Mink oil is a source of palmitoleic acid, which possesses physical properties similar to human sebum. Because of this, mink oil is used in several medical and cosmetic products. Mink oil is also used for treating, conditioning and preserving nearly all kinds of leather.
Botanical alternatives to mink oil as a source of palmitoleic acid include macadamia nut oil (Macadamia integrifolia) and sea buckthorn oil (Hippophae rhamnoides), both of which contain as much or more palmitoleic acid (17% and 19–29% respectively) than does mink oil (17%).
"Mink oil and its fatty acids are unique among animal-derived fats and oils. The total unsaturated fatty acids in mink oil account for more than 75% of the fatty acid content, but the oil, nevertheless, has a greater oxidative stability (resistance to rancidity)... than other animal or vegetable oils."
- Neatsfoot oil, leather treatment
- Saddle soap, leather cleaning and conditioning
- Antipruritic, as the oil is often an ingredient in insect bite-reliever sticks
- "Nuts, macadamia nuts, raw Nutrition Facts & Calories". www.nutritiondata.com. Retrieved 2016-10-03.
- T.S.C. Li; T.H.J. Beveridge (2003-08-30). Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.). NRC Research Press. doi:10.1139/9780660190075#.v_kvsh8dwki. ISBN 9780660190075.
- US Patent 4038995 - Hair treating composition containing a mink oil fatty acid quaternary ammonium salt Archived 2009-07-04 at the Wayback Machine.
- US 4038995, Edelberg, Norman L. & Chester A. Davis, "Hair treating composition containing a mink oil fatty acid quaternary ammonium salt", issued 1977
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