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This post also appears at the Purely Primal Skincare blog!
What do you think of soy oil in skincare products?
We recently got this question from a PPSC reader:
Question: Can soy oil in skincare products wreak havoc in the same manner as eating soy?
Soy oil is often used in skincare products for its high vitamin E content – vitamin E is very nourishing and healing for the skin! Soy oil and wheat germ oil are both very rich in vitamin E, but many people who are avoiding soy and wheat avoid these oils on principle.
Most people can tolerate them just fine; others who are incredibly sensitive to wheat and soy, or who have very sensitive skin in general, may want to avoid them. (Spot testing is key, no matter what you're trying!)
That said, I have actually recommended non-GMO organic soy oil (you can buy it at Mountain Rose Herbs) for helping soothe a sunburn. (See my sunburn video here.) The vitamin E can be very soothing to sunburned skin, and can help it heal! Soy oil, then, is useful SOMETIMES, but as with most things, the source matters.
I'm specific about that recommendation because I generally don't like to support the massively subsidized, biotech-driven soy industry in the United States – the source of nearly all the soy used in almost all industries, from animal feed to cosmetics. That's a personal call, though, based on personal opinion.
Since I can't speak for whether soy oil in many skincare products not otherwise labeled is organic or genetically modified (most organic non-GMO brands WILL tell you they're organic and non-GMO), or whether trace amounts of pesticides from conventionally farmed soy may remain in the products, I'd say the key would be ensuring (possibly by contacting the manufacturer) that the soy oil is organic non-GMO to ensure overall quality.
The question here, however, is about the potential for hormonal manipulation from soy oil in cosmetic products. Since the isoflavones from soy are what is responsible for this effect, and isoflavones are NOT present in soy oil, I would say this is NOT a concern.
However, because isoflavones alone are used in other skincare products, it's best to avoid the products that use them if hormone imbalance is a concern.
Thanks for reading!