Is Emu Oil A Miracle Ingredient?

by Gio
skincare benefits of emu oil

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 The Heck 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.

Emu Oil Is More Moisturising Than Mineral Oil

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.

Emu Oil Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties, Too

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!).

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 Bust 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 bust acne. 

Emu oil contains a lot of linoleic acid and we know THAT is comedogenic. It’s also true that emu oil is NOT only linoleic acid, so there may be something else in there that prevents linoleic acid from turning your face into a war zone.

In the meantime, if you have oily or acne prone skin, I’d steer away from emu oil. Just in case.

Related: Salicylic Acid VS Benzoyl Peroxide: Which One Is Best To Treat Your Acne?

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a n 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.

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Amanda November 29, 2011 - 2:40 pm

Though I’ve never tried emu oil (still can’t cross the psychological barrier of applying a bird’s fat on my face) but I’m much piqued by all I’ve heard about it. Someday I’m going to give it a go 🙂

beautifulwithbrains November 29, 2011 - 7:21 pm

Amanda, it’s an intriguing oil indeed but I agree that the thought of putting bird’s oil on one’s face is quite offputting..

La Bisbetica November 29, 2011 - 3:55 pm

No matter how miraculous it might be, I’ll never use a cosmetic with animal oil. 🙁

beautifulwithbrains November 29, 2011 - 7:23 pm

La Bisbetica, I can see where you’re coming from. Poor emus. And the thing is that so far, emu oil hasn’t been proved to be as miraculous as claimed so I don’t see any reason to use it at the moment, unless one has very dry or inflamed skin..

sesame November 30, 2011 - 1:49 am

I find it depends on the grade. Some emu oil are great but others can work adversely and clog up pores. Quite hard to tell. I’ve used emu oil successfully to reduce inflammed acne but otherwise, prefer to have it mix in my oils.

beautifulwithbrains November 30, 2011 - 9:25 pm

Sesame, thanks for sharing your experience. I’m glad it worked well for your acne but it’s a shame it’s hard to tell if the emu oil you’re using clog pores or not as it is quite expensive and you wouldn’t wanna end up with a wrong bottle..

Jeni November 30, 2011 - 9:41 am

I bought a bottle of it because I read it’s good for hair loss, but it’s super greasy, so I have to wash it off before I can leave the house. I haven’t used it enough to really determine if it does anything positive for hair. I would never buy a product like that otherwise, because of where it comes from, but when it comes to hair stuff I get desperate! And I would try it on my face, but am afraid of it clogging my pores.

beautifulwithbrains November 30, 2011 - 9:27 pm

Jeni, emu oil is claimed to do pretty much everything but I haven’t found any scientific reference showing it works for hair loss. Of course it may just be that noone has studied that yet. I hope it works for you but it’s a shame it’s so greasy. Must be so unpleasant to use.

Janessa November 7, 2012 - 3:39 am

My mom gave me a jar of emu-oil cream many months ago and I still have it. I barely used it and when I did, I felt like I was putting on a baby bird and I felt bad haha despite emus being quite large. 😛 It worked really well to moisturize my skin though.

beautifulwithbrains November 7, 2012 - 6:26 am

Janessa lol. It can be strange using it at first, but I’m glad it works well for you. 🙂

Stayc October 24, 2019 - 11:32 pm

I mix emu oil, argan oil, a variety of ceramides, and a copper serum into my Curel moisturizer. Absorbs without feeling greasy and my skin feels so nourished and supple. It’s a great mixture that is helping my mature, sun damaged skin look healthy.


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