Botany: Macadamia is a genus of nine species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, with a disjunct distribution native to eastern Australia (seven species), New Caledonia (one species, M. neurophylla) and Sulawesi in Indonesia (one species, M. hildebrandii).
Macadamia are small to large evergreen trees growing to 2–12 m tall. The leaves are arranged in whorls of three to six, lanceolate to obovate or elliptical in shape, 6–30 cm long and 2–13 cm broad, with an entire or spiny-serrated margin. The flowers are produced on a long, slender, simple stem 5–30 cm long, the individual flowers are 10–15 mm long, white to pink or purple, with four tepals. The fruit is a very hard, woody, globose follicle with a pointed apex, containing one or two seeds (nuts).
History and/or folklore: An oil from the “king of nuts”, a Hawaiian emollient is reported to have properties akin to those of sebum, and helps to recapture the skin of childhood.
Products: Macadamia nut oil is the non-volatile oil expressed from the nut meat of the macadamia tree. Macadamia oil is high in palmitoleic acid, found in the sebum of our skins, and oleic acid.
Macadamias have the highest amount of beneficial mono-unsaturated fats of any known nut, but also contain approximately 22% of omega-7palmitoleic acid, which has biological effects similar to saturated fat. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, and 2% dietary fibre, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
This relatively high content of “cushiony” palmitoleic acid plus macadamia’s high oxidative stability make it a desirable ingredient in cosmetics, especially for skin care.
Macadamia nut fixed oil
Traditional use: The oil effectively hydrates dry and rough skin and reduces the appearance of the fine lines including those around the eyes. It is ideal for use where penetration and lubrication are essential. The oil therefore makes a pleasant massage oil and it has a long shelf life. It shows excellent absorbency with a protective barrier that does not clog the pores of the skin. It is easily removed by soapy water. The oil is used in products that afford protection from the aging effects of the sun. In hair care it is utilised in brilliantine and hot oil conditioning treatments. It is a highly nourishing and emollient oil recommended for dry and mature skin. Studies have shown that the level of palmitoleic acid in the skin of people suffering from psoriasis is about half that of healthy individual. This would seem to indicate that the replenishment of the palmitoleic acid may be of benefit. Similarly, Macadamia oil has often been recommended for older skin which starts to dry as the sebum production diminishes.
Macadamia nut fixed oil is non toxic, non allergenic and non-staining.
ESSENTIQ PRODUCTS CONTAINING MACADAMIA
- Facial Cream for Dry Skin – Immortelle & Babassu
- Facial Cream for Very Dry Skin – Immortelle & Avocado