There has been a bit of a buzz around pracaxi oil. Used throughout Central and Northern South America, it has gained a lot of attention in the western world, thanks to its hydrating, moisturising effect, and curative effect.
Abundant in oleic acid, behenic acid and natural antioxidants, pracaxi oil is treasured for its moisturising, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antihemorrhagic and insecticidal qualities. It can improve the skin’s look and feel by restoring its moisture level, soothing irritation, and hydrating the skin.
Learning all about it, I wanted to share my findings with you so you too can learn about its properties and how you can make the most out of its nurturing care.
- What Is Pracaxi?
- Pracaxi Oil Composition
- 10 Skin Benefits Of Pracaxi Oil
- It is naturally moisturising
- Softens the skin
- May improve appearance of pre-existing scars
- Can improve the feel and the size of scars
- Can help to relieve diaper rash
- May help to improve appearance of stretch marks
- Might improve skin hyperpigmentation naturally
- Benefits acne-prone skin
- Can possibly relieve eczema symptoms
- Has a revitalising effect
- How To Use Pracaxi Oil?
What Is Pracaxi?
Pracaxi, also known as Pentaclethra macroloba, is a canopy tree that thrives in Central and Northern South America’s wet tropical regions. You could find it dispersed along the rivers with soil flooded for a prolonged period of the year or near swamps. The tiny purple flowers produce pods that split once matured, with seeds scattering around the trees. Many of them fall into the water, where they survive thanks to the air pockets allowing them to float.
Pentaclethra macroloba is important to the region as it benefits the local economy in a number of ways.
- Wood is utilised to make furniture and in construction.
- Bark, known for its antiseptic, emetic and styptic properties, is used to relieve various ailments. Internally, it helps relieve diarrhoea, stomach ulcers and aches. Externally, it is remedial as a wash on snakebites, sores, mosquito bites, sprains, cuts, bruises, and much more.
- The leaves help with chickenpox and measles.
- Seeds, a great source of fatty acids, are pressed for oil. Gathered from the wild by native people, pracaxi seeds have long been used to soften the skin and add shine to hair. With more information readily available about the oil’s benefits, pracaxi has gained quite a bit of attention among the natural skincare and haircare formulators.
Interesting fact, “Pracaxi oil is a natural oil with one of the highest concentrations of behenic acid”.
The oil is made using the cold-pressed method, where yellow oil is extracted at room temperature from seeds using a hydraulic press. The cold-press process is gentle and results in a higher quality oil. It preserves oil’s nutrients and bioactive compounds, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that would be otherwise damaged if exposed to heat.
Pracaxi Oil Composition
Abundant in oleic, behenic, lignoceric and linoleic fatty acid (totalling about 96%), pracaxi oil is a light, deeply moisturising emollient with a pleasant nutty fragrance. Abundant in polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, the pracaxi oil can nourish, repair, and replenish the lipid skin barrier while protecting the skin from environmental damage.
When it comes to fatty acids, their function, composition and health benefits vary. Let’s look at the notable compounds found in pracaxi oil and how they can be of help.
- Oleic acid (Omega 9) is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing effect. It can nourish, repair, and replenish the lipid skin barrier, protecting it against environmental stressors.
- Behenic acid. Soothing and moisturising, behenic acid protects the skin’s natural barrier, hydrates, and restores sebum, the skin’s natural oil. Highly suitable for dry and sensitive skin.
- Linoleic acid (Omega 6) is a multifunctional skin treat. It is recognised for its anti-inflammatory, skin-lightening, and moisturising effect, and linoleic acid is a soothing emollient that softens the skin.
- Phenolic compounds, natural antioxidants, can penetrate through the skin and gained a lot of attention due to their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing effects.
- β-carotene (vitamin A) and α-tocopherol (vitamin E) are highly effective Lipophilic antioxidants that can protect the cell membranes from lipid oxidation.
10 Skin Benefits Of Pracaxi Oil
Our skin is an amazing multifunctional organ that performs a number of functions. It keeps our body content together, eliminates waste and toxins, protects us from external threats, regulates our body temperature and acts as an environmental barrier. If I were to put it in simple terms, our skin keeps the good stuff in and eliminates anything that’s bad for us.
Plant oils, such as pracaxi oil, have been used throughout history for their remedial effect on the skin. Either for their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects or promote wound healing, and repair the skin barrier.
