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Oils and butters used in skincare formulations

How to choose the correct oils or butters to be used in a skin care product

When it comes to formulating skincare products, the choice of vegetable oils and butters is a critical factor. These ingredients, primarily composed of triglycerides (glycerol and fatty acid ester derivatives) and unsaponifiable matter, play a vital role in determining the efficacy of skincare formulations. Understanding the composition of fatty acids within these oils and butters is essential, as it significantly influences their therapeutic and cosmetic benefits.

The benefits of fatty acid breakdown

Fatty acids present in oils and butters can be broadly categorised into saturated and unsaturated types, with the latter further divided into mono- and polyunsaturated varieties. Each type of fatty acid offers unique benefits:

  • Monounsaturated fatty acids (Omega 7 and 9): Known for their antimicrobial properties.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids (Omega 3 and 6): Offer anti-inflammatory and regenerative effects.
  • Specific fatty acids, such as lauric, myristic and palmitic acids, exhibit antimicrobial properties. Stearic acid contributes to antiviral and anti-inflammatory benefits. Palmitoleic acid combines antimicrobial effects with penetration enhancement capabilities, while Oleic acid offers antimicrobial benefits, regenerative effects and acts as a penetration enhancer. The impact of Erucic acid is yet to be fully understood.

Considerations when choosing the right oil or butter

The composition of oils and butters varies significantly, making it crucial to select them based on specific considerations. Skin condition, the ratio of oleic acid to linoleic acid, penetration ability, occlusivity, hydration effects and irritation potential all play pivotal roles in the decision-making process. Additionally, understanding how the product will be used is equally important, as it directly influences the overall effectiveness and results.

Reference: Poljšak N, Kočevar Glavač N. Vegetable Butters and Oils as Therapeutically and Cosmetically Active Ingredients for Dermal Use: A Review of Clinical Studies. Front Pharmacol. 2022 Apr 25;13:868461. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2022.868461. PMID: 35548366; PMCID: PMC9083541

Hydration and TEWL reduction: A spotlight on key oils

Certain oils stand out for their remarkable hydrating properties and the ability to reduce Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL). Olive, coconut and sunflower oils have demonstrated excellent performance in this regard. Other widely used oils renowned for their skincare benefits include Argan, Soybean, Almond, Avocado, Apricot Kernel, Grapeseed, Jojoba, Rosehip, Sea Buckthorn and Marula oil. Additionally, Shea and Cocoa butter remain enduring consumer favourites.

Discover a range of oils and butters with Prod’Hyg

For an extensive selection of high-quality oils and butters, Prod’Hyg stands out as a reliable source. Carst & Walker United Kingdom & Ireland can provide further information on the diverse range of offerings. Explore the world of skincare formulation with confidence and expertise.