Tallow For Skin Care: The Complete Guide

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Tallow is extracted beef fat that is made after melting it raw. Tallow from 100% grass-fed beef has the most beneficial nutrients. It is solid at room temperature, but takes on an oily consistency after carefully purifying and going through the cosmetic production processes. It can be preserved for long periods without refrigeration if maintained in a sealed container to prevent oxidation.

Tallow is fast becoming popular as an ingredient to keep skin smooth, young, and healthy. Here, we further discuss tallow and its nutritional profile. We also will look at its skin benefits and the potential side effects.

What Is Tallow?

Tallow is extracted fat, mainly beef fat. Raw fat is rendered to tallow by melting it. Tallow from 100% grass-fed beef has the most beneficial nutrients. It is composed of stearic acid. It is solid at room temperature, but takes on an oily consistency after going through the cosmetic production processes. Tallow can be preserved for long periods without refrigeration if maintained in a sealed container.

Mutton Tallow Vs. Beef Tallow

Mutton tallow is derived from sheep whereas beef tallow is derived from beef. Both components are natural, shelf-stable goods. Though both are abundant in saturated fats, beef tallow is higher on the same. Mutton tallow, on the other hand, seems to have more vitamin E than beef tallow.

Tallow is most famous for its high oleic, palmitic, and stearic acid content. Beef tallow has more palmitic acid, while mutton tallow has more oleic and stearic acids.

Tallow contains the following fatty acids and nutrients:

1. Stearic And Oleic Acids (Omega-9): These are present in the skin’s protective outer layer and sebum. These help moisturize and soften the skin. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. Stearic acid also helps heal skin damage by improving its suppleness and elasticity. Oleic acid aids the penetration of the other active ingredients into the skin. However, some research suggests that oleic acid may also disrupt skin barrier function.

2. CLA (Conjugated Linolenic Acid): CLA has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties and may help treat various skin disorders. It also may help reduce wrinkles.

3. Palmitoleic Acid (Omega-7): Palmitoleic acid is another critical component of our skin. It has potent anti-inflammatory properties that promote wound healing.

4. Palmitic Acid: This acid protects the skin’s lipid barrier. It also makes the skin smoother.

5. Alpha-Linolenic (Omega-3) And Linoleic (Omega-6) Acids: These are optimally balanced in a nearly 1:1 ratio. These essential fatty acids contribute to the skin’s structural integrity and barrier function. They also may influence any inflammatory and immunological responses. These acids are also found to lighten skin pigmentation induced by UV radiation.

6. Vitamins:

This composition of tallow offers multiple skin benefits. We discuss them in the following section.

What Are The Benefits Of Tallow For Skin?

1. May Help Treat Dry Skin

The natural oils in tallow may help hydrate skin. They get absorbed quickly and reduce cellular dryness. They do not clog pores or make skin greasy. Tallow is suitable for both dry and oily skin types. However, research is limited in this regard.

Tallow’s effects last long, and it doesn’t have to be applied more than once a day.

2. May Make Skin Looking Younger

The vitamin E in tallow is very beneficial for aging skin. Its antioxidant properties protect the skin from UV exposure and reduce the associated damage. Tallow also fights free radical damage and may reduce the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. It also may make skin very soft with daily use.

Vitamin E has also been proven to protect collagen from breaking down.

3. May Be Good For Acne-Prone Skin

Tallow’s anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and skin-repairing characteristics make it ideal for acne-prone skin. However, concrete research is lacking in this regard.

4. May Fight Skin Infections

The vitamin D in tallow may promote the production of anti-microbial peptide genes that helps fight viral skin infections. Grass-fed tallow contains CLA. CLA appears to have anti-cancer characteristics and may help reduce the risk of skin tumors.

5. May Be Compatible With Human Skin Cell Biology

Tallow may be compatible with our cells’ biochemistry. Tallow used for skin care has a saturated fat ratio of 50-55%, making it potentially more suitable for human skin.

These are the few important benefits of tallow. But you also must be aware of its side effects before you start to use it.

Using Tallow On Your Skin: Precautions And Side Effects

  •  Impurity Issues

The purity of animal parts which tallow is extracted from is an important consideration. The diet of such animals also plays a role in tallow purity. It is quite a challenge to know, unless you are procuring tallow from an FDA-approved product.

  •  Not Cruelty-Free

Tallow is animal fat. It is extracted from a dead animal. This can be off-putting for animal lovers. The demand for cruelty-free cosmetics is increasing, for ethical and environmental reasons.

  • Unpleasant Odor

Though the fat itself has no odor, but part of the animal’s muscle and other tissue might enter the skin are mix during processing. This may make the finished product smell awful.

  •  Stability Issues

Tallow is not stable. It goes through many production procedures, including heating, before it is made available as a finished product. Hence, such products may lack consistency in color, appearance, and odor.


Tallow can be used for a variety of purposes. It can be used as a full-body moisturizer, an anti-aging and anti-acne face cream, a baby lotion, a sunburn or diaper rash solution, a lip moisturizer, or to help fade scars and stretch marks.

However, research on its skin benefits is very limited. You may still use tallow for skin care and observe the results. But be wary of its potential risks.


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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).