Extreme Beauty: Emu oil
Each fortnight Extreme Beauty investigates what's new and cutting edge in the battle to remain young-looking and beautiful. This week we stick our unsuspecting fingers in a pot of Emu Oil. Touted as a miracle cure we gave it a try.
Emu Oil ... sounds exotic
Not really, the oil is pretty much a waste product from large commercial Emu Farming and the oil in this particular case is harvested from the rather ample rear ends of the worlds second largest bird.
Interesting concept ... whose idea was it?
Australia's. Having all the Emu Oil they needed for saddles and leather goods someone remembered that Aboriginal Australians have found health uses for Emu fat since the world began. Traditionally the oil has been ingested for health or used locally for a range of ailments including arthritis, sunburn, bruising, joint pain and skin wounds.
How generous ... where’s the beauty?
As an internal supplement healthy bones and skin are always a bonus but for sheer naked vanity Emu Oil has a plethora of beauty applications. It's antibacterial and good for acne, seeps deep into pores helping retain moisture and it also contains oleic, linolenic and linoleic acids which are essential for skin repair. It's also a pretty useful anti-inflammatory for smoother, tighter skin and the oil also has anti-fungal properties.
Who likes it?
Demi Moore, Zac Efron and Jenny McCarthy are all said to use emu oil as a skin moisturiser and Charlize Theron uses Emu Oil for hair protection and repair. Perfect for a golden, healthy sheen.
Does it work ?
If you're looking for actual concrete evidence on the benefits of Emu Oil you might be looking for a long time. Success was reported on laboratory rodents for external usage but on humans it has been a little slower in the offing.
One beauty study identified positive beauty benefits but these placed Emu Oil only slightly above liquefied chicken fat and fish oil.
So ethereal are the claims of some in the Emu Oil Health Industry that recent adverts in relation to Emu Oil products being able to cure cancer were the subject of a US Health Watchdog article imaginatively entitled How To Spot Health Fraud.
The benefits - real or imagined?
In my case, very real. I tried pure Emu Oil which was great for my dry skin when applied after bathing. Although the oil felt quite greasy going on and took a while to absorb, it did leave my skin feeling soft and hydrated. As the composition of the oil is naturally very close to human skin, I can see why this might blend easily and get good results.
As the oil feels quite heavy it might not be the best for certain skin types - oh and did I mention the oil comes from an Emu's rear end ?
If you can get over the products origins the treatment itself isn't particularly extreme. In fact the results in my case were quite good.
Where do I buy some?
Pure Emu Oil can be bought at independent health stores or found in products like Blue Ease (€12.99 Holland and Barrett) or Margaret Dabbs Intensive Treatment Foot Oil (€27 from Brown Thomas).