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 any type 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, and can be used as a hair treatment for growing dreadlocks. The unsaturated fatty acids in mink oil account for more than 75% of its fatty acid content, but the oil, nevertheless, has a greater oxidative stability (resistance to rancidity) than other animal or vegetable oils.
- "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 (inactive 31 May 2021). ISBN 9780660190075.CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of May 2021 (link)
- 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