If there are misconceptions in any area of skin care right now, it is with beauty facial oils.
Some beauty experts tout the idea that oils can combat dryness (true), protect the skin (somewhat true), and draw out sebum (only true if the oil is used as a cleanser). Still others claim that oils are mostly natural and hence better for the skin than synthetic ingredients. Yet, despite our pervasive belief that “natural must surely be better,” this is not true. Keep in mind that poison ivy and arsenic are natural, as is rosemary, which may be overstimulating in medicinal doses for women during pregnancy (American Pregnancy Association), and limonene, which is known to cause contact dermatitis when applied to the skin (Contact Dermatitis, 2006, Contact Dermatitis, 1992).
Still, I can’t fight the market forever. And just as there are great synthetic products and not-so-great synthetic products, so there is with natural products. I’ve recently started a search for natural products for my readers, and I stumbled across Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil ($46.00, Amazon.com). Unlike many of the popular beauty oils that are ridden with limonene and rich oils like lanolin, Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil seems to only provide benefits. For more, read on.
Camellia Japonica Seed Oil
Though not a related facial treatment, Victoria Beckham made Elemis Japanese Camellia Oil super famous when she claimed the pure Camellia japonica seed oil prevented her from getting stretch marks through each of her four pregnancies. Ms. Beckham may be onto something: a 2007 study in Ethnobiology found that camellia oil increases collagen production within the skin and promotes hydration.
When used on the face, this means that regular use of Camellia japonica seed oil may keep skin firmer over time. Specifically in the aforementioned study, camellia oil was found to stimulate collagen production by activating a gene promoter in human skin cells called COL1A2, which starts the production of a certain type of collagen (type I). Camellia oil was also found to prevent the breakdown of collagen by inhibiting matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1, an enzyme that breaks down collagen.
Add in the fact that camellia oil-treated skin had less transepidermal water loss (TEWL) than non-treated skin 1-2 hours after treatment, and you’ve got yourself a quality facial oil.
Unlike many oils, olive oil doesn’t attract the sun. In fact, olive oil protects skin from damaging UV rays (Toxicology, 2003).
Olive oil has been long believed to have anti-cancer properties. While it has been proposed in the journal The Lancet Oncology that olive oil may protect against cancer because it contains three classes of protective polyphenols, it was proposed by other scientists that olive oil has anti-carcinogenic properties due to its natural inclusion of squalene.
Whatever the case, olive oil isn’t without its detriments. If you have eczema, avoid use of Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil and all other olive oil-containing products: it causes a contact dermatitis-associated rash in some patients with eczema, particularly of the lower extremities (Contact Dermatitis, 2007).
Cosmetic-Grade Sunflower Seed Oil
Sunflower seed oil is an emollient and occlusive agent that does not clog the pores. The secret to its efficacy? Approximately 60% linoleic acid, which hydrates as it is both incorporated into skin lipids and prevents water loss from the hair. Sunflower seed oil has been shown to be even more effective in hydrating than olive oil: According to a very small study (three individuals!), application of sunflower seed oil to the individuals’ right forearms for two weeks markedly increased the amount of lecithin in the patients’ skin(Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 1974). The authors speculate that the reason is that sunflower seed oil is a natural source of linoleic acid, whereas olive oil is a source of oleic acid.
Sunflower seed oil also has antibacterial properties, as infants receiving a daily skin treatment of sunflower oil were found to be 41% less likely to develop infections in one small study (ThThe Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 2004).
Always remember the sunflower seed oil used in cooking is NOT the same as organic, cold-pressed sunflower oil. Cooking sunflower seed oil should never be applied to the skin (Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child, 2000) – this is comedogenic and will almost surely lead you to the dermatologist’s office!
If you have normal to dry skin and you *must* try a beauty oil, then look no further than Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil. I adore the fact that it contains such a high concentration of proven collagen stimulator Camellia japonica seed oil, as well as UV protectant olive oil.
Of course, as with nearly all of my skin care recommendations, Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil is not without its warnings. Do not use Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil before going outside: It contains orange and lavender oils, which may both be photosensitizing (i.e., make skin more sensitive to the sun). As with most beauty oils, Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil is therefore best used at night over top of your favorite treatment (hint: FutureDerm Time-Release Retinol 0.5, anyone? :-)).
Nonetheless, I like Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil better than almost any other beauty oil I’ve reviewed thus far. Just don’t use it before going outside, and keep it away if you have oily skin!
Product Rating: 9/10
Ingredients in Boscia Tsubaki Beauty Oil
Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Squalane, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Tocopherol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Leaf Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil.
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