Amaranthus is prized in the skin care industry for its unusually high squalene content. Squalene provides moisturizing, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties which are known to contribute to healthy, youthful looking skin. These properties are likely attributable to the plant’s ability to withstand drought and thrive on the poor soil and arid land of Central and South America. Amaranthus was a staple crop of the ancient Aztec and Inca civilizations. Often referred to as summer poinsettia, it consists of nearly 60 plant species that are categorized as either grain or green leaf vegetable types.
Amaranthus consists of approximately 5% to 9% oil which is generally higher than other cereals. The lipid fraction of amaranthus is roughly 60% unsaturated fats, with linoleic acid as the predominant fatty acid- a composition similar to that of other cereals. However, squalene represents 5% to 8% of Amaranthus’ total lipid fraction which sets the plant apart from the rest. Dr. Tsujimoto of Japan was the first to research the health benefits of Squalene (C30H50), an unsaturated hydrocarbon. He noticed that sharks do not develop cancer or tumors, and eventually attributed this to the squalene produced in sharks’ livers. Squalene has been extensively researched and was found to play a key role in maintaining health because of its ability to carry oxygen. Squalane (C30H62) is produced from the catalytic hydrogenation of squalene.
Our bodies naturally produce squalane and squalene, and they are major components of human sebum. As part of our sebum, they help retain moisture within the skin and provide a protective antibacterial/antifungicidal coating. Incorporate Amaranthus into formulations for anti-aging benefits and natural emolliency that creates supple skin without an unpleasant, greasy feel.