Plant oils are made up of complex mixtures of different fatty acids (lipids). It is the specific mix and ratio of these fatty acids that determines the unique character of any oil. In addition to the main lipid fraction, there are also other very important bioactive substances such as the phospholipids, phosphatides, phytosterols, phytoestrogens, isoflavones and vitamins. These bioactives are known as the unsaponifiable fraction of the oil. They normally are present is small amounts and are unique signatures of the oils.
To demonstrate how the oil composition determines the difference in functional properties, the typical fatty acid profile of apricot kernel and borage oils are compared below.
1 - Apricot kernel oil is a mixture of 58 – 74% of oleic acid, 25 – 30% of linoleic, with the remainder 4 – 7% composed of palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic and alpha-linolenic acids. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 0.5 -0.75%.
2 - Borage oil is a mixture of 30 – 40% linoleic acid, 8 – 25% gamma linolenic acid, 15 – 20% oleic acid, 9 – 12% palmitic acid, 3 – 4% stearic acid, 2 – 6 % eicosenoic acid. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 1%.
Apricot kernel oil is a great nourishing and emollient oil that is easily absorbed. These properties are attribute to the high percentages of oleic and linoleic acids. Furthermore, apricot kernel oil is also an excellent source of vitamin A, present in the unsaponifiable matter.
Borage oil is known for its nourishing and penetrating properties attributed to the presence of linoleic and oleic acids, but in addition the high content of gamma-linolenic acid confers its regenerating and firming qualities.
The differences in the properties of apricot kernel and borage oils, as well as those of other oils not discussed here, demonstrate the importance to blend various plant oils for optimal skin care, so that the skin is adequately fed, continuously hydrated, smooth feeling and equipped to regenerate efficiently. These are essential to promote a healthy skin glow, regardless of age.
If you feel like your skin is crying out for some nourishment, and you don’t have a hydrating mask or serum on hand, try this at home – a beautiful ritual using an oil that is in everybody’s kitchen pantry.
The Olive Oil Nourishing Exfoliant
First, clean your skin using a non-harsh cleanser. Using a good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil and organic raw sugar, you are going to make a beautiful blend that will both exfoliate and nourish your skin; leaving your whole body soft and refreshed. This can be used on your face and your body, and is beautiful either after a shower (you will have to get back in to remove the excess sugar from your skin, however your skin should hold on to the oil) or used just on your face after cleansing.
In a bowl, combine ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil with ¼ cup organic raw cane sugar. Use on clean skin to exfoliate gently. The sugar should start to break down and your skin will drink in the olive oil. Rinse off any excess sugar and follow with your natural moisturiser, or as an extra nourishing treat use some more olive oil (or coconut oil if you have for a more pleasant aroma) as moisturiser.