Monday, October 28, 2013

Oils: Cherry kernel oil

I just found this in Voyageur and thought I'd try it out in my products as sweet cherry just sounds so lovely, doesn't it? So what's the deal? How does it feel on our skin? What does it bring to a product?

Cherry kernel oil contains a balance of fatty acids with about 46.0% oleic (18:1) acid and 41.6% linoleic (18:2) fatty acid, with the rest found as palmitic acid (16:0) at 8.6% and 2.86 stearic acid (18:0). One study found 9.9% to 13.2% eleostearic acid (C18:3), trace amounts to 1.3% arachadic acid (C20:0), and trace amounts to 0.5% alpha-eicosenoic acid, depending upon the cherry tree variation.

Note that this study didn't indicate it had much eicosenoic acid - a trace - or that much eleostearic or alpha-eicosenoic acid. Variations in our oils is completely normal, which is one of the reasons formulators interested in extreme levels of consistency use things like mineral oil or standardized ingredients. One batch could be higher in oleic acid than another thanks to the climate, the method of extraction, and so on. 

What's the deal with eleostearic acid, as it seems there's quite a bit in cherry kernel oil? Also known as octadecatrienoic acid, it's an 18:3 fatty acid, like linolenic acid, with three double bonds, meaning it will go rancid quickly. It is reported to be a good UV absorber. It offers a feeling of dryness to the oil, which we can see when we put cherry kernel oil on our skin.

This doesn't mean you can use cherry kernel oil as a sunscreen! 

What about eicosenoic acid? We've encountered this before as it's also called gadoleic acid. It's found in pomegranate, jojoba, borage, and peanut oils, as well as lard in small amounts. I can't find anything about why we would want to use it on our skin, but it is a neat long chain unsaturated fatty acid we find in these unique oils.

And what about arachadic oil? It's known as C20:0. I can't find much about how it might work with our skin.

It's high in unsaponifiables (phytosterols) at 3.12%, with about 97% of that in the form of ß-sitosterol at 3000 ppm and and the rest mostly as campesterol (about 3%). It's iodine value is 116 and its saponification number is 198.

It is supposed to be high in tocopherols (Vitamin E) and Vitamin A, and I found one reference that indicated it should be 3000 parts per million (ppm). To put this into perspective, cranberry oil and hazelnut oil has about 1400 parts per million, mg per 100 grams, sea buckthorn oil could have as high as 2600 ppm, while rice bran oil has about 400 ppm and sesame oil up to 1000 ppm.

As for Vitamin A, I haven't found anything yet.

It reminds me of sesame seed oil or rice bran oil with the balance of fatty acids, but I found it to be a little lighter feeling and a bit drier. It has a bit of an odour, reminding me of evening primrose oil, and it's a light yellow colour that doesn't really impart much colour to our products. The high levels of phytosterols means it should be good for reducing inflammation, irtiation, and redness, which is always a good thing. It should be a good moisturizing and softening oil, thanks to all that oleic acid and Vitamin E, and it should offer some good skin barrier mechanism repair thanks to the linoleic acid. It's not an expensive oil - Voyageur Soap & Candle has it for $6.95 for 250 ml/8.4 ounces, From Nature With Love has it for $18.00 for 8 ounces, and Gracefruit has it for 3.49 GBP for 250 m/8.4 ouncesl. It's a little more than sweet almond oil or apricot kernel, a little less than macadamia nut oil, a little less than half the price of camellia seed oil, and 46% the price of hazelnut oil.

If you normally use grapeseed oil, this would be a great substitute with its light and dry feeling and one year shelf life. I'm planning on using it as a substitute for macadamia nut and hazelnut oils in upcoming products.

INCI: Prunus avium (sweet cherry) seed oil
One year shelf life.
Specific gravity: 0.9419
Iodine value: 116
Saponification number: 198

Want to know more? Click here for a study on this interesting new seed oil!

Can I be honest here? I ran into page after page of "it is known", which is frustrating. Searches on the web and at school in the EBSCO data base turned up exactly four references - one book and three studies - one of which wasn't relevant, and one of which wasn't all about the Prunus avium (sweet cherry) oil. I shouldn't be seeing quotes from the Dothrakis (Game of Thrones) in my suppliers' listings. (It is known moon is no egg. It is wife of sun!) But there it was. What really is known about this oil? Quite a bit, but I still can't figure out where the Vitamin A information arose. If you have anything, please send it along. Please send along only studies or things of that nature - I think I've seen every suppliers' page on the web! 


Clara said...

Just found your blog and what a wealth of information it is. Now you've got me researching where the vitamin A comes from. If I find out, I'll be back.

Robert said...

A google search under 'prunus avium carotinoids' shows the reference:

Determination of carotenoid, organic acid and sugar content in some sweet cherry cultivars

Is there a prize for this?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Robert. I wasn't planning on a prize, but I could find something I'm sure. But this study appears to be about the sweet cherry fruit, not the kernel. I have encountered many studies on the fruit, but only two on the kernel, and one of those was on the sweet cherry kernel, the other on the sour. The sour one gave information on Vitamin A, but the other one didn't. Hence the search...

Robert said...

The prize, if any, could be an extra donation to your favorite charity.

Very likely due to the lower commercial value of the cherry kernel oil (versus the fruit) and the difficulty and expense in determining carotenoid composition there has not been a specific study determining the carotenoid composition (precursors to vitamin A also known as provitamin A) of the cherry kernel oil.
I would be confident in the statement that the yellow color of the cherry kernel oil is derived from yellow pigmented carotenoids. As for the amount, one can’t speculate.

Lisa said...

Hi Susan, I love your blog. It's very help to a diy-er. I couldn't find your blog post on different oils, but I was reading your pdfs on different oils. I have this one question that I can't really answer. I've researched everywhere, and I've got nothing. The question is what determines the comedogenicity of certain oils? I've read that oils with higher linoleic acid content are lower in comedogenicity than oils with high oleic acid. Then, I found conflicting information because wheat germ oil has an abundent amount of linoleic acid, but it has a comedogenicity rating of 4. Rosehip oil have both linoleic acid and GLA. Both of these fatty acids claim to help acne, but it can potentially aggravate acne. Why is that? I also read some oils are irritating, which is why they clog pores and aggravate acne.

Unknown said...

Hi Susan
Love your site and kudos for the volunteer work you do.
I read the study you linked on cherry kernel oil and I noticed you gave an amount for beta sitosterol in cherry kernel oil of 3000 ppm. Was this a figure you got from your linked study or somewhere else? All your other data seems to come from this paper. Did I miss something? Thanks, Lauren

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Lauren! Sorry, but I can't find the other references I used for this post right now. I would have obtained that number from some reference - I wouldn't have made it up on the spot! - but which one? I will have a look at EBSCO host later today and see if I can find it there.

Ashley Geren said...

Hi! I was wondering if the cherry kernel oil has a scent? I've read that cherry, apricot, peach, and other kernel oils smell like almonds, and I am trying to find out which one has the strongest scent.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Ashley! I'm posing your question to the readers in today's Weekend Wonderings. I have to be honest - I hate the smell. It's got an almost rancid smell to it for me.