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Pataua oil has emerged as a popular beauty find, thanks to its multiple skin and hair benefits. It is derived from the fruit of the palm tree called Oenocarpus bataua, which is indigenous to the tropical rainforest areas of northern and southern America. (1)
Pataua oil is known by a variety of names such as patawa, seje, milpesos, trupa, komboe, and chapel. (2)
Pataua oil has been used in cooking, cosmetics, and traditional medicine, because of its richness in oleic acid, sterols, carotenoids, tocopherols, and amino acids. It is also a potent source of antioxidants. (3) The roots of the palm tree are also used to combat diarrhea, worms, headache, and stomach disorders. (4)
The oil is similar to olive oil and was once a brisk trade item. The purple, protein-rich juice is consumed in both rural and urban areas. (5)
This article will focus on the beauty benefits of pataua oil and what makes it so good for your skin and hair.
Why Is Pataua Oil So Trendy Nowadays for Beauty?
Rich in oleic acid and a source of antioxidants, pataua oil is very common in certain types of cosmetics such as soaps and shampoos, and its fatty acids such as oleic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acids have rejuvenating or healing properties, making it as a remarkable natural oil.
Pataua oil is a storehouse of some powerful active components needed for cosmetic purposes. (3) Not only does it contain a variety of beneficial fatty acids, but it also boasts flavonoids and vitamins A, C, and E. (3)
This oil is on the skin and hair care radar as it works extremely well for persons suffering from dry skin, scalp, and hair. (3)
Benefits of Pataua Oil for the Skin
Pataua oil contains plenty of oleic acid, which is a fatty acid that provides intensive moisture to the skin. It is a great emollient for severely dry skin.
It is absorbed readily into the skin without being heavy or greasy, and thus it can be used by people of all skin types. (3)
Here are some reasons to include pataua oil in your skin care regimen.
1. Helps lighten skin
A research study tested various Amazonian oils for their skin-lightening properties. Açaí oil showed the best results, but pataua oil was also found to be quite effective because of its ability to curb the production of melanin, the pigment compound that gives the skin its color.
It works by inhibiting the release of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is essential for melanin synthesis. Less tyrosinase means less melanin, which leads to lighter skin.
Excessive melanin in the skin can lead to melasma, sun/age spots, and other forms of hyperpigmentation, but pataua oil can help prevent and fade these blemishes. (6)
2. Promotes skin healing
The antioxidants present in pataua oil exhibit significant anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe and repair damaged skin. (7) It can be used to make wounds heal faster and better.
Plus, it is great for relieving the skin irritation, itching, redness, and swelling associated with skin allergies and other chronic inflammatory disorders such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. (8)
3. Prevents premature skin aging
Environmental factors such as ultraviolet radiation, particularly from the sun, are a major source of free radicals in the body. These unstable molecules break down collagen and skin fibers, causing the early onset of wrinkles, fine lines, and skin sagging. (9)
The antioxidants in pataua oil not only inhibit the harmful activity of these free radicals but also help repair the skin damage done by them.
4. Hydrates the skin
The high content of oleic acid in pataua oil makes it an excellent moisturizing agent that can alleviate extreme skin dryness. (3) It is easily absorbed deep into the skin and locks in moisture without causing undue greasiness or clogged pores.
This emollient also helps prevent transepidermal water loss, thus maintaining prolonged skin hydration. (9)
Your skin needs to be properly moisturized to retain its elasticity, suppleness, and strength. Dry skin is more prone to tearing or breakage, which leads to premature signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines.
5. Calms the skin
Pataua oil is packed with antioxidants that give it strong anti-inflammatory properties. (7) Skin inflammation usually manifests in the form of skin irritation, redness, stinging, burning, and swelling.
Applying pataua oil to the affected area can help curb the underlying inflammation and thereby provide quick relief from such skin discomfort.
Benefits of Pataua Oil for the Hair
Here are some reasons to include pataua oil in your hair care routine.
1. May improve hair growth and reduce hair loss (alopecia)
Plus, it is loaded with omega-9 fatty acids, (12) vital nutrients, and antioxidants that may help nourish the hair follicles, as a result producing stronger, healthier, and shinier hair at a faster rate. (7)
Pataua oil contains a heavy dose of tocotrienols, which are chemicals that belong to the vitamin E family. (13) They are potent fat-soluble antioxidants that can help curb free radical activity.
Free radicals are unstable molecules or reactive oxygen species that are produced in the body during various metabolic processes. These molecules damage healthy cells, causing disease and premature aging. When the body produces more free radicals than it is able to neutralize, it causes oxidative stress, which adversely impacts overall health.
Research has shown that increased oxidative stress in the scalp can damage the hair follicles and weaken the hair roots, triggering hair loss. Pataua oil can supply high amounts of antioxidants to the scalp to neutralize the oxidative stress responsible for hair loss.
