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Composition huile d'abricot

What is the composition of apricot oil?

Apricot oil is a popular vegetable oil in the realm of skincare. It is particularly appreciated for use in massages due to its soft texture and fruity scent. Moreover, apricot oil is a natural ingredient that offers numerous benefits for the skin. These benefits stem from its composition, which is rich in bioactive molecules. What are these compounds? Let's discover them together.

Apricot oil is rich in oleic acid.

The predominant compound in apricot oil is oleic acid. This is a monounsaturated fatty acid present in the oil at a level of 60 to 70%. This omega-9 can also be found in the sebum synthesised by the sebaceous glands of the dermis. A friend to sensitive and dehydrated skin, oleic acid acts as a moisturising and protective film on the skin's surface to keep it insulated from external aggressions such as wind or cold. It also has regenerative properties and stimulates the repair of damaged skin tissues.

Furthermore, oleic acid has a genuine interest in cases of redness or skin irritation. Indeed, several studies have shown that this fatty acid can both activate certain anti-inflammatory cytokines while down-regulating the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Finally, oleic acid is a good antioxidant that stimulates the expression of catalase and superoxide dismutase, antioxidant enzymes in the body.

The apricot oil contains linoleic acid.

A natural constituent of cellular membranes, linoleic acid is also present in apricot oil and accounts for 20 to 30% of its composition. This polyunsaturated fatty acid plays a crucial role in maintaining the skin's impermeable barrier and contributes to the formation of the stratum corneum. This is why it is so appreciated by individuals with dry skin prone to feelings of tightness. Moreover, linoleic acid is a precursor in the synthesis pathways of several mediators that are highly active in neoangiogenesis and dermal regeneration. Linoleic acid is an omega-6 partly responsible for the nourishing, hydrating and healing properties of apricot oil.

Apricot oil contains palmitic acid.

A natural emollient, palmitic acid is a saturated fatty acid accounting for 5 to 8% of the composition of apricot oil. This molecule possesses film-forming properties that allow it to strengthen the hydrolipidic film naturally present on the surface of the epidermis. Half aqueous, half oily, this film is nourished by the sebum synthesised by the sebaceous glands and the sweat produced by the sweat glands. It plays a crucial role in skin protection and limits water loss. Palmitic acid is thus an ally for skin lacking hydration.

Apricot oil, an oil containing stearic acid.

We find just under 3% of stearic acid in apricot oil. This is a saturated fatty acid that plays a complementary role to that of palmitic acid. Indeed, it has a similar film-forming action that allows it to contribute to the maintenance and effectiveness of the hydrolipidic film. Moreover, stearic acid is a natural constituent of the stratum corneum, whose structure is fragile in people with dry skin. Thus, it is an interesting ingredient for these individuals.

The apricot oil contains phytosterols.

In the fraction of apricot oil deemed unsaponifiable, we find other active ingredients with interesting cosmetic properties such as phytosterols. These plant sterols have good water capture and retention capabilities and are healing. Several studies have highlighted their impact on the growth factor of fibroblasts, responsible for the secretion of collagen and elastin, proteins essential to the formation of scar tissue.

Furthermore, phytosterols are effective anti-inflammatory agents. They inhibit the activity of cyclooxygenase (COX) and lipoxygenase (LOX), two enzymes that play a key role in the production of chemical mediators of inflammation. Finally, the chemical structure of phytosterols allows them to donate an electron to free radicals, which stabilises them and prevents them from acting. This action helps to prevent damage caused by oxidative stress to cell membranes and to preserve the integrity of skin cells and tissues.

Apricot oil contains carotenoids.

Apricot oil contains carotenoids, specifically β-carotene. This plant pigment is responsible for the amber colour of the oil. It also has cosmetic properties and is particularly praised for its antioxidant potential. The chemical structure of β-carotene indeed allows it to trap free radicals before they can damage the constituents of the skin. β-carotene is also attributed with photoprotective properties. It is true that these have been demonstrated in several in vitro studies, however, in topical application, the concentration required to obtain these benefits is much higher than that found in apricot oil.

Vitamin E is present in apricot oil.

Another key active ingredient in apricot oil, Vitamin E, ensures its stability against oxidation and acts as a free radical scavenger. Indeed, the free hydroxyl function carried by the aromatic cycle of Vitamin E allows it to capture these unstable compounds and stabilise them by providing the missing electron. The free radicals then become less reactive and the rate of oxidation of the apricot oil is slowed. Moreover, skin cells, normally impacted by oxidation, are preserved, which contributes to slowing down natural skin ageing and the appearance of wrinkles. Vitamin E is also useful in the hair care field as free radicals weaken hair fibres, hastening their fall and the appearance of grey hair.

Sources

  • ANSTEY A. Systemic photoprotection with alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and beta-carotene. Photoprotection with alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene (2002).

  • VERMA A. & al. Studies on the physico-chemical characteristics and fatty acid composition of wild apricot (Prunus armeniaca Linn.) kernel oil. Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources (2012).

  • QADIR R. & al. Cold pressed apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) kernel oil. Cold Pressed Oils (2020).

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