In the 16th century a Spanish Franciscan missionary in South America, historian and linguist Bernardino de Sahagun noted that the aztecs used avocado fruit to treat dandruff, scabs and dry skin, and massaged it into their joints to ease the pain. The fruit is literally soaked in oil, and the composition of the oil is very different from that of seed oils frequently used as foundations for many cosmetic solutions. Most of the fatty acids in the avocado’s pulp are saturated ones—myristinic, palmitinic, stearic, and arachic acids. The unsaturated acids in avocado are oleic, linoleic, linolenic and arachidonic acids. The balance of saturated and unsaturated acids in an avocado is quite unusual—6.7 to 3.7, meaning that the fruit contains almost twice as much saturated acid than unsaturated.
Avocado contains more vitamins and minerals than most other vegetables and fruit.
Its pulp is rich in magnesium, potassium, silicon and phosphorus. An average sized avocado can provide your daily dose of vitamins C, A, E and D. Besides these, an avocado contains vitamin K and a lot of B vitamins—not just the B1 and B2, but also the less frequently met B3 (niacin), biotin and B5 (pantothenic acid).
Avocado oil penetrates the skin easily, because its fatty acid complex is very similar to that of the healthy skin’s protective mantle.
The fatty acids deficiency disturbs the skin’s regeneration and even slows down the DNA synthesis, leading to dryness, flaking and overall skin damage. An avocado’s fatty acids soften the skin’s upper levels, dissolve in their own lipids restoring the skin’s barrier functions. Phytosterols and vitamin E help restore the membranes of the epidermis cells and reestablish the DNA synthesis.
Vitamin A, that avocado’s so rich in, is essential to maintain beautiful youthful skin. The ageing skin’s epidermis becomes thinner, the energetic potential of the cells drops, and the skin’s regeneration slows down along with many other undesired changes. It has been scientifically proven that these changes can be reversed and the skin’s thickness and regenerating ability can be restored with vitamin A.
Avocado oil has an anti-oxidant effect as well: liposoluble vitamins in it bind free radicals, thus helping protect the skin from stress and slow the ageing process.
Until recently the avocado has been considered merely a great cosmetic component for the skin’s nutrition and renewal. However, a new ingredient with an almost opposite effect has been extracted from avocado oil by biotechnological processing. It is called avocutine or Butyl Avocadate. Its chemical type is a fatty acid ether and it can suppress the synthesis of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. This enzyme is especially abundant in the skin prone to acne or suffering from seborrhoea oleosa and the only sure way to reduce it used to be applying retinol. But avocutine, as it has been discovered, can suppress its synthesis just as effectively without the side effects and counter indications of retinol and its derivatives.
A 3% avocutine solution reduces the oiliness of head and facial skin by 30% after only 2 weeks of use.
Avocutine is a perfect example of a natural, extracted with biotechnology ingredient rivalling the most efficient, chemically synthesised ones.
- Avocutine. INCI: Butyl Avocadate
Excerpt from “The Science of Beauty” by Dr Tiina Meder
© Dr Tiina Meder
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