Moisturiser fact sheet
The skin is the biggest organ of the human body, and it plays a much more important role than you might imagine.
Human skin is composed of an outer layer, the epidermis, and an underlying layer of fibrous tissue, the dermis. Beneath the dermis is a layer of subcutaneous fat.
There are two kinds of skin, essentially hairy and non hairy and both play important roles. Nails are formed from the epidermis on the fingers and toes; oil glands (sebaceous glands) are found attached to hair follicles; sweat glands are found in the dermis with ducts passing to the surface through the epidermis; in certain areas such as the axilla and groin there are specialised sweat glands called apocrine glands which develop after puberty. In addition there are specialised sense organs and nerves, blood vessels and other tissues such as muscle, which make the skin one of the most complex organs in the body.
With these specialist modifications the skin fulfils many functions. These include a barrier function to protect the body from the environment, a temperature regulator, an immune organ to detect infections, a sensory organ to detect temperature, touch, vibration, and a visible signal for social and sexual communication. Without many of these functions we simply could not survive, and even slight deteriorations in its function can lead to serious health issues.
It is clear to see that the skin is important for our overall well-being and it is vital that we look after it properly and give it the attention it needs.
Keeping the skin clean is important to prevent infections and odours but washing can, particularly in people with a tendency to dry skin already, cause loss of oil in the outer layers of the skin and provoke dermatitis. Similarly, chemicals such as petrol, white spirit and detergents can cause dry and damaged skin leading to hand dermatitis. This is a large cause of illness related to occupation; people particularly at risk are those who have their hands in and out of water a lot, such as hairdressers, nurses, mechanics etc. The young and the elderly have more sensitive skin because their barrier is less well formed. People who have had eczema, asthma or hay fever as children are more prone to these problems in adult life.
Emu oil is a 100% natural remedy that has been used in Aboriginal medicine for centuries. The oil has now become famous around the Globe for its powerful soothing properties and its popularity as one of the most effective natural remedies available is growing quickly.
Emu oil is thought to have a very similar fatty acid make-up to that of human skin meaning that, unlike some other oils, it is very effectively and quickly absorbed, and penetrates below the surface. This enables emu oil to effectively add and retain moisture within the skin more readily than other oils. Importantly comedogencity (pore clogging) tests have shown that emu oil has a score of less than 1, which means that whilst it acts as a moisturiser it doesn't have a tendency to clog up pores and cause irritation.
The fatty acids found in emu oil are known to be important in keeping skin healthy and act as nutrients to aid the maintenance of healthy skin. Furthermore emu oil is seen to contain varying amounts of naturally occurring anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are known to help combat oxygen free radicals. Oxygen free radicals are molecules produced by the body through the process of metabolism and they also occur in the environment. They can attack skin cells and are thought to be the main culprits that cause aging skin. Anti-oxidants however are thought to help reduce the effects of these radicals and may play an important role in keeping skin healthy.
1. Lopez A, Sims DE, Ablett RF, Skinner RE, Leger LW, Lariviere CM; Jamieson LA, Martinez BJ, Zawadzka GG Effect of emu oil on auricular inflammation induced with croton oil in mice. Am J Vet Res. Dec;1999;60 (12):1558-1561
2. Whitehouse MW, Turner AG, Davis CKC, Roberts MS Emu Oil(s): A source of non-toxic transdermal anti-inflammatory agents in aboriginal medicine. Inflammopharmacology. March,1998;6(1) 1-8
3. Snowden JM, Whitehouse MW Anti-inflammatory activity of emu oils in rats. Inflammopharmacology-1997;5(2)127-132
4. Snowden JM., O'Malley PJ. Ellis TM Emu Oil It's Anti-Inflammatory Properties. A report for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, October 1999