The emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae) is a large, flightless bird indigenous to Australia. The oil contains several fatty acids, including myristic, palmitic, oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. Emu oil has become an important component of the Australian economy. As a result there is research from that part of the world showing it to be a good emollient that can help restore skin. But along with the evidence that emu oil is a good emollient and the parade of companies promoting it for that, there are also companies promoting products containing emu oil for its antiaging properties.
So does emu oil live up to these acclaimed properties? Regrettably, none of these promises are supported by research. A study looked at the "Cosmetic and moisturizing properties of Emu oil... assessed in a double-blind clinical study. Emu oil in comparison to mineral oil was found overall to be more cosmetically acceptable and had better skin penetration/permeability."
Like many ingredients, it has soothing, emollient properties, but it isn’t the miracle marketers make it out to be. Emu oil's reputation is driven mostly by claims made by companies selling products that contain it, and not by any real proof that it is an essential requirement for skin.
Reference for this information:
Australasian Journal of Dermatology (August 1996, pages 159–161