cloudberry

Cloudberry Oil: Spotlight on the Best Face Oils

Let's dive deeply into one of our favourite face oils - Cloudberry seed oil. This oil is a prominent ingredient in our Northern Rescue Elevated Recovery Oil, and you'll soon understand why. Just the name itself - cloudberry - sounds magical.

cloudberry seed oil infographic by bareLUXE

This exciting fruit goes by many names, notably cloudberry, bakeapple, knotberry, and nordic berry. The scientific name is Rubus chamaemorus. The cloudberry plant thrives in cool, marshy regions and is found in the arctic tundra and boreal forest. The fruit resembles a raspberry but starts as pale red and matures to amber.

The fruit is delicious - sweet and a bit tart. It can be eaten fresh and is popular in jams, pastries, and desserts. Cloudberry cream is a favoured dessert in Norway. In Finland, cloudberry is used to make liqueurs. 

In the last few years, the oil from cloudberry seeds has gained popularity for its many skin benefits and is now found in various cosmetic products. 

How the Oil Is Extracted

A cold press extracts cloudberry seed oil. Farmers remove the seeds from the fruits, dry them, and then press them to extract the oil.

If a different extraction process is used (i.e. solvents or CO2), cloudberry essential oil will contain more aromatic components. However, cold-pressing is the standard for most commercially available products.

Fatty Acids and Nutrients in Cloudberry

Cloudberries are rich in beneficial phytochemicals. The fatty acid profile is highest in linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids (up to 80% overall). Oleic acid is the next most significant component ranging from 12-20%. This balanced fatty acid profile of omega 3, 6, and 9 make cloudberry oil a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

Other vitamins and phytochemicals are vitamin C and E, phytosterols, carotenoids, and ellagic acid. Vitamin C levels found in cloudberries are up to 4x more than in an orange.

Cloudberries contain specific glycoproteins and ALA responsible for a health rumour that received viral attention. The theory was that consuming large quantities of cloudberry powder for COVID could restore your sense of taste. However, there is no strong evidence for this, and fact-checking has debunked the rumours.

Skin Benefits of Cloudberry Oil

Cloudberry seed oil benefits for the skin are numerous - particularly as a facial oil. High levels of vitamin C and E and the Omega fatty acids make this a great all-purpose oil for every skin type. Another antioxidant in cloudberry oil is ellagic acid, vital in reducing wrinkles and protecting the skin against sun damage (but this oil will not replace a proper SPF sunscreen).

Due to this oil's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial features, people who use it on their face expect to experience visible changes such as reduced redness, improved clarity, and a strengthened skin barrier. In addition, the skin will be moisturized, plumper, and have improved texture and elasticity. The high levels of vitamin C stimulate collagen production, brighten, and boost the skin's protection against environmental stressors.

What is Cloudberry Seed Oil Comedogenic rating?

Cloudberry oil is soothing and has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help prevent acne. It is not known to be problematic for oily or acne-prone skin and should not clog pores.

How To Use Cloudberry Seed Oil for Skin

While cloudberry oil is safe, it's always recommended to patch test. Otherwise, use it like other face oils and apply 2-3 drops once or twice a day to clean skin. Diluting or mixing with your other favourite oils is a great way to maximize your skin benefits.

Cloudberry oil is also a good treatment if you have an itchy scalp. You can mix it with other natural oils like grape seed or sunflower and massage onto your scalp. Just a few drops won't leave you with an oily look, and your hair will likely have an incredible shine. If you want to use a bit more and do a deeper scalp treatment, use a gentle shampoo to remove the excess. 

Sustainability

Making seed oils from what is left after processing the fruit improves sustainability because it decreases waste overall. That's why some seed oils are called 'zero waste' oils. Instead of throwing the seeds away, you can extract oil from them, making the entire practice sustainable. 

As much as we love cloudberry, we're keeping a close eye on it from a sustainability standpoint.

The plants are rare and grow wild in cold, harsh climates. They can only be picked during a brief two-week period in July. They are a source of food for Indigenous people, and the location(s) of bakeapple patches are sometimes held as a family secret. Additionally, climate change's concerning effects may permanently alter their natural habitat.

For these reasons, there are regulations to protect cloudberries from agricultural exploitation in Norway and other parts of Northern Europe. It is illegal to pick unripe cloudberries, but people can pick ripe ones and eat them on the spot. From a sustainability standpoint, cautious and regulated use of any wild-crafted ingredient is necessary. 

Due to their increasing popularity, farmers in the US and Europe are starting to cultivate the fruit for commercial purposes, which will reduce the risk of over-harvesting for consumerist purposes. As long as you know the source of the berries in your oil, you should be able to ensure they were harvested sustainably.

 

References 

  • Thiem B, Berge V. Multe--viktig kilde til antioksidanten ellaginsyre [Cloudberry: an important source of ellagic acid, an anti-oxidant]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2003 Jun 26;123(13-14):1856-7. Norwegian. Translated.
  • Anderson D, Ford JD, Way RG. The Impacts of Climate and Social Changes on Cloudberry (Bakeapple) Picking: a Case Study from Southeastern Labrador. Hum Ecol Interdiscip J. 2018;46(6):849-863. doi: 10.1007/s10745-018-0038-3. Epub 2018 Nov 20.
  • Kähkönen M, Kylli P, Ollilainen V, Salminen JP, Heinonen M. Antioxidant activity of isolated ellagitannins from red raspberries and cloudberries. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Feb 8;60(5):1167-74.
  • Jaakkola M, Korpelainen V, Hoppula K, Virtanen V. Chemical composition of ripe fruits of Rubus chamaemorus L. grown in different habitats. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 Apr;92(6):1324-30. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4705. Epub 2011 Nov 14.
  • Honkanen E, Pyysalo T. The aroma of cloudberries (rubus chamaemorus L.). Z Lebensm Unters Forsch. 1976 Apr 28;160(4):393-400.
  • Leišová-Svobodová L, Phillips J, Martinussen I, Holubec V. Genetic differentiation of Rubus chamaemorus populations in the Czech Republic and Norway after the last glacial period. Ecol Evol. 2018 May 2;8(11):5701-5711.

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