12

votes

transdermal absorption of oils?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 04, 2011 at 2:53 PM

I was wondering if you can throw off your omega balance by using high omega-6 oils on your skin? Also is it important to make sure they aren't rancid? My partner uses a salve she makes with olive oil on her hands and also rubs a oil blend on her skin when she gets out of the shower. Should she be careful with these oils or is it not really an issue?

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 05, 2011
at 06:36 AM

I also like to use coconut oil when my hands get dry. It also makes a fantastic massage oil ;)

0b1ec80fa938d2946000fd3cb60b5079

(405)

on May 08, 2011
at 02:33 AM

Polyunsaturated fats just oxidize easily, so you want to keep them away from light and air. Tell your friend try coconut oil for her skin. I use it even on my face with great results. It is saturated fat and very stable, keeps well! That would eliminate any worries.

61e254571b4c792bca87340a090a3ea1

(480)

on May 07, 2011
at 03:25 AM

thanks rachel. Do you know exactly why oxidation is a concern? I am not challenging you just interested.

60c061f4b024f9ac421b27bf93b40ebe

(220)

on May 05, 2011
at 11:19 PM

great question! I hope someone knows the answer. I am also curious about what other stuff can be absorbed through the skin. I haven't paid much attention to what is in my lotions and soaps. Maybe I should?

Fa9f340eddbad9a544184c688fa4dcdd

(6433)

on May 04, 2011
at 03:57 PM

+1 great question - it's something that I've considered briefly as I still use commercial moisturisers.

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4 Answers

1
1398eff69b192c35de5e0dbaad59052a

(2024)

on June 07, 2011
at 06:41 PM

I'm a hobbyist potion maker, which is to say that I make all my own soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. The soap is lye soap, but I use commercial surfactants and emulsifiers for the other stuff. I would say don't worry. Your skin doesn't absorb most of these things past a certain layer. THe oils in lotion are mainly there to provide an occlusive layer; they work by trapping moisture in. The very best way to moisturize is to rub oil on yourself while your skin is damp/wet (which your partner does). Lotion is designed to be applied dry, which is why it includes water.

Absorption is a hotly contested topic in the potion-making world, with most people pooh-poohing the idea that we can absorb stuff. I tend to err more on the other side; we all know that some things actually do penetrate the skin--think nicotine patches, for instance. I haven't really delved into the science of all this, but from what I understand, a lot has to do with molecule size. Coconut oil absorbs into the epdermis better than olive oil, for instance. Fractionated coconut oil is wonderful stuff because it just sinks right in, in my opinion. Are these oils getting into my blood stream? Highly doubtful.

The problem that I see is not in the OILS, but in the other stuff. Commercial products have extremely high levels of preservatives (which you DO have to use) because they need a long shelf life. Also, everything is highly fragranced, and the research simply isn't there to say that these things are totally safe. Paraben preservatives have been linked--though tenuously, to be sure--to endocrine disruption. There are a few admittedly not very good studies that link highly fragranced personal products to higher rates of cancer. All this is to say that the government studies personal care products the same way it studies food: Not very well.

Sorry for the long-winded post.

1
Ed983a42344945b1ff70fd9597a23493

on May 22, 2011
at 06:05 AM

I use only coconut oil on my skin...never use anything on your skin that you wouldn't eat! So many oils used in store bought skin care products are likely rancid. I have been using only coconut oil for years...think of how much moey I've saved keeping it so simple!

Medium avatar

(5639)

on June 05, 2011
at 06:36 AM

I also like to use coconut oil when my hands get dry. It also makes a fantastic massage oil ;)

0
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on June 05, 2011
at 07:32 AM

I have wondered this too - I use Argan oil on my face (it is BRILLIANT for reducing lines!!) but it is high in omega 6. And vitamin E - I don't know if they are absorbed or not - but I do eat a lot of fish....

0
0b1ec80fa938d2946000fd3cb60b5079

on May 07, 2011
at 02:28 AM

She is not going to absorb nearly enough to worry about, if any. Oxidation is a concern, though. Just keep it in a cool, dark place.

0b1ec80fa938d2946000fd3cb60b5079

(405)

on May 08, 2011
at 02:33 AM

Polyunsaturated fats just oxidize easily, so you want to keep them away from light and air. Tell your friend try coconut oil for her skin. I use it even on my face with great results. It is saturated fat and very stable, keeps well! That would eliminate any worries.

61e254571b4c792bca87340a090a3ea1

(480)

on May 07, 2011
at 03:25 AM

thanks rachel. Do you know exactly why oxidation is a concern? I am not challenging you just interested.

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