USES OF AVOCADO OIL FOR MASSAGE & NATURAL SKINCARE
- Since Aztec times, the Avocado has come to be known as “vegetable butter” and “butter pear” due to its high oil content.
- Avocado Carrier Oil is ideal for use in the manufacturing of soaps for its emollience as well as its lathering and cleansing properties.
- Avocado Carrier Oil is commonly used in cosmetics, due to its fast rate of penetration and absorption, its high vitamin content, its subtle aroma that can easily be masked, and its excellent preservative qualities.
- Used in moisturizers, Avocado Oil is less greasy than other oils, and its emulsifying properties produce finer blends.
HISTORY OF AVOCADO OIL
The fruits of the Persea americana botanical (original nomenclature: Persea gratissima) – better known as the Avocado tree – were reportedly cultivated in Mexico, Central, and South America as early as 5000 B.C. In Mexico where the Aztec culture was established, the Aztecs referred to Avocados as “ahuacatl,” meaning “testicle.” It was so called, because of its phallic shape and the belief that its shape represented its properties as well as the inner forces it would act on when consumed, thus it was used not only as food but also as a “fertility fruit,” as it was believed to be a sexual stimulant. The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayans also spread the fruit pulp on their skin for use in cosmetic applications such as to create face masks. The Mayans of Guatemala used Avocados to relieve diarrhea, prevent intestinal worms and parasites, and promote healthy hair growth.
For its countless benefits, the Avocado was considered a precious fruit. In some regions of Mexico, the iconography portrays the fruit in accordance with the narratives of Mexican mythology, which depicts the Avocado as a fruit that bestows immense vigor. In other regions of Mexico, artifacts can be found that are made with parts of Avocados dating back to 12 000 years ago.
Due to the value that these Pre-Hispanic cultures placed on the Avocado, European conquerors at the time of the Columbian Exchange introduced the fruit to “the New World” where it continued to be highly valued for its various benefits. Between 1830 and 1880, Avocado trees from Mexico were introduced to Hawaii, Florida, and California. In the 20th century, the United States began developing varieties of Avocado fruits that were suitable for commercial farming, around which time California became the main fruit supplier. In France, Avocado Oil has the status of a prescription drug, due to its ability to address the effects of arthritis.
Given the fruit’s high oil content, the Avocado has also been known as “vegetable butter” or “butter pear” since Aztec times. The name “Avocado” was confirmed by the American Pomological Society and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who decided it was more marketable than its previous name, “Alligator Pear.” Members of the California Avocado Association decided that Avocados grown in California should be given the name ‘Calavo’ to distinguish them from those grown in other regions.
Despite the sales of fresh Avocado fruit being the mainstay of its industry in the U.S., growers needed to find a way to make use of the fruits that could not be sold in the market due to scarring or blemishes, which led to the extraction of oil from Avocados.
BENEFITS OF USING AVOCADO OIL
The main chemical constituents of Avocado Carrier Oil are: Palmitic Acid, Palmitoleic Acid, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Alpha-linolenic Acid, Arachidic Acid, and Gadoleic Acid.
PALMITIC ACID is known to:
- Has emollient properties
- Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
- Be the most common saturated fatty acid
PALMITOLEIC ACID is known to:
- Delay the appearance of premature aging
- Moisturize and tighten the skin
- Promote the growth of shiny hair
- Enhance the brightness of the complexion
- Boost the growth of healthy-looking nails
- Enhance skin elasticity to prevent symptoms of premature aging, such as wrinkles
STEARIC ACID is known to:
- Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin
- Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
- Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
- Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
- Have exceptional cleansing properties
- Soften skin
OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 9) are known to:
- Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
- Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
- Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
- Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
- Boost immunity
- Exhibit antioxidant properties
- Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain
LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA 6) are known to:
- Moisturize hair and promote its growth
- Facilitate wound healing
- Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
- Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
- Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
- Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
- Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
ALPHA-LINOLENIC ACID (OMEGA-3) is known to:
- Lessen inflammation
- Control blood clotting on the skin
- Soothe joint pain and ease stiffness to improve flexibility
ARACHIDIC ACID is known to:
- Enhance and promote muscle gain/mass by boosting the body’s inflammatory responses
- Boost immunity
- Ease symptoms of depression
- Soothe pain and discomfort associated with arthritis
- Reduce weight
GADOLEIC ACID (EICOSENOIC ACID) is known to:
- Have emollient properties
- Be non-comedogenic (does not block the skin’s pores)
- Be readily absorbed by the skin
- Balance the oil in the skin, making it less oily
Used topically, vitamin-rich Avocado Carrier Oil works as a regenerating, rehydrating treatment for skin that soothes and enhances texture. It smooths the look of wrinkles, tightens skin, and diminishes the appearance of scars, age spots, and other unwanted blemishes. It can be used on dry, rough, aging, sensitive, or irritated skin such as skin afflicted with psoriasis. When used in massages, it is known to naturally treat insomnia and inflammation, to reduce muscular stiffness, joint pain, and tension, and to boost circulation.
