Native to southwest Africa, Elaeis guineensis is a species of palm commonly called African oil palm. It is the principle source of palm oil. Oil is extracted from both the pulp of the fruit (palm oil, an edible oil) and the kernel (palm kernel oil, used in foods and for soap manufacture).
Palm oil and its derivatives are used in 70% of cosmetics products.
In cosmetics and personal care products, palm oil functions as a skin-conditioning agent and an emollient. It works to soften and smooth the skin and hair by forming a thin barrier on the surface, which helps to keep moisture in. Palm oil is also rich in vitamins E and K, which are both antioxidants. Antioxidants limit oxidative damage caused by free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.