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Burití Oil: A Natural Sunscreen Booster?

Buriti fruit

We all have heard about the importance of spending less time in the hot sun for apparent reasons. Sunburn hurts. Not only that, careless exposure to hot sun rays increases your chance of skin cancer. So, the cosmetic industry incorporates sunscreen filters into the products to keep our skin safe. Yet, many of them contain synthetic ingredients that aren’t necessarily harmless. Except you already know that if you are reading this post. The question is: What makes burití oil special?

Rich in Vitamin A, E, and monounsaturated fatty acids, burití oil is a natural SPF booster. High in antioxidants, the oil can help protect the skin from UV radiation, reduce inflammation and aid the skin’s recovery affected by exposure to the sun while keeping the skin nourished. 

As the cosmetic industry increasingly accommodates natural ingredients in their formulations, burití oil shows promise in recent research as a natural sunscreen element. Let’s look at burití oil origins, composition and how it can naturally help you on your quest to a beautifully tanned skin safely.   

Please note: Burití oil cannot be used as a standalone sun protection ingredient. It can work only as an SPF booster.

What Is Burití?

Burití palm or Moriche palm, also known as Mauritia Flexuosa, is a palm tree native to the Amazon rainforest. Indigenous to South America, the palm can reach from 20m to 35m in height and 30cm to 50cm in diameter, with large leaves crowning its top. A burití palm lives a long, fertile life, bearing 40 to 360kg of fruit per year. The fruit is oval with a striated bark of reddish or dark brown colour. The fruit pulp is deep yellow due to its high content of Vitamin C.

Burití fruit plays a vital role in the diet of indigenous people. Vitamin A, C, E, and fatty acids present in the fruit keep the Amazonians well-nourished. Furthermore, micronutrients found in the fruit play an essential role in protecting the skin from oxidative stress and aiding the skin’s recovery from sun exposure. 

Interesting fact: Burití palm tree is also known as the tree of life.

Habitat: Spread throughout Amazonia, the palm prefers swamps, wetlands, seasonally flooded forests, stream banks and riversides. It is common in Brazil and humid savannahs of Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, and Bolivia.

Traditional use: The burití palm tree offers multiple uses. 

  • Rich in Vitamin A, C, and E, the burití fruit pulp is an essential nutrient source in the indigenous population’s diet. Locals turn the juicy fruit pulp into tasty juice, jam, sweets, ice cream, ice lollies, and various desserts. 
  • Oil from the palm seeds is high in lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid used in the cosmetics industry to produce soaps and shampoos
  • The oil from fruit pulp is high in oleic acid and is a staple culinary ingredient.  
  • Leaves make for natural organic fertiliser
  • Leaves have various uses, often turned into cords, baskets, mats, hats, sandals and hammocks. The palm stem is light and soft, suitable for manufacturing toys, toilet paper and birdcages. 
  • The trunk of the palm tree is sturdy and proved helpful in the construction industry.
  • The burití oil is essential in the traditional medical treatment of burns, diarrhoea and bowel problems

Burití Oil Composition

Derived from the fruit of Mauritia Flexuosaburití oil is a smooth, light emollient abundant in monosaturated fatty acids, vitamin A and E. Sumptuously orange with a pleasant nutty fragrance, it is a highly restorative oil that absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it silky smooth. That makes it a popular ingredient in creams, balms and other skincare products. 

QUICK FACTS

INCI: Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil
Common names: Aguaje oil
Common extraction method: Traditionally, burití oil is extracted from the pulp of Mauritia Flexuosa fruit using the cold-pressed method.
Appearance: Smooth, viscous orange oil.
Fragrance: Very mild.
Absorption rate: The oil absorbs relatively quickly, leaving behind a slight oily feeling.
Recommended usage: In skin care formulations, it is used at about 2%.
Substitute: Tucuma oil would make a great substitute as it is very similar in composition.
Storage: Store in a cool, dark, dry container, away from the sunlight.

Let’s take a look at some of the notable compounds found in this precious oil:

Fatty acids: Oleic, palmitic and linoleic fatty acids are the primary fatty acids found in burití oil. Essential fatty acids, such as Omega 6, are part of the skin’s composition and perform many functions. As building blocks of cell membranes, fatty acids stimulate collagen fibres’ regeneration and restore the skin’s elasticity and firmness. Let’s look closer look at their role in skincare. 

  • Oleic acid (C18:1)Omega 9, is a monosaturated fatty acid that leaves the skin well hydrated and moisturised. Also known for its anti-inflammatory effect, oleic acid found in the oil account for over 70% of lipids found in burití oil.
  • Palmitic acid (C16:0) is a saturated fatty acid that helps the skin repair its natural barrier structure. As an emollient, palmitic acid forms a protective layer keeping the skin protected from external threats. A best friend to dry skin and hair. 
  • Linoleic acid (C18:2), Omega 6, is an essential fatty acid known for its anti-inflammatory properties, supporting the skin’s barrier function and moisturising effect. 

