening primrose oil, borage has not been shown to be effective for eczema.

Borage oil contains a few other fatty acids with 4% gadoleic acid (C20:1), 2% erucic acid (C22:1), and 2% nervonic acid (C24:1).

The main polyphenolic found in borage oil is ferulic acid (which you might remember from rice bran oil), which makes up about 50% of the total phenolic content. Ferulic acid is a very effective anti-oxidant, more powerful than Vitamin E, that can prevent skin aging, reducing age spots, and helps repair light and radiation induced damage. It penetrates skin to soften and moisturize, soothes wind chapped and sun burned skin, and reduces itching and inflammation. The tannins found in borage oil make it a more astringent oil than something like sunflower oil, so borage oil will feel a bit drier on our skin.

Borage oil contains about 400 ppm tocopherols, which, combined with the anti-oxidant ferulic acid gives borage oil a shelf life of about 6 months. You can increase this time by adding Vitamin E or chelating ingredients to your products.

Borage oil makes a great addition to your facial moisturizers or lotions intended for the winter months to help with dry, chapped, or inflamed skin. You can add it to a facial serum (again, this is coming up) or use it in something like an after bath oil spray. Use at up to 20% - the only reason we don't use it at higher levels is due to the cost!

Have fun formulating!


Motherhues said...

Hi! I bought some borage oil back in February and poured some for a friend and promptly put the rest tightly capped in the refrigerator... do you think it would still be good for use? I don't plan on selling it so I am not worried on that end, but I don't want to throw it away if its ok...
eeek. I really wanted that stuff! How did I forget about it???

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Mothehues! If you've kept it in the fridge, it's probably still okay. Make sure you put a date on your creation so you know not to keep it another year or so, and add 0.5% Vitamin E to prevent further oxidation! Have fun - this is a really nice oil!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Bankcdrates! Evening primrose oil and borage oil each have their own benefits - it depends on what you want for your skin - what are you looking for in a product? If you want maximum GLA in your creations or want to treat atopic dermatitis, then borage oil is a great choice! If your concern is wound healing or higher anti-oxidizing power, then evening primrose is an awesome choice.

I really like both oils - it's hard to choose between them some times!

Anonymous said...

Hi Susan,
Could oils be used at 100%? If I wanted to blend a face oil, would I need to respect the 20% you mention in your article? If so, how do I determine usage for different oils?
Thank you,

Chloƫ W said...

I just read about borage oil from some other sources and sounds like it could be a really great oil for a belly balm for pregnancy due to all the benefits you also mention! Do you know anything about whether it could be contraindicated in pregnancy or if there are any other good oils that are supposed to be good for stretch marks (besides rosehip, which is the classic one) - I've heard that basically all that matters for (possibly) avoiding stretch marks is a high quantity of Vitamin E.