I flipped through my Nourishing Traditions book a couple weeks ago to find a recipe to try out at my local Weston Price potluck meeting. I stopped at the section of healthy oils and found that palm oil was right up there with coconut oil as a healthy, edible oil.
If it's healthy for the body, it must be healthy for the skin, so I experimented with it. Red palm oil is palm oil in its purest form and, well, it's red! To be more accurate, pure red palm oil applied directly to the skin is more of a salmony, orangey, yellowish oil. Alone it could make a person look jaundiced, but I added a couple other ingredients:
Tan Enhancing Sunscreen #1
1 oz cocoa butter
1 oz olive butter
.5 oz red palm oil (or more, for a stronger color)
What's neat about this cream is that it immediately brings color to the skin. Think "fake tan." It may not please all skin tone types, however, as those with a rose undertone may clash with its yellowish coloring. But the good news is, it penetrates smoothly and easily without the potential for "oops, missed a spot." The cocoa butter gives it a bit of a chocolate scent.
Tan Enhancing Cream #2 : Easier than the recipe above is the red palm oil/coconut oil concoction (photo below). Just mix up equal amounts of both, adding more red palm oil if you want more color. I put this together today and it applied very easily. It was 80 degrees outside so there's potential that this one could be a liquid oil at higher summer temperatures (not necessarily a bad thing).
I'll still play around with ingredients and color but this is a healthy start to using palm oil for the skin.
According to Dr. Bruce Fife in his book The Palm Oil Miracle, there are many benefits of palm oil:
- helps improve skin health and enhances the skin's ability to heal
- it's an efficient way of enriching the skin with vitamin E and carotenes
- helps to fight off the effects of free radicals and keep your skin looking younger
- it's comparable to SPF15 sunscreen
By the way, one potential drawback (I haven't experienced it yet) is that red palm oil can stain clothes. You could instead apply white palm oil on the skin. Palm kernel oil is colorless and won't stain the skin.
Next, I'll try cooking with palm oil!