VEGETAL BUTTERS AND MARGARINE
Several exotic “butters” (as cacao butter) are mainly used as cosmetic lipids to regulate epidermal growth, to cure skin disorders and to retain the skin’s beauty. These vegetal fats have a constitution similar to cacao butter with molecules of triacylglycerols named “SOS material” (stearic acid in the sn1 and sn3 positions and oleic acid in the sn2 position). As they have very sharp melting point giving the “melt-in-the-mouth” sensation one finds in chocolate, they are currently used in confectionery as substitute of a fraction of cacao butter. Among them, the most important are:
Illipe butter (nuts of Shorea stenoptera) is produced in Southern Asia (Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo). Its composition is close to that of cacao butter (palmitic acid 16.4%, stearic acid 43.5%, oleic acid 31%, linoleic acid 1.5%).
Kokum butter (fruit kernels of Garcinia indica) is produced in India. It contains about 39% oleic acid, 58% stearic acid, and 2% palmitic acid. It has applications in skin and hair products, acne products, and skin tonics. It is also referred to as Goa Butter. Kokum Butter is said to have beneficial compounds that help regenerate skin cells. It is used commonly in many skin healing lotions and cosmetic products. It is often used as a substitute for cocoa butter due to it uniform triglyceride composition. It melts when it comes into contact with the skin.
Mango butter (fruit kernel of Mangifera indica) is produced in India. It contains about 45% oleic acid, 44% stearic acid, and 6% palmitic acid. It has good emollient properties, produces stable emulsion, and therefore is used as an ingredient in skin care products, lotions, massage creams, hair products, and sun care products.
Mowrah Butter – (fruit kernels of the Indian tree Madhuca Latifolia). The butter is extracted and further processed and refined to obtain a yellow/white butter which has a very mild odor, suitable for cosmetics and toiletries. It is of significant commercial importance in India and is used for both edible and cosmetic applications. Solid at room temperature, it melts readily on contact with the skin (melting point 29 – 31°C). Efficacy : Prevents drying of the skin and development of wrinkles, reduces degeneration of skin cells and restores skin flexibility. It is mainly used in soaps, lotions, lubricants, balms and candles. Fatty acid composition : C16:0 : 20-27%, C18:0 : 14-30%, C18:1 : 29-42%, C18:2 : 12-18%.
Sal butter (kernels of the sal tree, Shorea robusta, Dipterocarpaceae) is produced in India. Sal forest covers about 45% of the forested areas in several Central Indian states. Sal fat has a composition close to that of mango butter and physical properties close to those of cacao butter (it is accepted as a substitute in chocolate manufacturing). It has been used for centuries in India for its moisturizing and healing properties, where it has been used to protect and condition skin which has been damaged by the sun and wind. It is used for cooking locally and used for soap up to 30%. Fatty acid composition : palmitic acid 2-8%, stearic acid 45-60%, oleic acid 35-50%, linoleic acid 0-8%.
Shea butter (fruit kernels of Butyrospermum parkii, now Vitellaria paradoxa, Sapotaceae) is produced in Africa. Due to its unique fatty acid composition (6% linoleic acid, 47% oleic acid, 43% stearic acid, 4% palmitic acid, lauric acid 1.4%) it is a soft fat suitable for many skin-care applications (massage, makeup, baby-care…) (Dencausse L et al. Oléagineux, Corps gras et Lipides 1995, 2, 143). It has a high content in unsaponifiable materials (up to 8%) which imparts soothing properties and provides sun protection (presence of cinnamic acid). The sterol fraction of this butter is characterized by the presence of two main components, spinasterol (140 mg/100 g) and delta7-stigmasterol (125 mg/100 g). Shea butter is used for the treatment of dermatoses, eczema, solar erythema, and burns. Shea butter is also used instead of cacao butter in some food products.
Pentadesma butter (fruit kernels of the african tallow tree or butter tree, Pentadesma butyracea, Guttiferae) is close to shea butter (Dencausse L et al. Oléagineux, Corps gras et Lipides 1995, 2, 143). This vegetal butter has similar physical, chemical and cosmetic properties to those of shea butter. The presence of an unexpected high proportion of stigmasterol (about 45% of the sterol fraction) was reported.
Vegetal oils are now used industrially to make a fat similar to butter and known as