Oat (Avena Sativa) is grown in cooler regions of world, like in Finland, known for its unique climate with plenty of sunlight during the growing season. The oat crop provides a range of products that are used as animal feeds, in human foods, and as industrial raw materials. Compared to other cereals, oats are characterized by a lower carbohydrate content, and with higher protein and lipid contents. Indeed, oat contains the highest lipid concentration among cereal grains.
Generally oat oil has very high oxidative stability and can stabilize other oils and oil-containing products. The phospholipid fraction seems to be responsible for the greatest part of the stabilization effect. Oat oil is rich in phospholipids (6–26%) and glycolipids (6–17%). Oat grain is rich in sterols, the major sterols being β-sitosterol (54%). The total vitamin E (tocopherol/tocotrienol) content range is approximately 20–40 ppm. Oat oil is also a good source of Omega fatty acids.
Oat oil can be extracted from the grain by using numerous organic solvents. Another possible route is to use supercritical fluids (e.g. supercritical carbon dioxide) where the solvent naturally separates out the oil upon vessel depressurization at the end of the extraction. This is the extraction process used for Avena Finlandia.
The use of oat oil in personal-care products represents a natural extension of the historical use of oatmeal and oatmeal fractions for improving the skin. Oat oil has the ability to emulsify large quantities of water, thus making it very effective in hydrating and moisturizing epidermal layers.
Phenolic compounds present in the oil provide protection against ultraviolet light as well as providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities; saponins impart a cleansing activity while the phospholipids provide moistening and buffer activities.
Oat oil is a clear, lightly colored oil with a mild natural odor that is rich in phospholipids and glycolipids (polar lipids), and free of trans fatty acids is generally preferred in cosmetic formulations. It has a stabilizing property in emulsions and oils and an excellent shelf-life stability due to the high content of antioxidants found in oats.
The oil is claimed to improve the elasticity of the skin and hair and has strong skin-hydrating and moisturizing properties. In skin- and hair-care formulations, a 1–10% concentration is recommended.
Nordic Beauty Avena Finlandia is extracted by a solvent free and eco-friendly CO2 supercritical extraction process. It has excellent shelf-life stability due to the high content of antioxidants unique to oats.