By Farah Merani
A number of years ago, I was severely burned when a pot of boiling hot water splashed across my face. Amidst the agonizing pain, the first thought I had was, “What if my face is permanently scarred?” It was the first time the thought occurred to me that I may not look the way I always have. The idea of getting old, wrinkles and all, had never scared me as much as the thought of being visibly disfigured. It was a humbling moment.
Fortunately for me, and with the grace of good genes, hardly a hint of the scarring is visible. It amazes people when I tell them I had second degree burns on my cheek and there’s nothing there now. The secret? An OTC (over the counter) product called Scar Zone. I touted and raved about this product for years. Then, fast forward to last year, my brother tells me that there’s something even better that he’s been suggesting to his customers as a compounding pharmacist. My brother’s expertise lies in creating personalized formulae for his patients, customizing each prescription based on the individual’s specific needs. Simply put, he knows what he’s talking about. What was this new miracle potion? something called pracaxi oil. With an exotic-sounding name like that, I was immediately intrigued.
He gave me a small container of his Ultra Moisturizing Cream to try out, a combination of coconut oil, Pracaxi oil, shea butter and an aqueous base. Within a week I was hooked, using it for everything, face to feet. Now, it’s the only moisturizer I use. So what is it about this pracaxi oil that makes this cream so unique and why does it work so well? Here’s what he had to say:
What is Pracaxi Oil?
Native to the wet tropical areas of northeastern South America, the Pracaxi is the Portuguese name for the tree also known as the “Oil Tree”. The oil is derived from pressing the seeds after they’ve been dried. Among natural products, it has one of the highest concentration of behemic acid, a fatty acid used as a thickening agent in creams and lotions. The people of the Amazon Basin use it topically to treat stretch marks and bacterial skin diseases, as well as in the hair, as a conditioner and natural detangler.
Why does it work so well?
Pracaxi oil contains high amounts of oleic, linoleic, and behenic fatty acids, which are frequently used in variety of cosmetic products. These fatty acids have been proven to improve the healing of wounds and are important to the skin’s cellular maintenance. The abundance of these fatty acids in Pracaxi oil make it an excellent lubricant and an anti-inflammatory, while also restoring the natural oils in the skin’s surface.
What’s the best use?
Pracaxi seed oil is a popular emollient in many topical creams, lotions, shampoos, and hair conditioners. If you can get the oil in its pure form, it makes a great leave-in conditioner, making hair soft and shiny. My family uses our customized Ultra Moisturizing Cream combined with ingredients like Vitamin E and coconut oil, to help reduce scarring and stretch marks.