Emu are flightless birds native to Australia. We get Emu Oil from the bird’s body fat. In that respect, it is similar to tallow and lard. But it has a very different appeal to cosmetics makers.
While tallow and lard are used predominantly in soap making, Emu Oil is widely used in lotions, creams, and salves. It has a reputation for being great for dry skin, and its fatty acid profile helps it penetrate the skin. This quality makes it a good vehicle for applications of other things like extracts.
Emu Oil’s fatty acid profile is a bit of a moving target, as it can vary widely from batch to batch. On average, it contains about 22% palmitic acid, 3.5% palmitoleic acid, 9.6% stearic acid, 47.4% oleic acid, 15.2% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 0.9% linolenic acid.
Since it contains the most oleic acid, let’s look at what that does for us. Oleic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory and is a good skin softener. It also helps regenerate skin cells. When you add up these benefits, you can expect Emu Oil, with it’s higher concentration of oleic acid, to be an effective moisturizer and offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
Palmitic acid is also high in Emu Oil. It is a fatty acid that acts as an emollient, cleansing agent, and texture enhancer in skincare and cosmetics products. It is the most common fatty acid found in plants, animals, and microorganisms. Palmitic acid is naturally found in the human body, even in the skin, so having it present in a skin care application is a good thing.
Oils containing linoleic acid are good for helping to restore skin’s barrier function and reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This is very important, especially in cold, dry climates.
After learning about the fatty acid profile of Emu Oil, I think it would be a superior oil to use in every skin care application. Join me tomorrow as I focus on Emu Oil in a moisturizing lotion. Next week, I’ll work on a salve featuring Emu Oil.