The science behind Marula Oil
A clinical study published in 2015 by the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Tshwane University of Technology confirmed what the people of Africa believe about the benefits of Marula Oil.
The scientists identified several saturated as well as unsaturated fatty acids, of which the Oleic acid was the major fatty acid constituting 69.0% of the oil followed by palmitic acid (15.3%), linoleic acid (9.2%), palmitoleic acid (4.1%) and stearic acid (1.5%).
The study revealed that Marula oil is non-irritant, with moisturising and hydrating properties when applied to very dry skin. Additionally, the oil exhibited occlusive effects when applied to normal skin. These findings may be linked to the absorption of the oil into the skin due to the high percentage of oleic acid and the presence of palmitic acid which are known to disturb the stratum corneum intercellular lipids. These fatty acids present in Marula oil are very similar to those present in the epidermis and can be considered biomimetic.
The scientists' verdict
Marula oil is rich in fatty acids and exhibits moisturising, hydrating and occlusive properties. As the oil is non-irritating and provides a moisturising effect with moderate prevention of transepidermal water loss, average moisture retention properties and noteworthy occlusive effects.