Thursday, November 12, 2009

Secret Beauty Traditions of the World Part I: Japan

It is a Japanese beauty tradition for women to rub rice bran oil on their face to keep their skin smooth. These women are called “Nuka-Bijin” (“Bran Beauty” in English). Rice bran oil is full of anti-oxidants - the oryzanol it contains, for example, whitens the skin slightly, and can impede the progress of melanin pigmentation by intercepting the ultraviolet rays at the skin’s surface. Because of this, rice bran oil has long been used in sunscreen products and hair conditioners in Japan.

More recently, rice bran oil is now being used in US cosmetics and body products. This new market is growing remarkably as increasing numbers of consumers become aware of the benefits.

What is rice bran?
Rice bran is obtained in the milling process, and is the part of the rice that is richest in fat. The oil, which is expeller pressed from the bran, has the presence of natural antioxidants which makes it an excellent ingredient for products designed to treat mature skin.

What does it do?
Rice Bran oil is a nourishing skin protectant and is purported to reverse the effect of aging by slowing the formation of facial wrinkles. It also helps to reduce and soothe inflammation.

Benefits of Rice Bran Oil
• Provides moderate penetration with little greasiness
• Promotes of collagen formation
• Inhibits lipid peroxidation
• Treats dry, mature skin
• Provides smooth spreadability
• Provides skin protection from the sun

How is it used?
I use rice bran oil to cleanse my face at night, and include it in my body butters, soaps, and massage oils. As one of the richer carrier oils, it takes a moment to sink into the skin, and leaves a soft, velvety feel.

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