18 May 2009

Avocado Oil

We hear a lot about the benefits of this oil or that oil in personal care products. One such oil that I have noticed popping up lately is avocado (Persea americana). So what's good about avocado, besides being delicious in salad or guacamole? Avocado oil is similar to olive oil in that it is not derived from the seed; rather, it is pressed from the flesh around the pit - and strictly speaking it is a fruit oil, very thin and therefore deep penetrating. It is a rich emollient with high concentrations of oleic, linoleic and alpha-linolenic fatty acids. There are many claims that it is also very rich in potassium, vitamins A, B6, C, D, E and K among others. This does not seem to be entirely truthful and much depends upon how the oil is extracted. It certainly does contain A and E as investigated by Bastista et al. Regretfully, many natural cosmetics companies have used avocado data interchangeably with that of avocado oil - there is a difference.

Extra virgin avocado oil is cold pressed (non-virgin being heat and solvent extracted) - which means that the avocado is mechanically pulverised, the resulting constituents decanted and centrifuged. This should leave you with a green coloured oil, because of the remaining chlorophyll. Unfortunately, this sometimes undergoes the refined bleached and deodorised (RBD) process which removes natural peroxides and chlorophyll, leaving a highly stable, but tasteless and pale yellow oil. This is usually done through the use of solvents and high temperatures. Do you know how that avocado oil, that you are using in your cosmetics or on your salad, is processed? Are the benefits still there?

In my opinion, besides the incredible moisturising value of avocado oil, the two most exciting properties are those of the unsaponifiable components and glutathione. Unsaponifiable constituents seem to inhibit lysyl oxidase activity and thus cross-linking in collagen - resulting in better skin tone, texture and strength. Glutathione, an amino acid with incredible anti-oxidant properties recharges spent vitamins C and E, neutralises free-radicals, is critical to the immune system and even assists in DNA repair. Unfortunately, glutathione levels decrease as we age. Thus, since your skin is a huge sponge, what better to moisturise with than avocado oil, and at the same time reap these added benefits.


Batista Cedeño, A., et al (Persea americana, M). Valor nutricional y composición. Alimentaria, 1993; 63: 63-69.


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