Abundant in fatty acids and antioxidants, pracaxi oil is remedial in treating dry skin, scars, burns, diaper rash, and hyperpigmentation, improving skin appearance and texture.
Let’s look at the incredible skin benefits of pracaxi oil in more detail.
It is naturally moisturising
We all go through periods in our life when our skin might feel dry and tired. Although a healthy lifestyle can do wonders for glowing skin, a healthy skin barrier can help your skin looking at its best.
Our skin’s lipid levels decrease as we age, allowing the water to escape and leaving our skin dry. Therefore, maintaining the skin’s moisture barrier healthy is vital for it to retain moisture. Oleic acid and behenic acid found in pracaxi oil work together, helping restore the skin’s lipid barrier, locking the moisture in and restoring the moisture level.
Softens the skin
Our skin might be one of the hardest working and most vulnerable organs in our body, and do we put it through the hoops. Not only we put it through the hoops, but often than not, we neglect to look after it. In doing so, we invite common ailments, such as hardness, to plague it. It’s time to listen to what your skin is telling you and start looking after it.
Oils, in general, are natural emollients that soften and smooth the skin. Fatty acids in pracaxi oil mimic the natural lipids found in our skin and sink in between the cells to create smoother skin, leaving it soft and silky to touch. If your skin is dry, pracaxi oil can do marvels for you.
May improve appearance of pre-existing scars
Accidents happen. Trips and falls are an unfortunate part of life, leaving many with scars and worrying about their appearance. Here, pracaxi oil offers hope. A small study result, a topical medicine that included a combination of 1% pentoxifylline, 1% caffeine, and 1% tranilast in topical compounded anhydrous silicone base containing pracaxi oil, helped to soften the scars and reduce the redness—improving the overall appearance.
Can improve the feel and the size of scars
Your skin is an intricate organ continually exposed to potential injury; hence, your ability to heal is vital for you to survive. Unfortunately, injuries can leave many with scars, with scar’s severity depending on factors such as the accident’s seriousness, how fast the wound feels, age, ethnicity or even part of the body.
In the healing process, oleic, behenic and linoleic fatty acids are indispensable to forming and maintaining the skin’s outer layer. Applying pracaxi oil combined with other compounds has improved wound closure, the scars’ thickness and colouration.
Can help to relieve diaper rash
If your baby is fussy and you spot red, tender-looking skin on their bum or thighs, there is a good chance she or he might have developed a nappy rash. The mild nappy rash might not bother the baby that much; however, if it gets worst, you might find yourself with a very uncomfortable tike on your hands.
Fatty acids in pracaxi oil have lubricant, emollient, and anti-inflammatory qualities. A small study, applying pracaxi oil to the skin has shown to help restore the skin’s natural oils and protect the skin, easing pain and discomfort.
May help to improve appearance of stretch marks
Stretch marks can appear anywhere. Your breasts, upper arms, belly, bum or thighs. If you are a woman, had a baby and experienced drastic changes in your weight, there is a good chance you have a stretch mark or two. Even though they aren’t painful or harmful, it’s rather hard to wear them well with a bikini suit.
Although stretch marks usually fade with time, no treatment can make them disappear entirely. Traditionally, amazonian women apply pracaxi oil during pregnancy and after birth to reduce the chance of developing them. Still, there is no conclusive evidence it works.
Might improve skin hyperpigmentation naturally
Brown patches, uneven skin tone and dull-looking skin are common signs of hyperpigmentation (a condition causing the skin to turn darker). Usually harmless, hyperpigmentation is a cosmetic condition caused by sun damage, pregnancy hormones, medications, melasma, insulin resistance and skin trauma.
Naturally abundant in fatty acids and β-carotene, pracaxi oil’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties might help reduce hyperpigmentation symptoms and improving the skin’s overall tone.
If you struggle with hyperpigmentation, I urge you to visit Rainforest Chica’s website. Her cold-pressed pracaxi oil is of superb quality, with many customers reporting improvement in their skin tone and appearance.
Benefits acne-prone skin
Despite a wildly spread belief that poor hygiene and dirt cause acne, that is not true. Acne develops due to hair follicles getting clogged with sebum (our body’s natural oil) and dead skin cells. If left untreated, the pores might become infected and cause inflammation. Hormonal imbalances, medications such as anabolic steroids or androgens, sugar and stress can worsen things.
