Why Do We Use Tallow in Our Skincare?
We use tallow (purified cow fat) in our skincare because tallow is amazing for the skin. Period.
Tallow and our skin's oil (sebum) work harmoniously with the body to infuse our cells with moisture. Some argue that tallow is the single best ingredient to use on your skin due to its fatty acid structure which so closely resembles our own sebum.
In addition, this miracle ingredient has been used for thousands of years by some of the oldest civilizations on Earth. Even our great-great-grandparents used tallow for soap making, skin balms, cooking and candle making.
So why did we ever stop?
The Fat Controversy
Unfortunately, the 1950’s brought about a decline in animal fat use in favor of low fat, highly-refined, vegetable oils due in part to a study done by Ancel Keys titled, "Role of Dietary Fat In Human Nutrition". This study was promoted by leading agricultural giants which sought to profit from the low cost of producing vegetable oils.
Because of a strong, calculated marketing plan, vegetable oil producers were able to change public perception of animal fats very quickly. Thus, the low-fat, margarine-over-butter, craze began.
Even though the low fat idea became popular, studies repeatedly surfaced showing how essential fats are for the brain, skin and diet. They simply didn't get the same media attention. The Skinny on Fats wonderfully outlines the history and function of fats as well as the Lipid Hypothesis.
Fats are Essential
Fats are the building blocks for every cell membrane in the body, provide energy, help us absorb minerals, and carry a wealth of vitamins. Beef fat, otherwise known as tallow, resists rancidity and is shelf-stable making it an ideal choice for cooking AND skincare.
Healthy Fats like Grass Fed Tallow are Essential for Healthy Skin
Coming back to why we use tallow in our skincare... for starters, tallow contains the same fats or lipids found in healthy, supple, youthful human skin.
These fats or lipids are found in abundance in the membrane of every cell in our bodies. They are responsible for the free flowing of materials (or moisture) in and out of our cells.
They are beneficial because they create a protective, yet permeable barrier that prevents infection, maintains moisture, flexibility and structure of the cell.
Tallow is also believed to prevent dryness at the cellular level without suffocating the skin's barrier as does petroleum-based lotions.
So the real question is...why haven't YOU started using tallow in your skin care?