Marula oil- brief back story
Marula oil’s benefits have been known for centuries. But it is only in the last few years that science has confirmed them.
Marula oil is an organic African oil obtained from cold pressing the marula nut.
The marula tree is native to the southern part of Africa and has been used there for centuries for improving skin and hair health.
Over the last 5 years, Marula oil’s benefits have started to permeate into the western beauty market resulting in increased awareness and demand.
Marula oil benefits
light and absorbs easily
One of the reasons it is so hard to treat skin disorders is because the skin is a formidable barrier.
It has been designed with the primary objective of protecting us. So penetrating it is not easy..
The skin is built of several layers stacked on top of each other like bricks on a wall. And between these layers lay blood vessels which are primed to pull in defensive troops, in the form of white blood cells, if the outer layer is breached.
Marula oil is one of the lightest medicinal oils on the market, with excellent absorbency. This means that it will easily penetrate the outer skin layers to deliver vital nutrients to the deeper skin layers such as the dermis.
An excellent Marula oil benefit.
As the diagram above shows, In the deeper layers of the skin lay some of the most crucial parts, as far as skin ageing is concerned.
Collagen is a tough but soft tissue, which gives the skin strength. As we age the level of collagen declines which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles.
A poor lifestyle with habits like smoking and excessive drinking can speed up this breakdown of collagen; as well as a poor diet.
These habits and lifestyles expose the deeper layers of the skin to high levels of toxic substances called free radicals. These are a by-product of our body’s cells.
These free radicals can roam around the skin damaging vital tissues like collagen.
Marula oil is rich in compounds such as anti-oxidants, which protect and rebuild collagen.
Another unique Marula oil benefit.
Protects skin Elastin
Elastin is also a vital tissue within the skin. As the name suggests it gives skin its elasticity.
As we will explain later, Marula oil does a fantastic job at combating these free radicals.
packed with anti-inflammatory compounds
Marula oil is PACKED with anti-inflammatory molecules.
Why is that a big deal? i hear you ask.
Inflammation is one of the key presentations of acne. As skin pores become clogged up with debris, dead skin and bacteria, it is only a matter of time before inflammation kicks in.
Imagine a skin pore; it is nothing more than a little opening with a hollow middle. As your skin releases oil, some of it will trickle in the skin pores. And let’s remember your skin sheds, as old skin is removed to make way for newer skin.
So unless you wash them regularly, some of the dead skin will make its way inside the skin pore. So now you have a pore clogged up with oil and dead skin.
Finally, bacteria, which live naturally on your skin, will take the opportunity to enjoy all the oil and dead skin trapped inside the skin pore.
To bacteria, this is a delicious meal!
At this point, the body’s defensive mechanisms will start to kick into gear, sending white blood cells and inflammatory markers to the site; because it thinks there is an infection there.
This is why acne spots look quite red and angry sometimes. So if we can prevent the inflammation we have a better chance of limiting the discomfort, and the duration, of acne flare ups.
More proof of Marula oil’s benefit to different users.
Marula oil has anti-bacterial properties
This especially good news for acne sufferers.
And this is probably the Marula oil benefit that has surprised me the most.
So you may ask, why do I need an antibacterial to fight acne?
Acne is caused by the coming together of :
- Overproduction of skin oils (sebum)
- Dead skin & debris
The bacteria, which live on your skin, cause an infection in the pores as they feed on the oil and debris, which in turn causes inflammation and discharge.
You often see white heads in acne which release a discharge when you “pop” a spot.
So the antibacterial in Marula oil keep the bacteria in check, therefore reducing the likelihood of acne flare ups.
In fact, in conventional acne treatments, antibacterial gels are among the top treatment options for acne sufferers.
But unfortunately they are based on chemicals. Some of us want a natural alternative, which achieves the same antibacterial activity, and this is where marula comes in.
Offcourse to get this antibacterial Marula benefit, you need to get a 100% organic Marula oil that has not been processed in any way. Just cold pressed Marula oil.
And at all costs, avoid any brand which has been chemically extracted because this is likely to strip away all the nutrients from the marula oil; including the antibacterial activity.
Marula oil is incredibly stable
The antibacterial activity maybe one of the reasons why Marula oil is so stable as well. The fact that it keeps bacteria levels low. So marula oil is less likely to spoil or go rancid.
Marula oil is non comodogenic
Non what?!!! I hear you say.
The word “comodogenic” comes from the word comodone.
A comodone is basically a posh word for an acne spot.
So if a product is described as “non comodogenic” it means that the product is less likely to cause acne breakouts. Which is crucial for acne sufferers.
This is why I always advice acne sufferers not to use greasy products, especially on their face.
This is why marula oil is so good for acne. As well has having antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities; it is very light and non-greasy. Therefore Marula oil is less likely to cause acne breakouts.
I personally suffered with Acne for years, mainly through my teenage years. And i figured out very quickly that I do NOT need to moisturise my face with greasy products.
Because I had naturally greasy skin. If I washed my face in the morning using soap and water. By 12 noon, it was noticeably greasy; and if I do not wash it again, by 6 pm it was VERY noticeably greasy. So why should I moisturise it?
