This article describes four natural ingredients, that when combined, result in a non-greasy formula that moisturizes skin, nails, hair and may be used to remove makeup. Most of the ingredients, except one, have been around and well known for centuries. Each makes a contribution to a unique oil with many beneficial skin and health qualities.
Squalene (research with Squalene just started in the early 1900s in Japan, unlike the other three ingredients which have been used, studied and tested for centuries) is an oil derived from several sources. The most interesting source is extraction from the liver of deep sea sharks living in ocean waters from 600 to 1,000 Meters (about 1,970 feet to 3,280 feet) deep. At that depth, there is little, to no sunlight, extreme pressure and low oxygen supply. Their success at living and thriving at that depth results from their livers, which account for nearly one quarter of their total body weight. These deep sea sharks, among other things, were found to be immune to cancer and some other disease which is surprising when they live at levels in the ocean with such poor oxygen content in the water.
In the early 1900’s, Japanese researchers discovered the initial benefits of shark liver extract and started testing some applications. From a chemical standpoint, Squalene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon, which combined with water produces oxygen. As an oxygen carrier, Squalene plays a key role in maintaining health. Another source of Squalene is Olive Oil. Researchers have validated for decades the positive health effects of Olive Oil. There are documented results of the decreased incidence of internal cancers in cultures with diets high in olive oil.
Recent studies have identified Squalene as a natural protective agent in human sebum. Sebum is the normal lubricant of hairy and non-hairy skin. It keeps the skin supple and forms a protective bacterial and fungicidal coating on the skin which helps to keep moisture on the skin surface. These findings promotes the use of Squalene in dermatological applications. Squalene has proven to be beneficial in application of topical healing medications. It readily compounds with other ingredients and increases the rate of penetration of the squalene/medication compound through the epidermis.
Lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool. In its pure form, it is a wax with a variety of different uses, both industrial and medical. For this writing we will not get into the industrial uses but rather the uses of medical grade lanolin. It has been used for centuries in a cream form for smoothing the skin. It is a hpyoallergenic and bacteriostatick. Lanolin as a salve, is well known and used worldwide by breast feeding mothers on sore and cracked nipples. In addition, it has proven benefits as a balm for chapped lips, treating diaper rash, moisturizing dry and itchy skin, softening calluses, treating hair, treating minor cuts, sunburns, and abrasions.
Lanolin, like Squalene is easily absorbed through the skin. This feature provides quick action by the medicinal properties inherent to lanolin. Lanolin in some form or another, has been used for health and beauty treatments since herders first learned how to press it from sheep’s wool.
Castor Oil is extracted from the castor bean. The beans are grown predominately in India, Brazil and China. Castor Oil is noted for its medicinal benefits as well. It also is used as a chemical feedstock or additive that combines easily with other ingredients and does not lose its medicinal qualities. Used on the skin, it penetrates quickly and deeply due to its molecular weight. This allows components of castor oil to be used in skin conditioners, shampoos, lipsticks and lip balms. Additional uses include it as a anti-inflammatory agent, pain reliever during ultrasound, in prescription anti-fungal creams, chemotherapy and more. Castor oil is so widely used, that there is a strong global commodity market based on its sells and distribution.
Vitamin E is the fourth ingredient of our mixture. Vitamin E is the collective name for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities. Antioxidants protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals damage cells and might contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Our bodies are exposed to free radicals via the environment we live in, i.e. cigarette smoke, air pollution, UV radiation from the sun and others.
Numerous foods provide vitamin E in its natural form including nuts, seed, vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals. Its success with free radicals and ease of combining with other ingredients makes it a natural for a topical skin oil.