Native to Central and South America the Avocado is now cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. With a range of common names including alligator pear, summer pear, aguacate and palta this member of the Laurel family also has two botanical names, Persea americana (preferred) and Persea gratissima (deprecated) both of which refer to the same tree and oil product.
Avocado oil is obtained from the cold press of the fruit pulp, which is rich in vitamins, minerals and nutrients. But it is also rich in essential fatty acids (like oleic acid) and carotenoids.
It is a heavy oil, deep green when unrefined, yellow when refined and often used as a carrier oil, sometimes blended with other carrier oils such as grapeseed or light almond oil to alleviate its heaviness when used in massage.
It makes an excellent carrier oil because of the high fat content which means it is not prone to evaporate and unlike other oils will keep well over a year if stored in a cool dark place.
Characteristics and Use
Avocado Oil has a strong fresh, sweet and nutty aroma and is rich in nutrients and contains:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8 and B9
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
But key to the oil’s properties is the high amounts of monounsaturated acids it contains: it has Omega 3, 6 and 9, plus vitamin E and potassium in abundance.
Although often compared to Olive Oil, Avocado oil is completely different in properties, comprising 75% fat and almost all of which is oleic acid.
Avocado Oil contains:
- 14% polyunsaturated fatty acids. This PUFA content is too low to pose any health threats.
- And 16% saturated fatty acids.
Oleic acid is a type of Omega 9 fatty acid and is a very good monounsaturated oil for the skin and hair. It eases inflammation and suppresses microbial infections. Because of its high oleic acid content Avocado oil is a useful preventative for both dry skin and Eczema but it also promotes faster healing of scabbing that can result from Exzema. But care needs to be taken—the oil is readily absorbed and too much Omega 9 can result in a dangerous imbalance of essential fatty acids.
As a carrier Avocado oil has several important advantages. Vitamins A, C and E comprise very powerful antioxidants and hence the oil is very good at countering Free Radicals.
Protecting Skin and Preventing Damage
Avocado Oil offers several benefits for the skin:
- Restoring its elasticity and protects sensitive or fragile skin.
- Regenerates and restructures skin tissue, protecting it against premature ageing effects.
- Moisturises the skin to depth and strengthens the protective barrier of the skin protecting it from pollutants, caustic materials and other external irritants. Avocado Oil is also an excellent moisturiser and will nourish the skin at the same time as offering protection against wind, sun, UV rays, cold, and extreme heat.
- Soothes and calms inflammations and eases mild pain.
- Eases and minimises the visibility of stretch marks.
Many skin care practitioners believe avocado oil to be particularly good in delaying the effect of skin ageing as a result of high levels of sterolins it contains. Sterolins reduce ageing scars, prevent wrinkles, lighten dark spots and scars and also cures sun damage and are particularly concentrated in unrefined avocado oil.
In addition to skincare avocado oil is an excellent hair treatment adding sheen and strength shine and is an excellent conditioner.Tags: avocado oils carrier oil