Used in hair, Avocado Carrier Oil straightens and softens strands while nourishing, hydrating, and strengthening them. By stimulating circulation to the hair follicles, it promotes new, healthier growth and prevents hair loss. Avocado Oil protects hair against damage caused by environmental stressors and helps purge clogged hair follicles.
Used medicinally, Avocado Carrier Oil exhibits anti-bacterial qualities. It balances metabolism and treats inflammation associated with arthritis. Its regenerative and healing properties are ideal for use on skin afflicted with rashes, eczema, dryness, and signs of aging, as it repairs the skin while enhancing its elasticity through moisture. The Vitamin E content of Avocado Carrier Oil is helpful for reducing the harmful effects of UV radiation and any redness or other damage it can cause.
In Ayurvedic medicine, Avocado was used to reduce bad cholesterol, relieve chronic constipation, address alopecia, boost libido, regulate insulin levels, enhance strength and stamina, soothe joint pain, ease insomnia, tone skin, and to eliminate skin damage caused by free radicals. Today, Avocado Carrier Oil is known to continue exhibiting the same healing benefits for skin, hair, and overall health.
As illustrated, Avocado Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:
- COSMETIC: Anti-Aging, Antioxidant, Emollient, Detoxifying, Regenerative, Astringent.
- MEDICINAL: Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Detoxifying, Anti-Arthritic, Diuretic, Regenerative, Astringent, Carminative, Anti-parasitic, Laxative.
CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY AVOCADO OIL
Avocado trees thrive in regions with temperate, subtropical climates free of frost. These conditions have allowed its cultivation to be propagated in subtropical countries across all continents. High winds negatively impact the growth of Avocado trees, as they decrease humidity, which dehydrates the flowers and impacts flower pollination. When most varieties of Avocado experience even mild frost, this can result in the premature dropping of the fruit, although some varieties are cold-hardy and can endure temperatures as cold as −6.5 °C (20 °F), experiencing only slight damage to the leaves. The trees require soils that are porous and aerated, that is soils that are loose as well as properly ventilated and hydrated with an adequate supply of oxygen and water to its roots for proper growth. Exposing trees to highly saline water or depriving them of adequate water will cause a reduced fruit yield. They also require well-drained soils, as they are sensitive to waterlogging. The ideal soil pH level is between 5.0 and 7.0.
Some varieties of Avocado tree are biennial, meaning they are able to bear fruit only every second year. To illustrate, a year with heavy yields is followed by poor yields in the subsequent year, and this is usually due to environmental factors such as cold temperatures. Different varieties of Avocado also have differing flowering phases. These factors sometimes result in the development of “cukes,” which are Avocados without seeds. Due to their smallness, these fruits are often discarded.
Though the Avocado is able to self-pollinate, it minimizes the chance of this happening due to the stamens (male part of the flower) and pistils (female part of the flower) developing at different times and due to its “dichogamous” flowering. This means that it has both male and female reproductive organs, functioning as female on the first day and as male for the second day. The flower opens and closes twice across two days. Each phase, male and female, lasts only half a day. On a single tree, all the flowers will be entirely functionally male or entirely functionally female, ensuring synchronism among the flowers.
There are two flowering types: Type A Flowering and Type B Flowering.
In the first type, the flowers bloom as female on the morning of the first day. In the early afternoon, they close. The following afternoon, they open as male.
In the second type, the flowers bloom as a female in the afternoon of the first day. In the late afternoon, they close. The following morning, they open as male.
Avocado trees can be propagated through seedling plants, which are grown in a nursery for approximately 6 months before being transplanted to the main growing field. Seedlings can take up to 10 years to bear fruit, thus Avocado tree varieties of premium quality are propagated by grafting onto the rootstocks of seedlings grown from seeds or from layering. Grafting maintains the desired quality and quantity of fruit. Avocados can also be propagated by seed, which takes between 4 and 6 years to bear fruit. Seed propagation is not a usual method due to the fact that the Avocado fruit quality is not likely to be identical to that of the parent plant’s fruit quality.
After forming on the tree, the Avocado fruits mature over a period of 10 months during which time their sizes and oil content increase. Even after the fruits have reached full maturity on the trees, they do not ripen if they remain on the trees and will ripen only after falling to the ground or being harvested. If they are not harvested, they can remain on the tree for more than 18 months from the time they begin to flower and even while the following year’s fruits begin to develop. An Avocado’s degree of firmness and sometimes its color will determine its ripeness; a ripe Avocado will have softening mesocarp (flesh), and in some varieties, the skin will change from green to a deep purplish black.
