Borage Oil – culinary ingredient turned skincare hero
Updated: Jan 25
Borage has a long tradition in culinary and medicinal use, but only now the science turned its focus to the benefits of borage oil. The oil’s topical safety and unrivalled fatty acid content have already been well documented, however, we are still learning about its diverse benefits. Cosmetic companies have also recognised the genius of borage and are making it the oil of choice in luxury skincare products.
Borago Officinalis Oil
Geographical distribution of the plant
Borage is native to the Mediterranean region, the Canary Islands and Madeira, but is now widely cultivated in other regions of Europe.
Part of plant used
Appearance and smell
Clear and nearly odourless.
Comedogenic rating (0-5)
Borage has been used since ancient times for culinary purposes. In fact, it still is the component of the famous “green sauce” in Germany and is used in ravioli preparation in Italy. From the medical point of view, borage was used for the treatment of swelling and inflammation, respiratory complaints and melancholy.
Scientifically proven skin benefits
Soothing and regulating
Borage oil is the richest plant-based source of gamma linoleic acid (GLA) known, with around 21% of the oil constituting GLA. GLA is an incredibly important fatty acid, as it ensures the integrity of the skin cell membranes. This allows the skin to effectively keep the moisture in and irritants out. GLA is also the precursor for potent, hormone-like compounds called eicosanoids, which helps modulate normal skin physiologic processes by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation and increasing moisture retention. Borage oil is therefore very effective in relieving the symptoms of eczema and atopic dermatitis, as well as keeping them breakouts at bay.
Anti-aging and conditioning
Borage oil is extremely rich in tocopherols (forms of vitamin E) – 97% of them being delta-tocopherols. Tocopherols are very potent anti-oxidants and have been well documented for having anti-aging and skin conditioning properties. They are also very good in protecting the skin cells from the oxidative stress caused by UV radiation.
The borage plant is also very rich in phenolic compounds, which are strong free radical scavengers, however, more research has to conducted to confirm their presence in the oil itself.
Repairing and moisturising
Borage oil’s high GLA and linoleic acid (LA) content make it a fantastic rebuilder of the skin’s barrier. A strong skin barrier reduces the so called transepidermal water loss (TEWL), meaning the skin retains moisture for longer. This in turn leads to the skin looking smoother and more elastic.
Our products containing ORGANIC, COLD-PRESSED AND UNREFINED borage oil:
Mhamdi B. et al., BIOCHEMICAL CHARACTERIZATION OF BORAGE (BORAGO OFFICINALIS L.) SEEDS, 2009, Journal of Food Biochemistry
Lozano-Baena M.D. et al., Cancer Prevention and Health Benefices of Traditionally Consumed Borago officinalis Plants, 2016, Nutrients. 2016 Jan; 8(1): 48.
Khattab H. A. H. et al., EFFICIENCY OF BORAGE SEEDS OIL AGAINST GAMMA IRRADIATION-INDUCED HEPATOTOXICITY IN MALE RATS: POSSIBLE ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY, 2017, Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2017; 14(4): 169–179.
Bioriginal Food & Science Corporation, The Effectiveness of GLA in Topical Formulations for the Skin, https://www.bioriginal.com/page-articles/%EF%BB%BFthe-effectiveness-of-gla-in-topical-formulations-for-the-skin/
Simon D. et al., Gamma-Linolenic Acid Levels Correlate with Clinical Efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil in Patients with Atopic Dermatitis, 2014, Adv Ther. 2014; 31(2): 180–188.
Tasset-Cuevas I. et al., Protective Effect of Borage Seed Oil and Gamma Linolenic Acid on DNA: In Vivo and In Vitro Studies, 2013, PLoS One. 2013; 8(2): e56986.