Chemical properties of linseed oil
Like other fats, chemically speaking, linseed oil is a triglyceride. But unlike other triglycerides, it contains a large amount of alpha-linoleic acid.
Here are the main acid components of linseed oil:
- triply unsaturated alpha-linoleic acids – 52-55.2%;
- palmitic acid – 7%;
- stearic acid – 3.5-4.6%;
- monounsaturated oleic acid – 18.5-22.6%;
- doubly unsaturated linoleic acid – 14.2-17%.
When exposed to oxygen, linseed oil is prone to the polymerization reactions. In certain circumstances, it may lead to fire hazard.
Linseed oil is used for various purposes.
- Linseeds contain phytoestrogens called lignans, which act as natural antioxidants. Despite the fact that the oil contains no lignans, different brands add them during the manufacturing process.
- Linseed oil quickly oxidizes and goes rancid. Therefore, it is not to be stored for more than a few week, even when kept it the refrigerator, otherwise it will become unfit for consumption.
- Linseed oil for food purposes is produced by cold pressing, without using any solvents. It is sold in a sealed bottle and used as a food supplement.
- Linseed oil is recommended only in its pure form. It is not suitable for frying.
Linseed oil is used in varnishes, resins and solvents. It has good polymer-forming properties, and thanks to this it can be used as timber conditioner, combined with other oils. The oil is used as a plasticizer or hardening agent in linoleum and putty. Presently though, it is no longer common to use it for these purposes, due to the cheaper price for alkyd resins.
Linseed oil in cosmetology
Linseed oil is a valuable ingredient of hair conditioners, skin and nail care products. Its high content in essential fatty acids makes it a powerful healing and regenerating product. These acids are not produced by our body, but without them our organism cannot function normally.
Dermatological use of linseed oil
Linseed oil is used to treat acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and sunburns. It removes inflammation, soothes the skin, increases the regeneration processes in the skin.
Let us take a closer look at linseed oil for cosmetic purposes.
Linseed oil for hair
Fatty acids of linseed oil act as an excellent nutrient for hair follicles. Thanks to the healing composition of linseed oil, it makes hair grow faster, makes it shiny and strong. The lack of fatty acids in the body lead to dull and dry hair.
Linseed oil also looks after the scalp, it treats dandruff and early baldness.
There are 2 main ways to use linseed oil to improve the condition of your hair.
- Eat it. It is important to increase the quantity gradually. Start with 1-2 grams of pure oil a day. Then increase the amount up to 4-5 g (a teaspoonful). If your body tolerates this product well, increase the daily intake to 8 g. It is recommended to take the oil at dinner.
- To achieve noticeable results, you will need to be patient, as typically hair grows 0.5 mm per day.
- Use pure linseed oil as a mask or conditioner.
- Pour a small amount of oil in your hand and spread on the scalp on the previously washed hair. Gently massage and rinse.
- Apply oil onto dry hair and wrap your head with a towel. Wash your hair with shampoo 10-15 minutes after. You don’t need to use a hair conditioner after this procedure, as linseed oil has natural conditioning properties.
- Mix linseed oil with shampoo and lightly massage the head, then rinse with water.
Healing linseed oil hair gel.
Linseed gel is an inexpensive care product that is especially suitable for curly and dry hair. It takes as little as 10-15 minutes to prepare and it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 14 days.
The preparation of linseed gel goes through several stages.
- Soak linseeds in water overnight.
- Next morning, move the seeds to a pan and cook over high heat, constantly stirring. You can add some Epsom salt.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce hit to medium. At this stage, the mixture will resemble a frothy jelly.
- When the seeds start to float, remove the pan from fire and strain the mixture.
- When cooled down, you can add to this gel other ingredients (oils, fruit purees and juices, etc.), depending on what your hair needs. You can also put the mixture in the blender and beat it at a low speed until nice and smooth.
- Keep the prepared gel in a container.
How to use linseed gel?
Apply a large amount of gel onto the hair. Dry without using a hairdryer.
Linseed gel-based recipes
- ⅓ cups linseed, 0.5 tsp. honey, 2 tbsp. water, 0.5 tsp. citric acid, 15 drops of mandarin oil.
- 2 tbsp. linseed, 1 cup water (filtered), ¼ tsp. citric acid (as a preservative), 5 drops of oil of cloves, 5 drops of any other essential oil.
- Althea root infusion, 0.5 tsp. avocado oil, 10 drops of glycerine, ¼ tsp. grapefruit seeds, 0.5 tsp. agave nectar.
What additional ingredients can be added to the linseed gel?
- To increase shelf life, add honey or agave nectar, vitamin E, citric acid, grapefruit seed extract.
- To set the gel, add locust bean gum, lecithin, pectin.
- To moisturize hair and scalp, add glycerine, jojoba oil, shea butter, avocado oil.
- For curly hair, add aloe vera and Epsum salt.
- To make it smell nice, add any essential oil, except for oil of cloves and cinnamon, as they will dry the scalp.
Linseed oil – contraindications
Allergy is the main contraindication to linseed oil or gel. Therefore, before using it for the first time, make an allergy test. Apply a little amount of oil to the elbow bend or inside of your wrist. If no allergic reaction is observed, the product can be safely used. Pregnant women and children should talk to their doctor before beginning the course.