Avocados that are mature at the time of harvest will have the maximum oil content required for processing. In immature Avocados, such as those that have been blown off trees in inclement weather, the oil content will not be ideal, but the fruit will be ripe nonetheless. The softening of the Avocado tissues facilitates the oil extraction, as it releases oil from the parenchyma cells, which store the oil as droplets in the fruit’s flesh. To facilitate ripening, Avocados can be kept in controlled-temperature rooms to be treated with a plant hormone called Ethylene, which coordinates the ripening process.
To ensure Avocado oil of optimal quality, the fruit should not be overripe. Any disorders of the flesh, such as rotting or greying due to prolonged storage, should be minimal. Unsuitable fruits that exhibit these types of postharvest disorders are not used to produce oil. Mature and ripe avocados harvested earlier in the season yield approximately 75% of the maximum available oil in the fruit’s flesh. Those harvested later in the season can possibly yield more than 90% of the available oil. The seed and the skin yield a minute amount of oil with an approximate maximum amount of 7%.
Avocados are harvested with the use of hydraulic ladders (cherry pickers) or with picking poles that make it easier to reach the fruits without dropping them. Most varieties of Avocado need to be clipped from their stems while leaving the short stem known as the “stem button” attached to the part of the fruit that hangs from the tree. Leaving this stem button on decreases the risk of rot entering through that potential opening and attacking the fruit as it matures. The fruits are picked carefully to ensure that they are not torn or dropped, which causes bruising, puncturing, and a potential infection site. The fruits are collected inside bags that are emptied into large bins, which are generally mounted on trailers for easy transportation to the production facility. They are kept out of direct sunlight and placed in the shade in order to prevent them from being heated. They are treated with fungicide to further prevent infection.
Once they arrive at the production facility, the Avocados in the bins are cooled in a hydro cooler, a process in which water cools the fruits to eliminate any heat that they might have retained from their time in the fields. Rotating brushes clean the fruits, which are then inspected either manually or mechanically to ensure they are sanitary and free from marks caused by insects, wind, hail, rodents, accidental mishandling by mechanical processes, and viruses, bacteria or fungi.
HOW IS AVOCADO OIL EXTRACTED?
Avocado Carrier Oil is most commonly extracted from the flesh. After the fruits are cleaned with water to remove any residual impurities, they are mechanically carried to the destoning machine, which removes the seeds and 90% of the skin. This is followed by the drying of the flesh to reduce as much of the water content as possible, then the flesh is pulverized into a paste. The next step is Malaxation, in which the paste is stirred slowly for up to 60 minutes inside a warmed tank at a temperature between 45-50°C (113°F - 122°F). This crucial step allows the oil droplets to combine into bigger drops. For Avocado Oil, this temperature range still places the extraction method in the cold-pressing category and does not negatively impact the oil’s quality. A high-speed decanting centrifuge separates the oil and water phases. In final polishing centrifuges, the oil is separated from the water. Any flesh, skin, and seeds remaining in the decanting centrifuges are used as animal feed or as soil conditioning and mulch for the orchards from which the Avocados are picked.
For cosmetic use, the crude Avocado Oil further undergoes a process of refinement that includes bleaching and deodorizing to produce an almost odorless oil that is yellow in color. Extra virgin cold-pressed Avocado Oil is unrefined; hence, it retains a medium to rich fatty aroma and, similar to the color of the fruit flesh, it is typically yellowish, greenish, or brownish due to the chlorophyll that is found in the skin and in the green layers of the flesh next to the skin. If any of the Avocado skin is included in the Malaxation phase, there is a higher likelihood that the oil will have a deeper green pigmentation. The chlorophyll content is what can cause photo-oxidation to occur in Avocado Oil, which is why it is important to store the oil away from direct light.
In the Solvent Extraction method, the Avocado flesh is first air dried, then pressed, then organic solvents such as Hexane are applied to the mash to extract the oil. This results in an oil that is brown in color. It undergoes a refinement process that involves Deacidification, which removes free fatty acids of which there is less than 1% in quality fruits; Bleaching, which removes chlorophylls, pheophytins, and carotenoids; and Deodorization, which removes the aroma.
USES OF AVOCADO OIL
The uses of Avocado Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include massage oils, bath oils, gels, lotions, creams, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, serums, and cleansers.
