Ingredient Spotlight: Amaranth

I have to say I am unable to contain my excitement at the research that’s coming in about Amaranth and to discover or rather re-discover the phenomenal profile of this plant oil. Amárantos, meaning an unfading flower and called Maarisha in Ayurveda has all the skin loving properties that we hear of in good oils. Rare amino acids: L-lysine and L-proline that are not readily produced by humans, with proven benefits in building collagen, elastin and having an anti-inflammatory effect (Journal: Essays in Biochemistry, 2012). A simple skin summation: cholesterol + free fatty acids + ceramides = stratum corneum lipid matrix - the topmost layer of our skin.

But what stuns me about this plant oil is its rich source of SQUALENE. A peer-reviewed article in the International Journal of Agronomy 2018 hails amaranth for containing 410 x more plant-based squalene (about 5942 mg/100 g) amongst all plant sources and 10 x more than the second largest source - olive oil. Isn’t that simply phenomenal?! 

Did you know that Squalene is a precursor of bigger molecules - hormones, sterols (cholesterol), ceramides and vitamins, making it a crucial and essential building block for our skin? It is the protective secretion of sebaceous glands. It forms
10–15% of the lipids on the skin surface, very useful in replenishing the acid mantle of dry skin (van Smeden and Boustra, 2016; Azalia Lozano-Grande et al., 2018).

Squalene though, falls unstable in an open environment so quality and freshness is truly vital which is why we are so careful when formulating with it to ensure its potency stays at peak performance. 

Amaranth is also particularly high in phenolic acids - gallic acid, p-hydroxybenzoic acid and vanillic acid, making it a super antioxidant (Souza et al. (2012)). Another review by E Obrenovich et al. (2011) highlights its potency in scavenging free radicals, DNA mutators and premature ageing. Amaranth contains almost 7x more protein than oats or rice and more calcium than milk even.
What’s notable to me as a skincare formulator is its diverse vitamin profile, offering enhanced UV protection. Vitamins A, B complex and E fight stress, enhancing tissue structure to lift and firm skin while iron and calcium enhance blood circulation to enrich skin and hair tissue.
Little wonder then that I’m so enamoured and excited to work with this superlative oil. My Illumine now features Amaranth as a stellar ingredient and I’m excited to include it in many more of my formulations, so stay tuned guys!

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