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Scientists with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have recently shown that the oil of the milkweed seed (Asclepias syriaca) may help protect the skin against UV rays.  Native to much of North America, researchers have always focused on the potential of the plant’s silky floss as stuffing, but it’s now believed that it may also find use in the cosmetics industry.

What is useful about the milkweed plant is the oil found in the seed of the plant, which may protect against UV rays as well as deliver good moisturizing ability.  

Protection against both UVA and UVB rays

Modification of the oil has demonstrated that it offers protection against a wide spectrum of UV rays. And a researcher claims that the protection profile can also be modified. Milkweed oil was shown to offer protection up to 370nm and down to the shorter wavelength regions. It was found that protection along the lower wavelength region could be intensified. What is really exciting about the oil, it that since both the oil and the additive used to modify it are both natural, the product is biodegradable. When it eventually washes off the body it will be broken down by micro-organisms. It’s likely that the oil will be well tolerated and safe when applied to the skin since such a small amount is needed to offer UV protection.  

In addition to its UV protecting potential, the researcher found that a modified and stabilized version of the oil is a very good moisture retainer, making it possible for its inclusion as moisturizing base for skin and hair care products.

Look out for more research and the possibility of this ingredient in skin care products to come.  

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].

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