In fact, when I moisturised, i had more acne flare-ups. If the skin is over-producing sebum (oils), you do not need to add more grease to it.
But the beauty of Marula oil is that it absorbs so quickly leaving NO greasy feel. So i now apply it after washing my face and it has made my acne so much better.
Continue reading and I will give you a step-by-step guide to my face wash routine. A routine that has kept acne at bay for many years now.
Marula oil is 100% organic!
This another key benefit of using Marula oil.
Unlike other “organic” oils on the market, which can contain hidden and harsh peeling chemicals. Marula oil is 100% organic, obtained by cold-pressing the Marula nut for it’s oil.
So people with sensitive skin, or people who just want to use something natural, can rest assured that Marula oil is genuinely organic.
Marula oil is an excellent moisturizer
In this section we will compare Marula oil to Argan oil.
In some cases, Marula oil contains more nutritional benefits than Argan oil.
Specifically, Marula oil has more Oleic acid, which is a key fatty acid, and an excellent moisturiser.
Marula oil can reduce cholesterol
Marula oil also has more plant sterols than Argan oil, which have been shown to reduce cholesterol.
Marula oil may help prevent onset of diabetes
Some research has shown Marula oil can prevent the onset of diabetes. But more research is needed to confirm this.
However, it is important to check the brand you decide to buy have not add any chemical-based preservatives or made any alterations to the product. You want the product to predominantly be cold pressed oil rather than chemically processed.
A lot of brands are keen on adding other oils and fruit extracts to Marula oil. I tend to shy away from that. I prefer to let the Marula oil be the star of the show. And the other reason I do not like adding too many other ingredients is to minimise risk of interactions.
We do not have enough research to understand how other drugs and oils interact with Marula oil.
They may be blocking its action, or enhancing it. Or they may do nothing at all to it. We simply don’t know.
MY ACNE-FIGHTING FACE-CARE ROUTINE
Here is a detailed breakdown of my own face care routine aimed at reducing acne flare-ups, and the role marula oil plays in it:
- Wash face with warm water and plain soap at 7am. I avoid moisturising soap because my skin is greasy enough as it is. So I go for plain old fashioned soap that genuinely washes away and breaks down grease on my face.
- Use exfoliating sponge. This will help in removing skin debris, which is another factor in acne flare-ups.
- Water must be warm. This will help open up skin pores and achieve good penetration of soap.
- Use smooth and deliberate circular motions when scrubbing face with exfoliating sponge. Apply gentle pressure. Rub for at least 30 seconds.
- Focus on the T-zone. This is the area where acne commonly affects the most. The cheeks and forehead.
- Rinse off the soap.
- Dry face with a face towel, making sure you apply gentle pressure. The face should be feeling much smoother now but we are not done yet.
- Wash face with a small amount of Hibiscrub. This is my antibacterial solution of choice. It inhibits bacterial growth ensuring acne flare ups are kept to a minimum.
- Rinse off hibiscrub and dry.
- Apply a small amount of the lovely Marula Oil. Skin should be silky smooth by now!
During working hours:
Carry a case of wet wipes and use every 2-3 hours. As the grease builds up on the face wet wipes are a convenient way to regularly clean this excess oil. I just carry one in my work bag and every 2-3 hours I use one.
It is also refreshing on a hot day.
My other recommendations for managing acne
As we discussed, managing acne is about keeping the level of sebum to a minimum, regularly removing dead skin cells and keeping bacteria activity to a minimum. If you can manage to do these three things, your flare ups will likely remain minimal.
However, for most people, this is so much hard work!
There is a good chance some of your flare-ups will require more aggressive treatments such as with antibiotics, even oral antibiotics. So never, be hesitant about speaking to your family physician if you think your flare-ups are worsening or becoming more frequent.
I would advise never ever “pop” any of your acne spots. And never scratch them. This is likely to leave scars, which is the most serious long-term complication of acne.
Acne is not due to eating a “greasy” or “fat rich” diet and it is not due to eating too much chocolate. These are myths with no scientific proof. Acne is primarily a hormonal condition.
As hormones peak around adolescence so does acne, and as hormones start to stabilise and slowly decline into adulthood, acne usually resolves too.
Some medicines, especially birth control pills can worsen acne, and some can actually help reduce acne. Therefore, it is worth taking this into account if you are already on these pills or you are considering starting them.
I hope you found the article useful
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Summary of the products mentioned in this article
Pharmacist formula Marula oil
Marula oil by pharmacist formula is 100% organic cold pressed Marula oil. It has been sourced from the Marula nut which is native to Southern Africa. No chemicals were used during the extraction process. The oil has undergone extensive testing and quality control in the United Kingdom.
The emphasis is always on ensuring the authenticity and nutrient profile is maintained for the final user. So I add no harmful preservatives to my Marula Oil. As marula oil is naturally stable and unfriendly to bacteria, this is largely not required.
The main additions to my Marula oil are vitamin E and apricot oil. Both are natural oils serving a specific purpose. The vitamin E improves the stability of the final product, as it is an anti-oxidant. And the apricot oil gives the product body and silkiness.
In terms of smell, my Marula oil has a lovely musky smell which is warm and inviting.
If you found this article useful, why not check out one of my other recent reviews?