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Plants and the chemicals they make. Is there anything special about avocado oil? Plus, a DIY mask.

What makes an oil “special”? Its fatty acid composition.

Why? Because we, humans, can’t make every fatty acid we need, so we must obtain what we can’t make from the outside world, as food or topically (for our skin).

What are the so called essential fatty acids, i.e. those we can’t make by ourselves? They are two: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). Other fatty acids are considered “conditionally essential”, in the sense that they can become essential under some developmental or disease conditions; they include docosahexaenoic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and gamma-linolenic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid).

How do you make avocado oil?  After drying the avocado flesh to remove as much water as possible (about 65% water by weight), avocado oil is extracted with solvents at elevated temperatures. After extraction, the oil for application is usually refined, bleached, and deodorized, resulting in an odorless yellow oil.

What fatty acid will you find in avocado oil It has about 75% monounsaturated (oleic and palmitoleic acids), 12% polyunsaturated (linoleic and linolenic acids), and 12% saturated (palmitic and stearic acids). In short, it does contain the fatty acids we need, but it is not unique nor that special.

At Skin Actives, we tend to use rosehip oil as a special-fatty acid top-up. It contains oleic acid 15, cis-linoleic acid 50, α-linolenic acid 25%. Saturated fatty acids, about 10%. So, from the point of view of how much they contribute to our supply of essential fatty acids, rosehip oil is a better deal than avocado.

This does not mean that you have to give up on avocado. It is one of those ingredients that go great in a relaxing, nourishing mask.

How to make a messy but nourishing avocado mask:

Using a mature avocado fruit, mash it and add to it

Take 1/4 ripe avocado and mash it up in a bowl until it turns lump free. Mix into the pulp 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt and a few drops of Skin Actives antiox booster. Stir well until you get a paste of uniform consistency. Apply the mask on your face for 10-15 minutes. Rinse well. You’ve got the best that avocado can give you. Use the rest of the avocado to make some fancy avocado toast.