Pracaxi oil can improve scar appearance and reduce redness in acne-prone skin thanks to its anti-inflammation and remedial effect. Combined with retinol and azelaic acid, this combo can help you flatten the acne mark and even out the skin tone.
Can possibly relieve eczema symptoms
Dry, itchy and cracked skin are common symptoms of atopic eczema. Common mostly in children, it can also develop in adults. The seriousness of eczema varies from person to person. In comparison, some people might experience small patches of dry skin on their hands, backs of their knees, or the elbows’ insides. Others may battle widespread inflammation.
Thanks to its natural anti-inflammatory properties, pracaxi oil may improve eczema symptoms. When applied to the skin, naturally emollient pracaxi oil can reduce water loss and create a protective film. It will help the skin feel less dry and may reduce redness and itching during flare-ups.
Has a revitalising effect
In today’s society, flawless skin symbolises beauty, youth, wealth, and status. However, with age, our skin loses its plumpness. It loses its elasticity and might appear saggy, tired, filled with fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes.
Incorporating pracaxi oil into your skincare can help restore skin’s elasticity, reduce transepidermal water loss, and softening lines and wrinkles. Leaving the skin softened, smooth and revitalised.
How To Use Pracaxi Oil?
Applying oils to the skin offers many benefits. The Egyptians, Greek and Romans, for instance, used oils to clean their skin. Oils to clean the skin? Absolutely! The oil cleansing requires applying oil (instead of soap) to clear away dirt and dead skin cells without depleting the skin of its moisture.
Smearing a layer of oil on your skin might be the last thing you’d want to do, especially if your skin is oily. But, hear me out here; this approach works. Particularly for dry skin when it comes to pracaxi oil as it is high in oleic acid.
You can use a number of methods when it comes to oil cleansing; here are my favourite two.
Interesting fact: Pracaxi oil is also known as “sutra de mata (jungle suture)” due to its restorative skin properties.
Method number 1
- Apply a good amount of oil into your hands and rub them together. Apply oil to the skin on your face and neck, massaging it to the skin thoroughly.
- Place a damp, hot washcloth on the skin for about a minute or two; the washcloth shouldn’t be too hot as you could burn yourself. This step will allow your skin’s pores to open and loosen any dirt and dead cells.
- Once ready, use the washcloth to wipe off excess oil, and voila! Your skin will feel soft and supple after a few minutes.
Method number 2
Use a combination of oil and hydrosol or water in your palms. Rub them rigorously to blend and apply to the skin. Continue as per step two and three above.
Although pracaxi oil is a well-known ingredient in hair care, it undoubtedly benefits the skin too. It is rich in antioxidants and healthy fatty acids in addition to being highly dense and nourishing. Whether you choose to include this highly viscous, healthful oil into your skincare or hair care, you will benefit from its nurturing touch.
What is the pracaxi oil comedogenic rating?
Pracaxi oils score 3, meaning there is a good chance it might clog your pores. Instead, you might like to try blackberry seed oil, cloudberry seed oil, or strawberry seed oil which are much lighter. The comedogenic rating tells you how likely an oil is to clog pores, ranging from 1 to 5. Oils that range between 1 to 2 on the comedogenic scale are less likely to clog pores. In contrast, oils that score 3 and above are more likely to clog pores and cause acne breakouts.
What is the pracaxi oil shelf life?
If you take good care of it, pracaxi oil can last as long as 24 months. The shelf life of pracaxi oil will depend on how it’s stored, looked after and the size of the container you keep them in. To extend its shelf life, keep it in the dark spot, tightly capped and possibly refrigerated.
Where to buy pracaxi oil?
With demand for pracaxi oil steadily increasing in the last few years, many suppliers keep the oil in stock. Yet, before you hit the buy button, consider the quality, smell, composition, shelf life of the oil, and the brand’s reputation. Plus, you want to be sure it’s suitable for your skin type. One of my favourite suppliers at the moment is Rainforest Chica. Her products are of exquisite quality and sourced with sustainability in mind. Check out her website for many glowing reviews.
- Case Series: The Effectiveness of Fatty Acids from Pracaxi Oil in a Topical Silicone Base for Scar and Wound Therapy
- Composition, thermal behaviour and antioxidant activity of pracaxi (Pentaclethra macroloba) seed oil obtained by supercritical CO2
- Wound Healing and Skin Regeneration
- Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils