Seabuckthorn Oil – how and why it does what it does.
I recently bought some pills from the internet which is quite unlike me as I’m not much of a pill taker – especially pills that I know little about. However these just caught my eye:
Being ‘old school’ trained in cosmetic science (Before everything turned natural of which I am grateful, occasionally skeptical but grateful) I find myself often lacking in-depth of knowledge about some of these natural superheros. Product knowledge that my customers take in their stride as they wax lyrical about the benefits of one or another new exotic oil, extract or plant. Me? Well I just have to go back to basics and research the bejesus out of it to work out if it is something I should be slapping on or lapping up.
Turns out that Seabuckthorn does cut the mustard.
Here are some facts that I found on my journey to enlightenment:
- Seabuckthorn Oil comes from the Hippophae Rhamnoides plant which is native to the mountains of China and Russia where it thrives in sandy soil.
- The fresh fruit is a rich source of vitamins C and E, Folic Acid, Carotenoids, Flavonoids and fatty acids.
- Omega-7 essential fatty acid is found in abundance in the fruit but only in small quantities in the oil. This EFA is the miracle skin-healing and cellular regeneration active and so if that’s what you want, get yourself some of the fruit extract!
- The Flavonoids are the bits most used medically and are similar to those found in Ginko Biloba. These are the components that help the skin to fight UV damage, well these plus the antioxidants and carotenoids which I’ll mention next. This is a really good article about how natural additives can help boost our UV protection but just be careful not to extrapolate figures for internal consumption to direct application. Having worked in and around the natural sunscreen arena for a number of years now I can safely say that rubbing Seabuckthorn onto your skin is no substitute for your SPF 30 plus and as a topically applied sunscreen it doesn’t measure up in the lab under normal test conditions. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work but it does mean that it isn’t a ‘sunscreen’ as we know it.
- Antioxidants found in both the oil and the fruit pulp are excellent skin care additives as it is free radical damage from pollution, UV radiation and sub-optimal health that sees us ageing faster than our genes would hope for. Vitamin E is the most abundant in the oil and C in the pulp – most vitamin C is water-soluble which is why you are best using the extract over the oil for a C boost.
- carotenoids are what makes this oil a lovely yellow/orange colour. They are also what helps boost the oils healing quota although you really have to eat it to get the most benefit in this regard. carotenoids act as anti-inflammatories and have also been shown to help boost skin thickness and barrier function (which would all help with boosting our natural SPF). If you want carotenoids but can’t get hold of Seabuckthorn then try eating Carrots, Pumpkin, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Spinach, Red Pepper, Oranges or Kale.
My tablets are a mixture of the pulp and the oil and apparently two per day are enough to have my cells singing with joy. Being as though I can see no reason why I shouldn’t take them I think I will!
So, my advice to all Seabuckthorn admirers or wannabe-users is go for it but be aware of what it can and can’t do and make sure you understand how to achieve those seductively ‘cure all’ results or risk wasting this precious natural resource.
Seabuckthorn oil rubbed into the skin is only part of the story. For the rest you have to dig a little deeper and maybe find yourself an edible stash to nibble.
Isn’t nature wonderful!
More useful links for you: