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The active molecules that make up buriti oil.

The active molecules that make up buriti oil.

Its biochemical composition makes buriti oil a prime ally in protecting the skin and hair from photoaging associated with free radical damage. This article outlines its main constituents and their benefits in cosmetics.

Published January 11, 2022, updated on February 12, 2024, by Maylis, Chemical Engineer — 4 min read

A few words on buriti vegetable oil.

The buriti (Mauritia flexuosa), also known as the moriche palm and aguaje, is a palm tree native to the Amazonian tropical forests and belongs to the Arecaceae family. Its edible fruits are highly appreciated by the natives. Buriti oil is extracted by cold pressing the pulp contained in the fruits. This allows the preservation of all the active molecules that make it up.

The active molecules of buriti oil.

The numerous virtues of buriti vegetable oil in topical and hair applications are due to the active molecules that compose it:

  • The beta-carotene:

    This is a carotenoid (an orange plant pigment), a precursor of vitamin A in the human epidermis. Studies have demonstrated the photo-protective nature of this molecule. When applied topically, it contributes to the protection of DNA against the harmful effects of the sun's UVB rays. Moreover, beta-carotene has the ability to stimulate the synthesis of melanin, a skin pigment responsible for the brown colour of the skin and thus for tanning.

    Note : Caution! Buriti oil does not replace a broad-spectrum sunscreenand should rather be used in addition to it.

  • Fatty acids:

    The buriti vegetable oil is rich in fatty acids essential such as linoleic acid (omega-6), oleic acid (omega-9), palmitic acid and stearic acid. These compounds provide nutrition and elasticity to the skin and restore the hydrolipidic film. In addition, oleic acid is a lipid that is part of the composition of sebum, a substance naturally secreted by the body to counteract skin and hair dryness. It stimulates the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. The buriti vegetable oil is thus qualified as relipidating, it is recommended for taking care of dry and dehydrated skin and hair.

  • Vitamin E:

    Tocopherol is a powerful natural antioxidant. It protects the skin and hair from the assaults of free radicals, which are reactive oxygen species naturally produced by the body but produced in excess when cells are faced with a stress. The sources of stress are numerous, the main ones being UV exposure, pollution, smoking, a diet too rich in fats and/or sugars. Free radicals are particularly unstable molecules due to their single electron. They tend to react with other molecules to form a pair of electrons, and then cause damage to cells, DNA and the body's proteins. They are notably involved in lipid peroxidation, a degradation reaction of the constituents of cell membranes. Ageing is thus accelerated and wrinkles appear on the skin's surface. Buriti oil is therefore a choice ally to prevent skin ageing and fight against the appearance and/or accentuation of wrinkles.


  • ZILIO S. C. & al. Characterization of buriti (Mauritia flexuosa L.) oil by absorption and emission spectroscopies. Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society (2005).

  • ANTILLE C. Rétinoïdes et caroténoïdes : Métabolisme dans la peau humaine après application topique et rôle dans la photoprotection. Thèse présentée à la Faculté de Médecine de l’Université de Genève (2007).


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