Ever wondered how the Australian aborigines healed their cuts and wounds?
Their secret’s emu oil.
According to legend, this unique oil can do pretty much anything, from moisturising skin to reducing wrinkles and even busting acne.
But what’s the truth? Can emu oil really do all these miracles or is it just another hyped up ingredient with an intriguing marketing story behind it?
Let’s find out:
What Is Emu Oil?
You know that weird-looking, awkwardly cute flightless bird from Australia? The big one? That’s the emu (or Dromaius Novaehollandiae to use its full name).
Yep, emu oil comes from the fat of the emu. This fat contains several unsaturated fatty acids, including oleic (20%), palmitic (20%), linolenic (1-2%) and linoleic (20%) acids.
These are the fatty acids naturally present in your skin. They help strengthen its protective barrier and keep skin moisturised.
Related: How To Strengthen Your Skin’s Protective Barrier (And Why It Matters)
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Can Emu Oil Moisturise Skin?
I know a lot of you hate mineral oil BUT, it is one of the most moisturising things on this planet. FACT.
Emu oil is even better. A study published in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology compared the two. The verdict?
“It appears that emu oil in comparison to mineral oil has better moisturizing properties, superior texture, and lower incidence of comedogenicity, but probably because of the small sample size (the study was conducted on 11 people only) these differences, were not found to be statistically significant.
“Neither of the oils were found to be irritating to the skin. Finally, emu oil fatty acid composition was studied by gas chromatography and was found to have high concentration of nonpolar monounsaturated fatty acids, which may explain emu oil’s ability to penetrate easily through the stratum corneum barrier.”
In plain English, the fatty acids in emu oil allow it to easily penetrate the skin and deeply moisturise it.
Related: Does 60% Of What You Put On Your Skin Really Penetrate It?
Can Emu Oil Soothe Skin?
Is your skin irritated or inflamed? Emu oil can come to your rescue.
Scientists compared emu oil with other oils – including olive, flaxseed and fish oils – and discovered they all have anti-inflammatory properties.
BUT emu oil works that little bit better at reducing inflammation (it does the job within a few hours!).
Related: 9 Soothing Ingredients That Calm Down Redness And Irritations
Can Emu Oil Reduce Wrinkles?
So far, emu oil has an excellent track record. It’s super moisturising and reduces inflammation to boot. But can it treat wrinkles, too?
We don’t know yet. Some people swear emu oil is the secret to their youthful complexion, but I couldn’t find any studies in the scientific literature that proves it.
This doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Maybe no one has bothered to do a study about it yet. But I’m sticking to retinol for now. That’s proven to work, you know.
Related: The Complete Guide To Retinol
Can Emu Oil Treat Acne?
Some people swear emu oil isn’t comedogenic. It won’t clog your pores and give you pimples. It’ll treat them and make them disappear instead.
These people usually sell emu oil. Usually.
Again, I scoured the scientific literature but found no proof that emu oil can treat acne.
Related: Salicylic Acid VS Benzoyl Peroxide: Which One Is Best To Treat Your Acne?
Is Emu Oil Comedogenic?
Emu oil can clog pores – but that doesn’t mean it will.
One of the main fatty acids in emu oil is oleic acid – and THAT is comedogenic. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, I’d steer away from emu oil. Just in case.
Dry skin? It’ll be harmless for you.
Related: What Skincare Ingredients Are Comedogenic?
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a nourishing moisturiser for dry skin or a natural way to calm down irritations, emu oil will do the trick. Just don’t ask it anything more than that for now.
Have you ever tried Emu Oil? Share your experience in the comments below.