Enhancing the Stability of Natural Oils and Butters with Rosemary Extracts

January 4, 2006 | Contact Author | By: Vijai K. S. Shukla and Kaustuv Bhattacharya, International Cosmetic Science Centre
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Keywords: natural oils | butters | rosemary extracts | oxidative stability | antimicrobial activity | induction period

Abstract: Use of rosemary extracts to provide oxidative stability to various natural oils and exotic butters offers a way for formulators to reduce the use of synthetics and chemicals in skin care products.

Application of various oils and other natural materials for skin care or religious purposes is an ancient practice. Today the consumer market is flooded with innumerable skin care products. But whatever the type of product or branding, the presence of a lipoid material ties the modern day formulations to the ones of the ancient times.

Both natural oils and exotic butters are widely used in cosmetic products and nutraceuticals.  Evening primrose oil (Oenothera biennis) and borage oil (Borago officinalis) are very common natural oils, used primarily because of their high content of gamma linolenic acid, approximating 9-11% and 18-23%, respectively. Oils such as camelina oil (Camelina sativa), blackcurrant seed oil (Ribes nigrum) and flax seed oil (Linum usitatissimum) have cosmetic applications because they contain a high amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Usually obtained from tropical jungle crops, exotic butters like shea (Butyrospermum parkii), mango (Mangifera indica) and sal (Shorea robusta) are among the exotic butters commonly used for skin care products. They are rich in symmetrical monounsaturated triglycerides that are solid or semi-solid at room temperature. They have narrow melting points and have appreciable viscosity and emulsion stability. The exotic butters are also rich in unsaponifiables such as sterols, ubiquinones, fatty alcohols, fatty esters and triterpines.  

Application of natural oils and butters in various cosmetic formulations is a great challenge in combating oxidation. This paper describes in detail how to avoid oxidation through natural processes, thus avoiding chemical additives.