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Are Genetically Modified Corn and Canola Oils Safe for Use as Skin Moisturizers?

written by: Stephanie Mojica•edited by: Lindsay Evans•updated: 4/23/2010

The answer to the question of, "Are genetically modified corn and canola oils safe for use as skin moisturizers?" appears to be "maybe." Learn more about using oils for skin care in this article.

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    Canola Oil Basics

    Before debating the question of, "Are genetically modified corn and canola oils safe for use as skin moisturizers?" it is essential to gain a basic understanding of what canola oil really is.

    Genetically modified canola oil is marketed in recent years as one of the "healthier" oils and rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. While ingesting olive oil is still considered a wiser idea, it turns out that eating genetically modified canola oil in moderation is not as unhealthy as once believed.

    How does this apply to the skin? First, ask yourself if you'd use canola oil for cooking or as part of a salad dressing. If you still deep down believe canola oil is potentially dangerous to eat, it wouldn't be a good idea to use it as a skin moisturizer. Remember your skin will absorb canola oil (or anything else you use externally) in the bloodstream.

    If you're not bothered by the fact that canola oil is not well-researched as a potential skin moisturizer, then you might consider testing it out on your skin. If you aren't comfortable with it after a test, then you might want to switch to a more tried-and-true, but still natural oil as a skin moisturizer.

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    Corn Oil Facts

    Genetically modified corn oil as a skin care moisturizer is more well-researched than canola oil, but you may still want to proceed with caution. Some people experience allergic reactions to corn oil. If your body is sensitive to external agents, you might want to skip this as an option.

    However, for those who don't suffer allergic reactions, using corn oil as a skin moisturizer may be a good choice. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition notes that this oil may improve skin appearance, especially among middle-aged women.

    Corn oil in its genetically modified form is also considered a "healthier" oil to ingest and is used in some lip balms and hair treatments. However, some people still believe all corn oil is bad to ingest. So if you're not in that category, you might want to consider choosing corn oil as a skin moisturizer over canola oil. Just keep in mind that research on this kind of topical use is still underway, and the risk of allergic reaction is higher than with canola oil.

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    The Coconut Oil Alternative

    If your answer to the question of, "Are genetically modified corn and canola oils safe to use as skin moisturizers?" a firm "no" or a "maybe someday," you likely need an alternative that is still natural.

    Coconut oil is a well-proven and widely used natural skin moisturizer. Not only can you buy this in its pure form, but also you can purchase numerous products consisting of coconut oil at your local store or at online merchants like Amazon and Vitacost.

    Virgin coconut oil is free of chemicals and increases skin hydration. So if you're not already using coconut oil, you may feel a lot more comfortable given this proven natural skin care remedy a try.

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    "Is Canola Oil Bad For You?"

    "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

    "Virgin Coconut Oil and Skin Care."