For years, oil suffered an undeserved bad reputation, leading many people to exclude oils from their diet altogether. Most people didn’t want to use oils topically, either. The fact of the matter is, though, that not all oils are created equal, and certainly not all oils are bad. Quite the opposite, actually.
While there are some oils that you should avoid in your diet, oils do provide nutritional benefit and are therefore included in USDA recommendations for what to eat. To top it off, many oils supply beneficial elements to the skin when applied topically.
I’ve identified and purified a naturally occurring oil that benefits skin by reducing inflammation, wrinkling, and redness, with evidence of de-aging. The revolutionary key ingredient is sciadonic acid. But before we can get into its cutting edge attributes, we should first explore how oils, either topical or ingested, can be beneficial for your skin. Let’s take a look at why some of these oils work and what they do.
Oils Are Nothing New
The use of oils in skin care is nothing new. Oils have been used for centuries in a wide variety of ways, and play an important role in our health and wellness. Alongside honey, olive oil was used by the ancient Greeks to protect themselves from environmental stressors, and used in facial masks to promote a clearer complexion. Cleopatra, a legendary beauty herself, revered almond oil as a part of her beauty rituals. According to Judith Illes, an author who has extensively researched the practices of ancient Egyptians, they had access to and used over 20 different vegetable oils for a range of beauty purposes. Ancient Indians were keen on oil pulling (swishing specific oils in the mouth for 15-20 minutes) for dental hygiene. The list goes on and on.
What Is an Oil?
An oil is a chemical substance that is a thick liquid at room temperature. Oils preferentially mix with other oils, but resist mixing with water (they are hydrophobic). Oils have lots of carbon and hydrogen in their structures. They can be categorized as organic (produced by plants, animals, or other organisms through metabolic processes), or petrochemical (derived from crude oil and its refined components) including “mineral oil”. For our purposes, we will focus on organic oils.
Chemically speaking, oils are a type of lipid, giving them their ability to stay separated from water and a greasy feel. There are many types of lipids such as fatty acids, phospholipids, glycolipids, cholesterol, triglycerides, waxes, and steroids. Lipids are an essential part of your skin and support the skin’s barrier function.
Perhaps you are wondering about the difference between a “regular” oil and an essential oil? The difference is significant.
First, it’s important to note that an essential oil is not the same as an essential vitamin or essential fatty acid. Those two are essential to metabolic processes, but the body cannot make enough of them on it’s own, so it’s essential that you get them from your diet or topically. Fatty acids are termed essential when the human body cannot synthesize them at all. Such is the case with linoleic acid and alpha linolenic acid. Fatty acids are considered conditionally essential if the body cannot make adequate amounts.
Essential oils are not true oils. They’re highly concentrated hydrophobic liquids made up of volatile aromatic compounds extracted from the leaves, root, or flower of a plant. “Volatile” refers to the tendency of the substance to readily vaporize, quickly changing states from solid or liquid to a gas. The liquid contains the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which it’s derived, its essence. They’re divided into two distinct groups, based on their chemical structure, but all are polar in nature, meaning there is a separation of charge on the molecule. Most essential oils are extracted by distillation (usually with steam), expression, solvent extraction, or absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, or cold pressing.
Essential oils are widely popular for use in aromatherapy with emotional and physical wellness applications. Inhaling the aroma of essential oils can stimulate areas of your limbic system, which is the part of the brain that plays a role in emotions, behaviors, sense of smell, and long-term memory. It’s also involved in controlling some unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. Some people believe that essential oils exert a physical effect on those systems of the body.
Fatty oils or fixed oils are not volatile; they don’t evaporate on warming, and have a different makeup from essential oils. Glycerides (tri-, di-, and mono-) render them non-polar in nature. Their lack of volatility means they leave behind a stain. Fixed oils can be obtained by expression or extraction and are typically derived from nuts, seeds, kernels, and other types of fatty plant tissues.
These oils can be ingested, used as carriers for another important ingredient, or be the primary effective ingredient, itself. Many of these oils have been shown to have beneficial effects for the skin when applied topically, including nourishing, anti-aging, and rash-tempering properties.
DELTA-5 was developed for people suffering from dry, flaky, and inflamed skin. The key ingredient, sciadonic acid (SCA), is a type of fatty acid that has demonstrated positive results in the reduction of skin inflammation, wrinkling, and redness. The oils in DELTA-5 are derived from very specific conifer seeds that are processed to provide the highest level of sciadonic acid commercially available, formulated into a high-grade stable cosmetic oil.