As the name implies, minks are the only resource when it comes to obtaining a mink oil source. It is thought that fur trappers were the first to realize the benefits of mink oil and used it primarily to condition their leather boots.
When you see all the products the oil is utilized in, it would leave one to believe the oily substance can be used for just about everything.
Mink oil comes from the fatty layer found beneath the mink’s pelt.
Once the pelt is taken off, the fatty layer is removed from the carcass.
The fat is rendered down using high heat leaving behind the natural oil. The ending result is a pale yellowish liquid that has a mild musky smell.
When storage conditions are poor, mink oil can spoil and turn rancid leaving behind an unpleasant smell that is difficult to remove. When this happens, it’s best to discard the spoiled oil and use a fresh batch, as the unpleasant smell will linger on whatever product it’s used.
When shopping, consumers will find mink oil is contained in a wealth of products. Everything from cosmetics to leather conditioners contains the substance. Mink oil can be purchased in a cream, paste or in an oil form.
Many leather conditioners are a mink oil source. An application of the oil rubbed on the product will shine, make stiff leather softer and waterproof the material. It is especially useful on boots that require a bit of help when breaking them in. Treating tanned leather with mink oil also increases its lifespan, as the oil replaces natural oils removed during the process of tanning.
Use a bit of caution when applying the mink oil to leather shoes because you don’t want to overdo the conditioning. Because of the oil’s ability to soften leather quickly, especially boots that are chromium-tanned, you can over-soften the leather and lose stability in the boot. Mink oil can also discolor leather products leaving them a bit darker.
Personal Care & Cosmetics Products
A wealth of cosmetics and personal care products are another mink oil source. Mink oil contains the fatty acid palmitoleic, which the human body naturally produces to keep the skin lubricated and moist. When applied to the skin, the oil is quickly absorbed into the pores and doesn’t leave behind an oily feeling. Therefore, many cosmetic moisturizers, lipsticks and hair products contain mink oil.
The oil is also found in some pet and human shampoos and soaps for dry, itchy and flaky skin. Since the oil is supposed to resemble human sebum, applying mink oil to the affected area can help reduce the problem.
It seems the jury is still out on whether ingesting mink oil is safe and if it really has any health benefits. Some publications suggest taking supplements as a healthy mink oil source, but many do not suggest ingesting the oil.
Until further reputable studies are done, it would probably be best to error on the safe side and not ingest mink oil in any form.
When purchasing mink oil or products containing the substance, make sure you are buying from a reputable source selling pure mink oil.
Denmark is the largest producer of mink oil and products containing the substance. However, mink oil products usually contain an additive to enhance the silkiness such as solidified coconut oil. Products containing mink oil should not feel oily and have more of a waxy texture.
You also want to make sure your mink oil source isn’t getting their product from sick or diseased animals. Minks are known to have several skin conditions, so you want to get your oil from healthy animals. This is another reason you should make sure you are only purchasing top-quality mink oil from a reputable source.
It would seem when it comes to conditioning leather, adding moisture and protecting the skin, mink oil is a natural wonder product. The mink’s fatty layer most likely assists in giving the mink its luxurious fur. For mink trappers and those raising minks, it’s a double profitable win, at least for the human.