• Are Caviar Cosmetics Really Worth the Money? — Chromatography Investigates

Are Caviar Cosmetics Really Worth the Money? — Chromatography Investigates

Oct 24 2017 Read 1566 Times

We spend millions on creams and lotions to help make us prettier, younger looking and more attractive. In the quest for the beauty we’ve turned to some weird and wonderful ingredients. Who remembers the flesh-eating fish shops for an instant pedicure that popped up in towns everywhere? Or, what about sheep placenta hand cream?

One of the natural products appearing in high-end beauty treatments in recent years is caviar. But can fish eggs actually bring any benefits to the cosmetic market? Well, a recent study published in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology set out to see if caviar eggs really can add value to beauty products.

It’s all about the lipids

Lipids are organic compounds that are soluble in non-polar solvents but insoluble in polar solvents like water. Lipids are involved in major biological functions including energy storage, cell signalling, and they help with a cell’s structure.

There are many different types of lipids including sterols like cholesterol, oils and waxes, and fat-soluble vitamins. Fat, one of the main nutrients needed by humans, is a type of lipid known as triglycerides. So, whilst fats are lipids, not all lipids are fats which is why lipids and fats are not synonymous.

Lipids in the cream and lotion

Lipids are commonly added to cosmetics — particularly skin creams like moisturizers — to help with skin hydration. But they can also act as antibacterial agents and help the cream penetrate the skin. Almonds, apricots and plant oils are all derived from plant sources and are regularly found listed amongst the ingredients. But animal sources are used too, beeswax, lanolin and fish oils have found their way into the beauty products and are there mainly because they are lipids. And in recent years, caviar has found its expensive way into beauty products.

Fish eggs on the face

But do the type of fish eggs used in cosmetics matter? The study published in the European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology asked this question and compared caviar eggs to a cheaper alternative, Brill eggs. If the lipid content of brill eggs was similar to that from caviar — Sturgeon eggs — it might offer a way of making cheaper cosmetics.

The team used gas and liquid chromatography to analyse the fatty acids found in the eggs. The use of chromatography to analyse foodstuffs is discussed in the article, LC-MS/MS and GC-MS/MS Multi Residue Pesticide Analysis in Fruit and Vegetable Extracts on a Single Tandem Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer. The team found that caviar eggs contained significantly more triacylglycerol than the brill eggs, and also higher concentrations of linoleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids.

The results suggest that caviar offers an advantage over brill eggs when considering the lipids found in the eggs. Now, where did I put my bull-sperm hair lotion.

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