We're starting a new segment here at Ode to Self that'll highlight the ingredients that we use in our beloved products and that helps you to better understand the "why" behind the formula.
To kick things off, we're discussing Cape Chestnut Oil, a.k.a. Yangu oil from the motherland: Africa.
Yangu oil comes from the seeds of the Cape Chestnut tree, which can be found in the Cape in South Africa. The Cape Chestnut tree also tends to grow in other parts of Africa, too. From Kenya, to Tanzania, Zimbabwe, to Drakensberg Mountains and forests in Port Elizabeth to Cape Town.
The Cape Chestnut tree produces gorgeous pink flowers and dry fruit capsules, from which the seeds of those fruits are cultivated to produce the oil that is heavily used in African skin care traditions.
Yangu seed oil is comprised of essential fatty acids that help to nourish the skin, as well as antioxidants that help protect the skin from free radicals. Think of free radicals as free scavengers that like to wreak havoc on the town and cause chaos. Once free radicals have caused chaos on the skin, it results in irritation, dullness, premature aging, and exposes your skin to more damage from environmental factors such as the sun, air, and other pollutants.
The fatty acids that make up the composition of this lovely oil is Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid, and Linoleic Acid.
To break it down even further let's look at the benefits of each acid for the skin.
Palmitic Acid functions as an emollient for the skin, which helps to soften and soothe the skin. Palmitic acid also acts as an occlusive agent, as occlusive agents form a film on the skin to help lock in moisture. Therefore, this helps to keep the skin hydrated and moisturized.
Stearic Acid helps to protect the skin's surface by forming a moisture barrier; protecting the skin against water loss and essentially "beefing up" your skin's protective barrier.
Oleic Acid is as it sounds: oily. It's good for those with deeply dry skin that is irritated, cracked, or matured--especially for those with eczema, psoriasis, and flaky skin. It deeply penetrates into the skin's dermis to replenish moisture that is lost that comes with age. Oleic acid also has free radical fighting capabilities, while also remaining non-comedogenic, as oleic acid mimics the oil that's already found in our skin's cells--resulting in a more youthful, hydrated appearance.
Linoleic Acid has anti-inflammatory properties, while helping the skin cell turnover/regeneration process. Our bodies don't product linoleic acid, but it's essential for healthy skin, even though it doesn't penetrate as deeply as Oleic Acid does.
Yangu Oil is a powerhouse ingredient that we included in our Dusk Body oil formula because of the mega-properties that it houses.
When combined with all of the other ingredients in Dusk, the synergistic effect it has in healing, moisturizing, and soothing is like none other. Then again, you'd have to try it for yourself to have the full experience.