The word on the beauty street is oil. No, not the kind siphoned from the ground to produce gasoline and not the kind that builds up in your T-zone and clogs your pores. We’re talking beauty oils that come in little bottles and promise a laundry list of benefits for your skin, hair, nails, etc. argan, grapeseed, rosehip, maracuja, avocado, and now… emu.
You may be wondering what an emu could possibly do to benefit your health or add to your beauty routine. You may be confused as to how to get oil out of an emu. You may not even know what an emu is. These things aren’t exactly common knowledge so it's understandable, and with so many health and beauty oils stocking shelves it’s hard to keep track of which ones make your skin glow, which ones fight wrinkles, which ones diminish scars, and which ones are completely bogus. Emu oil is unique for a number of its properties and uses, and if you’re willing to take a chance and try it out, it can be an exciting new addition to your skincare collection.
WHAT IS EMU OIL?
Emu oil is extracted from the fat of an emu, a flightless bird native to Australia that resembles a small ostrich, and as long as the process is licensed by the American Emu Association, it is cruelty free. Usage traces back to aboriginal times 40,000 years ago, but recently, holistic consumers have taken an interest in emu oil for its unique health and beauty benefits.
EMU OIL BENEFITS
1. Restores Moisture
The molecules in emu oil are small enough to be easily absorbed into the skin. This helps the oil penetrate into deeper layers of the skin which allows a deeper hold on hydration. One study found that compared to other oils, emu oil has 2-4 times greater penetration of the skin. So if your skin is lacking in moisture, dab a little emu oil on extra dry parts of your face and body, or even use it on your cuticles and hair for all-around hydration.
2. Prevents the signs of aging
The moisturizing benefits of emu oil will aid in anti-aging, but that’s not all it does to stop fine lines. Emu oil has also been shown to increase collagen production, which helps maintain skin elasticity , thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also rich in antioxidants that aid in the fight against free radicals, which have the potential to destroy skin cells and speed up the aging process.
3. Decreases inflammation
Emu oil is full of fatty acids like oleic acid, linoleic acid, linolenic acid, palmitoleic acid, and plenty of omegas, which are essential for reducing inflammation. This combined with its moisturizing ability makes it ideal for treating symptoms of eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, and other inflammatory sensitive skin conditions, and it has been shown to reduce redness, itching, and swelling.
4. Heals wounds and lightens scars
One of the aboriginal uses of emu oil was for the process of healing wounds and burns, and that practice is continued today. The combination of its ability to form new collagen and control inflammation gives it a restorative property that is also beneficial for lightening scars, sun spots, stretch marks, and burns.
5. Helps hair and nail growth
The antioxidants present in the vitamin E in emu oil helps reverse damage from the environment and pollution, which in turn helps soften hair and cuticles and soothes an itchy and dry scalp. It also promotes circulation in the scalp and nail beds to promote healthy follicles and growth.
6. Relieves pain
The anti-inflammatory properties of emu oil also aid in muscle and joint pain relief. One study showed the topical application of emu oil to be just as effective as the use of ibuprofen, and has been used to relieve carpal tunnel, arthritis, headaches, and shin splints.
7. Internal Health Benefits
Studies have also shown emu oil to be effective in balancing cholesterol and reducing gut inflammation due to their fatty acid composition.
SENSITIVE SKIN REJOICE
Oils from animal fats are typically better tolerated by sensitive skin than fats from plant sources like olive oil or grapeseed oil because the fatty acids present in animal fats mimic the ones in human skin more closely. So if your plant-based beauty oil has been softening your skin, but breaking you out, try making the switch over to emu oil so you can have hydrated skin without added irritation.
You can apply emu oil directly to the skin or mix it into your hair oils, skin lotions, hand creams, etc. for a boost of moisture and the anti-inflammatory effects. It’s small molecular structure also makes it an excellent carrier oil for other oils and supplements you apply topically. You can ingest emu oil in a similar manner as fish oil, though there isn’t much clinical research on the long term effects of consumption; so, due to the lack of research, it’s safest to stick to topical application.
WHY NOT GIVE IT A TRY
It may seem like it’s promising miracles, but at the end of the day, emu oil is truly just providing essential fatty acids, vitamins, and antioxidants that your body loves and thrives off of. Although the benefits of emu oil aren’t all 100% backed by a plethora of scientific research, emu oil is completely safe, the risk level associated with it is very low, and side effects are practically nonexistent (unlike a lot of pharmaceutical and over the counter medicines). As long as you buy from a brand that’s certified by the American Emu Association to ensure that it’s ethically sourced and free of contaminants, emu oil is as safe and legitimate as any other oil on your skincare shelf. Considering it’s been used for thousands of years for holistic healing and sensitive skincare remedies, and many studies showing promising and favorable results, it doesn’t hurt to try out one of the many benefits of emu oil and see what good can be done to your body.
Jeengar MK, Kumar PS, et. al. Review on Emu Products for Use as Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Nutrition. January 2015; 31(1): 21-27.
Ventura-Escuin C. Open, observational, case-series study of the efficacy and tolerability of emu oil in the treatment of patients with psoriasis and xerotic eczema. Skin. October 2005; 20(8): 370-372.Afshar M, Ghaderi R, et al. Effects of Topical Emu Oil on Burn Wounds in the Skin of Balb/c Mice. Dermatol Res Pract. March 2016; Published online.