Enter tallow. This age-old ingredient was once a staple in the beauty routines of our great-grandmothers, and it has started to make a comeback in the natural skincare world.
However, if you're like most modern women, the thought of slathering animal fat on your face probably sounds pretty unappealing. But what if we told you that tallow is actually one of the best things you can put on your skin, despite its interesting origins?
This humble ingredient has been used for years to nourish and moisturize the skin, as well as improve various skin concerns, including inflammatory conditions like eczema and rashes, and it's only now that we're beginning to rediscover its many benefits.
So, what exactly is tallow? How does it benefit the skin? And where can you find it? In this article, we invited Margie Ramos, the founder of Tallowed and Free, a skincare line specializing in tallow-based products, to share her insights on this game-changing skincare ingredient and how it can help your skin look and feel its best.
What Is Tallow?
"Tallow is a form of rendered cattle or sheep fat that usually surrounds the animal's organs," shares Margie when asked to describe tallow in layman's terms. "It's a long-lasting, sustainable, and renewable ingredient that has a soft and easily-spreadable texture and is packed with nutrients and vitamins, including A, D, and E."
These components are incredibly important for healthy and youthful-looking skin as they have antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from free-radical damage and also help it repair itself during outbreaks of inflammatory conditions.
Purified tallow can be used as a multi-purpose, non-greasy moisturizer and lip balm.
Tallow is also rich in fatty acids, such as linoleic acid and oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat type that has been shown to improve the skin's barrier function and prevent moisture loss. Preventing moisture loss is essential, especially when dealing with inflammatory conditions, because a strong and healthy skin barrier keeps irritants and allergens out. In fact, a few small studies done on mice have shown that tallow can be effective against patches of eczema thanks to its ability to strengthen the skin's barrier and prevent moisture loss, resulting in fewer flare-ups.
How To Use Tallow in Skincare
"Purified tallow can be used as a multi-purpose moisturizer replacing facial moisturizer, body lotion, and lip balm," explains Margie. "It's non-greasy, and since it has the same fatty acid profile as our skin, it is easily absorbed."
However, one thing to note about tallow is that it can have a mild smell. As Margie puts it, "Unscented beef tallow, even when purified, still has a mild beef smell which those with a heightened sense of smell may find unpleasant."
And while this isn't nearly enough to have you smelling like dinner, it's something to keep in mind when you're about to try tallow-based products for the first time.
Who Is Tallow Best For?
"Tallow is best for those with dry, aging, and sensitive skin, people with eczema, psoriasis, and skin rash, as well as babies and toddlers with diaper rash. It is also the best choice for health-conscious individuals looking for natural products free of known carcinogens, as well as harsh and synthetic endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)," says Margie, who herself has struggled with some common skin woes in the past.
"As someone who always had dry skin and sometimes eczema, tallow has personally made my life easier. I love that the ingredient is completely natural and sustainable, meaning I don't need to apply it on my skin a few times a day to keep it moisturized. I usually use it only twice a day, after showering in the morning and before I go to bed at night."
She adds, "Purified tallow also has a low comedogenic score meaning that it won't clog pores for most people and is safe for anyone dealing with acne.”
Tallow is best for those with dry, aging, and sensitive skin, as well as people with eczema or psoriasis.
Using tallow-based products on acne can also help regulate oil production by increasing the potency of linoleic acid and creating a strong barrier on the surface that will prevent trans-epidermal moisture loss and minimize the skin's need to produce excess oil to stay supple and lubricated.
A strong and healthy skin barrier is also essential in preventing future breakouts as it will keep unwanted bacteria and irritants out while helping the skin function optimally and protect itself instead of reacting to a hostile environment like minor bacterial overgrowth by producing inflamed blemishes.
Finally, tallow can change your skin for the better after just a few applications. "Tallow made my skin more supple and reduced the visibility of fine lines under my eyes almost immediately," recalls Margie before explaining how she came to the idea of starting a business based on this fantastic ingredient.
"I thought to myself, 'It is now my duty to communicate tallow's skincare benefits to the world and make it available to everyone.' And just like that, Tallowed and Free was born," she concludes.
Tallow is an incredible skincare ingredient with a wide range of benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving the skin's barrier function, and keeping the skin soft and supple by preventing moisture loss.
If you're looking for a natural and effective way to improve your skin's health, we highly recommend giving tallow a try. And, if you're not sure where to start, we suggest checking out Tallowed and Free, a skincare line specializing in beef tallow products.
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