From the cold pressing of the seeds of the black currant, scientific name Ribes nigrum, an oil is extracted characterized by exceptional properties.
Blackcurrant oil, properties and topical use
Black currant oil is particularly rich in both omega 6 fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, present in a percentage of 47%, and gamma linolenic, 12%, and omega 3, such as alpha linolenic acid, 14%. Not only that, this oil also contains vitamin C and antioxidant substances, such as anthocyanins and flavonoids, able to fight free radical damage and aging processes (Drugs and lactation database, National Library of medicine, 2006). Linoleic acid protects the integrity of the skin barrier and, along with alpha linolenic acid, it acts by counteracting inflammation and accelerating wound healing (McCusker et al, Clin Dermatol, 2010).
Therefore, thanks to these characteristics, blackcurrant oil is particularly useful, for topical applications, in case of dry skin, itchy skin, skin allergies, desquamation, redness but also psoriasis and acne, in fact the oil is non-comedogenic. On the basis of scientific studies (Brod et al, Int J Cosmet Sci, 1988), applications of this oil have strengthened the protective skin barrier, thus resulting particularly useful in case of dry skin. A characteristic of dry skin is to show low levels of linoleic and palmitoleic acid and blackcurrant oil has been able to increase the presence of both of these substances. Regarding the use, blackcurrant oil is found in herbalist's shop or online and can be applied on damp skin, for example after spraying thermal water or a hydrolat.
As for the preparation of homemade creams, if you intend to use blackcurrant oil to prepare a cream, add it to the oily phase but only after you melted waxes and butters, not at the beginning of the heating process because the oil is thermolabile.
Blackcurrant oil, supplements, skin and body health
Blackcurrant oil can also be found in capsules and can be taken by mouth with benefits both in terms of skin health, by preventing or treating dry skin, and for the general wellbeing of the body. The intake of blackcurrant oil in women both during pregnancy and breastfeeding reduced the incidence of atopic dermatitis in children up to two years of age, however after this period no difference was observed compared to the group that had not taken blackcurrant, so the benefits of this supplement are beneficial, yes, but temporary (Linnamaa et al, Clin Exp Allergy, Aug 2010).
As for the action of blackcurrant oil for the health of the entire organism, its intake, by mouth, is linked to a decrease in LDL cholesterol and this effect was greater than that observed after a fish oil intake (Tahvonen et al, J Nutr, Biochem, 2005). Finally, this oil is also able to stimulate the immune system by acting on the production of prostaglandins E (2), substances that modulate the immune response (Wu et al, Am J Clin Nutr, 1999). Blackcurrant oil taken by mouth is generally considered safe, in any case if you are taking medications or if you are pregnant or are breastfeeding ask your doctor for advice before starting any treatment.