skin & hair etc. updates: moisture

The weather is colder, my skin is drier. Meadowfoam seed oil is no longer up to the task. Current solution: sweet almond oil. For all the usual multi-purpose uses: pre-cleaning, makeup removal, moisturising face and body, shaving.

Next experiment: camelina oil.


Why: because it has a chemical composition and properties, when applied to skin, that are similar to hemp seed oil. Similar fatty acid profile, very high in omega-3 (linolenic acid). High in plant sterols. Goes into that groups of well-omega-ed oils: hemp seed, flax / linseed, chia seed.

Hemp oil is good on my skin, bu the stuff is outrageously damn fragile. Even if I keep it in the fridge, even the little time it spends in warm bathroom and especially in a warm shower, that’s enough to help it go rancid very fast. Sure, not as fast as keeping it out in the open (days); even with some “stabilising” oils like meadowfoam (adds maybe a few days to life).

Camelina oil is much more stable, doesn’t need refrigeration, has a long-ish shelf life. Sounds ideal.

Like some other oils I’ve liked, its main use and historical development have been as a more sustainable substitute for other oils. Its main uses recently have been for cattle feed (though the cattle industry isn’t exactly sustainable) and for biofuel. Camelina plants tolerant of cold and need little water to grow: eco-friendly compared to other plants. It’s a substitute for crude oil and derivatives, which was in turn a substitute for whale oil. It was also used in Europe as lamp oil before the 19th-century whale-oil era. Good cooking oil too.

So that’s like canola / rapeseed oil and meadowfoam seed oil. It’s somewhat related to rapeseed, they’re both members of the mustard family. No, that does not mean it’s like smearing hot stingy mustard on your skin. That’s foolish thinking.

One of the main areas for development, scientific study, and production of camelina seed is in central Canada, so I’m also supporting national and local agriculture. There have of course, as you might imagine, been forays into bioengineering the stuff; with, as you might imagine, pros and cons both ways. Corporate nasties trying to control seed supplies, ensure sterility of hybrids and thus a captive farmer market, and rule the world. And bio-engineering as a long laudable human occupation, one of the earliest human activities in technology and in scientific method / methodical science, from back around the Neolithic agricultural revolution somewhere around -10,000.

Not yet tested. Will report back once preliminary testing has been completed (so: if there are immediate reactions, and then how things go after 6 weeks or so).

UPDATE (2014-02-14): it arrived, I tested it out, and it’s a NO.

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