Vitamins: Burití oil is notable for its content of:

  • Beta-carotene (Vitamin A): It is a carotenes member, an orange pigment abundantly found in burití fruit. Our bodies convert beta carotene into an essential vitamin A, a vital nutrient for growth, reproduction, and cell regeneration. 
  • Alpha-tocopherol (Vitamin E): Burití oil is abundant in vitamin E, a fat-soluble antioxidant crucial for maintaining healthy skin that has shown to prevent damage caused by free radicals. Also, it is an anti-inflammatory agent that can help to reduce swelling caused by UV radiation. 

Attributes: Burití oil is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.

Did you knowBuriti contains 30mg of carotene per 100g of pulp, which is 20 times more than the equivalent weight of carrots?”

Fruit trees and useful plants in Amazonian life

Skin Care Benefits

Our skin is the largest organ in the body and fulfils many functions. It keeps our body content together, eliminates waste and toxins, regulates our body temperature. But it also acts as an environmental barrier to protect us from external threats such as UV radiation. Although UV radiation benefits us by manufacturing vitamin D and endorphins in the skin, prolonged exposure to sunlight can be damaging. 

Applying sunscreen lotion can absorb most UV radiation; however, some UVA and UVB rays may still reach the skin. The skin protects itself by deploying antioxidants to prevent and eliminate damage caused by free radicals. That, however, may imbalance pro-oxidant substances, creating oxidative stress. Hence, leading to inflammation, photoaging and skin cancer, among others. 

Burití oil has been used throughout history by the native Amazonian population for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. Abundant in fatty acids and antioxidants, the oil can help repair the skin barrier, improving skin appearance and texture. 

Let’s look at how burití oil can benefit your skin. 

  • Efficient emollient: Lack of water in our skin makes it dry, causing it to crack, flake or peel off, leaving open spaces between the skin cells. Burití oil, a natural emollient, fills gaps with lipids, making your skin smoother, softer, and hydrated. Rich in oleic, palmitic and linoleic fatty acid, burití oil suits very well dry and mature skin. 
  • Natural sunscreen booster: Due to its ability to absorb UVB radiation, burití oil is a popular ingredient in today’s cosmetics. In skincare products, burití oil acts as a sun filter to protect the skin from sunburn, premature ageing, and sunspots’ appearance.  
  • Reduces redness and lightens dark spots caused by sun exposure.  Burití oil is packed with beta-carotene (vitamin A), a powerful antioxidant that can help protect the skin from ultraviolet B radiation. Overall, burití oil aids the skin’s recovery from sun exposure by providing relief, reducing redness, and lightening dark spots caused by sun exposure. Its soothing qualities make burití oil effective in after-sun care.
  • Can decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles: The sun’s ultraviolet rays penetrate the skin damaging the elastic fibres that keep skin firm, allowing wrinkles to develop. Naturally rich in fatty acid and beta-carotene, burití oil can help restore the skin’s elasticity by stimulating the regeneration of collagen fibres, leaving you with firmer and radiant-looking skin.

How To Use It

Who doesn’t enjoy time out in the sun on a nice sunny day? Especially after long winter. Yet, don’t forget that your skin will require gentle, soothing care to ease inflammation and restore its moisture. 

If you’re planning to use burití oil, a few drops will go a long way. You can either apply it directly to your skin or mix it with your favourite moisturiser. 

Apply the oil or moisturiser within three minutes of getting out of the shower or bathtub while your skin is still moist. Gently pat yourself dry, then apply by dabbing some on your skin, then gently rubbing it in. 

For the best results, apply burití oil between two to four times a day. To enhance its remedial effect, pick beauty products that already contain burití oil. 

Tip: To enjoy the oil for a longer, store burití oil in a dark glass bottle and in a dark, dry place to prevent light exposure and the oil going rancid.

Note: Burití oil will stain fabrics before it absorbs fully into the skin. I would keep white linen miles away. If your skin is darker, burití oil will give your skin a beautiful glow. However, if your skin is light brown or really light white like mine, I would highly recommend blending the oil with another carrier oil before use. 

Summary

Abundant in vitamins A, E, and its unique fatty-acid composition plays a vital role in maintaining the skin’s overall health. It is the ability to protect the skin’s barrier, repair damaged cell, restore moisture and elasticity in the skin makes it a highly sought after emollient. 

F&Q

Is burití oil comedogenic?

On the comedogenic scale from 0 to 5, burití oil is 2. Although the oil is suitable for all types, it particularly suits mature and dry skin. Beta-carotene and essential fatty acids can reduce the discomfort of dry skin, and at the same time, help to restore moisture without clogging the pores of the skin. 

What is burití oil used for?

Abundant in Vitamin A, E, and monounsaturated fatty acids, burití oil is a versatile natural ingredient suitable for facial lotion and moisturiser, hydrating shampoos, sunscreens and after-sun care products. 

References:

  1. Minor components in oils obtained from Amazonian palm fruits
  2. Topical action of Buriti oil (Mauritia flexuosa L.) in myositis induced in rats
  3. Vitamin A Exerts a Photoprotective Action in Skin by Absorbing Ultraviolet B Radiation
  4. UV Radiation and the Skin
  5. Fruit trees and useful plants in Amazonian life

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