Moreover, a common feature among a lot of people with alopecia is that their scalp has a low antioxidant count but a high lipid peroxidation rate. Regular application of pataua oil on the scalp can help deliver more antioxidants and curb lipid peroxidation, reducing the risk of alopecia.
Lastly, tocotrienol may stimulate the growth of new hair to reverse alopecia. (14)
While some studies have shed light on the beneficial effects of pataua oil for hair growth and against hair loss, there isn’t enough direct scientific evidence to confirm these claims. More extensive and rigorous human trials are needed to conclusively establish the efficacy of pataua oil in this regard.
2. Nourishes, hydrates, and repairs the scalp and hair
Pataua oil works as a rejuvenating emollient that seeps readily into the hair and scalp to provide deep hydration and nourishment.
It is full of fatty acids, antioxidants, nutrients, and other beneficial compounds that soothe and moisturize the scalp without clogging the hair follicles. A healthy scalp supports healthy hair growth. Moreover, it conditions, strengthens, and repairs dry, damaged tresses, leaving them smooth, silky, and shiny. (15)
How to Use Pataua Oil
Here is how you can use and reap the maximum benefits of pataua oil for the skin and hair.
1. For skin care
Pataua oil can be safely used on the face, neck, or other parts of the body.
- Use a mild cleanser to wash your skin.
- Pat it dry.
- Put 2–3 drops of pataua oil on your fingers and massage it gently into your skin.
- Leave it on for as long as you want, or wash it off after 15–20 minutes with warm water.
Points to remember:
- Don’t apply too much pataua oil. A few drops should be sufficient.
- The recommended frequency of use depends on your skin type and needs. People with dry skin are advised to use pataua oil one to two nights a week. People with oily or acne-prone skin should use it less often and sparingly as the first step in their skin care routine, followed by a water-based cleanser to prevent pore blockage.
- You can combine pataua oil with other skin care products such as cleansers, moisturizers, and masks.
2. For hair care
Here are some easy ways to incorporate pataua oil into your hair care regimen:
- Mix 2–3 drops of pataua oil in your shampoo.
- Gently massage 1–2 drops of pataua oil all over your hair, from the mid-length toward the ends. Leave it overnight and then rinse it out with a mild shampoo.
- To prevent frizz, apply oil to the ends of your hair before or after styling.
How to Make Pataua Oil at Home
Follow these steps to extract pataua oil at home:
- Soak some ripe pataua fruits in hot water to soften their pulp.
- Mash the pulp and leave it for a day.
- Heat the pulp until it starts releasing a yellowish oil.
- Use a sieve to filter the oil into a container.
- Use when needed.
Nondermatological Uses of Pataua Oil
The benefits of pataua oil are not limited to skin and hair care. It has long been used in cooking and traditional medicine as well.
Pataua oil is used in cooking for:
- Frying foods
- Making a salad dressing
- Preserving meat
Pataua oil is used in folk medicine to:
- Treat tuberculosis
- Heal injuries (as an ointment)
- Soothe dry, irritated, and damaged skin (as an emollient)
- Relieve nasal congestion (16)
- Expel mucus from the respiratory airway (17)
- Stimulate bowel movement
- Treat diarrhea
- Eliminate intestinal worms
- Alleviate headaches
- Manage stomach disorders (18)(4)
Most-Asked Questions About Pataua Oil
What are some other oils that can be mixed with pataua oil?
Oils that work well with pataua oil include coconut oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, and lavender oil.
What precautions should be taken when using pataua oil?
Pataua oil is generally considered safe for topical use, but you should always do a patch test before application to rule out adverse or allergic reactions. Keep it away from your eyes and mouth.
People with preexisting allergies or medical conditions should consult their doctor before using pataua oil.
Can pataua oil be used for nail care and lip care?
According to the research conducted by Praan Naturals, pataua oil can be a useful ingredient in nail care and lip care. (15)
It is rich in fatty acids, vitamins, proteins, and antioxidants that can help hydrate, repair, and strengthen your nails. This nourishing oil may not only make your nails healthier and shinier but also make them grow faster.
Similarly, the antioxidants and oleic acid found in pataua oil can help lubricate and heal dry, cracked lips.
While these claims hold some water, there isn’t enough scientific support to confirm them conclusively.
Pataua oil is replete with oleic acid, sterols, carotenoids, tocopherols, amino acids, and antioxidants, all of which can help improve skin and hair health in different ways. (3) It is nonsticky and is absorbed quickly into the skin, scalp, or hair, leaving behind a soft and powdery finish.
Another plus point of this oil is that it serves as a vehicle to carry other active ingredients into the skin. The improved penetration of these active ingredients into the skin will, in turn, make them more effective and yield better skin benefits.