Fur-trapping Indians first understood the value of the white fat beneath the fur of the mink as it smoothed their hands. Later in history, ranchers who focused on raising minks for their pelt also experienced the value of this fat and developed it into an oil. Although mink oil has myriad benefits for humans, controversy surrounds it.
One advantage of mink oil is its similarity to secretions from humans' sebaceous gland. The oil is also known to help protect human skin from damage. Manufacturers incorporate mink oil into hair care products because it encourages luster and smoothness. The oil does not feel very oily, which makes it an apt choice for skin care products. Beauty experts often recommend that women apply mink oil before donning makeup to improve their faces' finish.
The fur trappers who first discovered mink oil's benefits also learned that the substance made their leather boots more flexible and resistant to water. The oil is also known to help products made from leather to have an attractive luster and to last longer, with better quality. Mink oil has much in common with the natural oils found in leather.
Odor and Inappropriate Uses
Mink oil can spoil and turn rancid in poor conditions. This spoilage can leave behind an unseemly odor. It can be difficult for you to remove the smell. Also, mink oil can have a negative effect when you use it on certain types of boots. Its ability to soften the texture of leather can diminish the support of boots that are made for work or hiking.
Animal activists cite the lamentable conditions in which minks are commercially farmed. Every year, 26 million minks are slaughtered. Each animal is confined to restrictive conditions, often cages 10 inches wide and 24 inches long. This confinement incites neurotic behavior in the minks, such as tail biting, and can also bring about health problems like ulcers. Rampant inbreeding has also seen the rise of "screw neck" in the royal pastel mink, which causes the animals to turn their heads up awkwardly.
Jeffrey Norman has been writing professionally since 2005. His work has been published in such journals as the "Leland Quarterly" and on the blog, An Apple A Day. Norman earned a Bachelor of Arts in literature and creative writing from Stanford University.