A (Somewhat) Secret Ingredient: Cacay Nut Oil


Like Rosehip Oil, but Better.

Now is a great time to talk about Cacay oil because the season for cacay nuts is just beginning in the South American summer. The cacay tree is native to parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, and a few patches of the Brazilian Amazon. The nut of the cacay tree has long been used by indigenous people for a variety of uses, from treating wounds to oil for lamps. Over the last few decades it has increasingly become a part of skincare formulas (like mine) for the rich effects it provides for the skin.

It is suggested that Cacay oil has a high content of vitamin A (therefore also retinol). When talking skincare, the better known source of vitamin A is probably Rosehip seed oil. However, Rosehip is fairly low in other antioxidants such as vitamin E and (particularly since it’s paired with a high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids) this makes it quite prone to oxidation. So while rosehip does have a healthy of dose of vitamin A, it degrades quickly which means that knowing how fresh it is, and using it quickly, is essential when looking to receive the benefits of vitamin A. On the other hand, it’s indicated that Cacay has 3x the amount of vitamin A as rosehip and because it also has a high level of vitamin E it, unlike rosehip, it keeps longer and is better naturally preserved.

The high levels of vitamins A and E in Cacay make it an excellent tool for skin regeneration: it reduces wrinkles, improves elasticity, and leaves the skin more soft and firm. It also includes a high dose of Linoleic Acid (an essential fatty acid you can read more about here) and also is within the optimal ratio with the other essential fatty acid: Oleic Acid (about 5-1). This helps cacay restore the skin's protective barrier, heal scars, lighten hyperpigmentation, and protect, nourish and moisturize, all without clogging pores. A truly wonderful oil.

Another reason why I love Cacay oil is that sustainability plays a large role in its production. Because the trees really only grow in their native habitats and are depended upon greatly by the local populations, the manufacturers of cacay seed oil have made important efforts in keeping sustainability a vital aspect of their production process in order to sustain their output. This means that as they harvest and press cacay nuts into oil, many manufacturers consistently plant new trees and produce using “old-school” methods that use less fossil fuels.

Now it might seem like a kind of “no-brainer” as to why I use it in my formulations. Yes, of course the high retinol content (vitamin A) played a large factor in this decision, but more so than that, it’s the healing effects to the natural lipid barrier it provides that made me fall in love with it. It can do so much for your skin, leaving it dewy, glowing, healthy. So much so that you’ll find it listed second in our list of ingredients, indicating that it is in a high percentage. Honestly, this ingredient alone is almost worth trying out the serum 😉

— Carolina


• https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18503421

• https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18505537

• https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7786101

• https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25391685

• https://europepmc.org/abstract/med/18503421