Used topically, Avocado Oil is an effective moisturizer for dry, cracked skin, especially on the heels and cuticles. Applying a few drops of the oil to these areas will leave them looking and feeling supple and smooth. For a hydrating eye makeup remover, a small amount of Avocado Oil can be poured onto a cotton ball and gently wiped across the eyelids to remove eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow. The oil’s residue will also aid in reducing the appearance of fine lines around the eyes. Avocado Oil effectively soothes topical conditions characterized by dryness, rough and scaly skin, and redness. It supports cell regeneration and enhances collagen production, thereby reducing the look of wrinkles and other signs of aging. To soothe, nourish, and repair skin affected by ailments such as eczema, psoriasis, or sun damage, 20 ml of Avocado Oil can be blended with 4 drops of Frankincense Essential Oil, 2 drops of Rose Oil, and 2 drops of Neroli Essential Oil before being applied to affected areas. To create a conditioning face mask, mash 1 ripe Avocado and mix it well with 1 tsp of Avocado Carrier Oil. Apply a thick layer of this blend to the face and necklet it set for 10 minutes. To remove the mask, dip a towel in hot water, place it on the face and wipe off the mask. To remove any residue from the face mask, splash the face with a natural toner blended with 1 drop of Avocado Oil.
Used in hair, Avocado Oil can promote growth and can soothe itchiness by eliminating dandruff and dryness. To stimulate circulation to the scalp, to unclog hair follicles, and to reduce hair fall, a nickel-size amount of Avocado Oil can be massaged directly into the scalp. For a hair treatment mask that can be washed out with a natural shampoo, blend 1 Avocado and 1 banana until no lumps of fruit are remaining. Mix in 1 Tbsp. Avocado Oil, 1 Tbsp. Coconut Oil, and 1 Tbsp. Honey, then apply the mixture to the hair and scalp and let it set for 20 minutes before rinsing it out with warm water.
Used in a massage, Avocado Oil can release muscular discomfort and improve circulation. To reduce pain or stiffness in muscles and joints while soothing inflammation and boosting blood flow, 60 ml (2 oz.) of Avocado Oil can be blended with 30 ml (1 oz.) of Soybean Oil before being massaged into affected areas. For a warming, detoxifying massage blend that rejuvenates the body systems, 120 ml (4 oz.) of Avocado Oil can be blended with 5 drops of Ginger Essential Oil and 5 drops of Spearmint Essential Oil before being massaged into the desired area.
Used medicinally, a few drops of Avocado Carrier Oil can be applied directly to the skin to soothe the discomfort of blisters, rashes, insect stings, and wounds. If applied in a massage before bedtime, Avocado Oil is believed to boost libido and ease the restlessness of insomnia. For a rich massage blend to apply in a back rub before having a cool bath, blend 60 ml (2 oz.) of Avocado Oil with 10 drops of Evening Primrose Carrier Oil and 10 drops of Jojoba Carrier Oil. This blend can be applied in a relaxing massage twice a week to stimulate the senses and the skin. Those suffering from inflammation and swelling brought on by arthritis will also find comfort in Avocado Oil’s ability to strengthen and stimulate not only the reparation of muscles but also the immune system.
A GUIDE TO AVOCADO OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS
AVOCADO CARRIER OIL - COSMETIC GRADE – REFINED
Botanical Name: Persea gratissima
Found in: Mexico
- Containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, D, E, and beta-Carotene
- Being a monounsaturated oil that is best suited for dry skin conditions in topical applications
- Being pale yellow to golden yellow in color
- Having very little scent characteristic of most carrier oils
- Being added to other carrier oils to enrich protein and vitamin content
- Being used predominantly by manufacturers (particularly great in soaps, lotions and creams) and massage therapists
- Leaving a sticky, waxy feel if applied topically to large areas of skin
AVOCADO CARRIER OIL - EXTRA VIRGIN
Botanical Name: Persea gratissima
Found in: Mexico
- Containing Vitamins A, B1, B2, D, E, and Beta-carotene
- Being a classified as monounsaturated oil and is used for topical skin application
- Being green to brown in color
- Being a medium to heavy scent
- Absorbing slowly and leaving a sheen on the skin
- Being added to other carrier oils to enrich their protein and vitamin content
- Being used mainly by manufacturers for soaps, lotions, and creams
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR AVOCADO OIL
As with all other New Directions Aromatics products, carrier oils are for external use only. Avocado Carrier Oil should not be ingested and should not be used on or near children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with all other oils, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or other generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime size amount of Avocado Oil to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours indicates that the oil is safe to use. Individuals with allergies to avocados and latex are at a higher risk of developing an allergy to Avocado Carrier Oil and should avoid its use.
Potentially severe side effects of using Avocado Carrier Oil may include hives, abdominal pain, and vomiting. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action.
Individuals taking blood thinners to slow blood clotting may experience a drug interaction. To prevent these side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
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