Face Oils: Extracting Nature’s Molten Gold

Elethea’s very own Dr Israt Alam explains how we created our new face oil, Complete Replenishing Oil – and why it’s so important to know where these oils have come from and how they are extracted to preserve absolute quality.

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Extracting nature’s molten gold

Botanical oils.

Earlier this year we wrote a piece on the benefits of these as part of one’s skin care regime. Using a good quality oil can not only act as an effective cleanser but also provide potent moisturising properties keeping your skin healthy and hydrated.

Today there is a plethora of oils available on the market for all kinds of skin care applications. More recently pure oil formulations have become beauty favourites. Without the need for any fillers or preservatives in these, they are absolutely packed with nutrients. Rich in antioxidants and fatty acids, these can be blended and tailored to skin types so as not to clog pores whilst delivering a multitude of benefits.

With the increasing availability and choice in oils available for skin care, it is absolutely vital to appreciate how these are obtained. The source of plant material, extraction and storage processes, as well as intrinsic properties of particular oil; all contribute to the efficacy of the final product.

Commonly used extraction processes

There are a number of extraction processes that can affect the quality and purity of oils. Steam distillation uses steam to release and isolate aromatic essential oils. High temperatures in the extraction process can be detrimental to beneficial components. Solvent extraction also used to extract essential oils is applied where the yield of oil in the botanical material is low and where it may not be able to withstand the heat of steam distillation. Importantly it involves the use of chemicals such as alcohols or hexane as a solvent.  Though solvents are removed at a later stage, some toxic residue remains.

Cold pressing involves applying mechanical pressure to plant material to grind and release the oils, without using any chemicals. Though some heat is generating during the grinding process, this can be controlled carefully, resulting in a high quality, pure oil. An emerging process, supercritical CO2 extraction, is expensive but increasingly popular because it bypasses high temperature and the use of toxic solvents, using CO2 under high pressures instead. It can be more efficient in the purification of plant components yielding oil extracts with a favourable analytical profile.

From source to skin

At Elethea, we have carefully considered the plant material, how it has been cultivated and subsequently how the oils have been extracted, before considering the use of these precious liquids in our skin care range and face oil. Most of our oils undergo a bespoke cold pressing technique producing oils high in essential fatty acids and antioxidants. In other instances we have used oils that have undergone supercritical extraction where it has been shown to outperform other techniques in preserving nutrient quantity.  Elethea’s Complete Replenishing Oil in the new Facials range is a culmination of this research. Containing Rosehip, Abyssinian and Blackcurrant oil of the most superior quality to repair, rejuvenate and deliver the ultimate nutritive treatment and glowing skin.