Almond Oil for Skin - The Dermatology Review

Almond Oil for Skin

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09.28.18 AD DISCLOSURE

You may already be aware of the health benefits that come from eating almonds, such as cholesterol regulation and reduced risk of heart disease. But did you know that you can use almond oil for skin treatments, or as part of your regular skin care regimen? This ingredient has been used in specialty soap for quite some time, but has been getting more attention as a skin care product ingredient because of its many positive effects on skin health and appearance. If you’re curious about what almond oil can do for your skin, keep reading below for the top 8 almond oil benefits for skin. 

Where does almond oil come from?

Native to southwest Asia and the Middle East, Prunus dulcis officially refers to the tree from which the edible almond seeds are cultivated. While typically grouped with other tree nuts, the almond is actually a drupe, a fruit with an outer hull encasing a shell with the seed inside. The oil is extracted from ripe seed kernels that have been dried and crushed through a cold pressing process. This means that little to no heat is used in the process, thereby preserving all the naturally occurring chemical compounds within the oil.

How many types of almond oil are there?

Before we get into all of the almond oil benefits for skin, we first have to discuss the different types of almond oil. There are two types of almond oil: bitter almond oil and sweet almond oil. 

Bitter almond oil is derived from the bitter almonds of the botanical known as Prunus dulcis, var. amara, which grows pink flowers. Bitter almonds contain a compound called amygdalin, which yields hydrogen cyanide when crushed, processed, or metabolized in the body. Swallowing six to ten bitter almonds may cause serious poisoning, while the ingestion of fifty could kill a human. 

Interestingly, there are some uses of bitter almond oil. When the cyanide has been extracted from bitter almond oil, it has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-itch, antifungal, and antispasmodic properties. However, it is never recommended to use bitter almond oil without a doctor’s supervision. 

Sweet almond oil is derived from the sweet, edible almonds of the botanical known as Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis, which grows white flowers. Sweet almond oil is used as a carrier oil, as well as for culinary, medicinal, and cosmetic purposes. 

Sweet almond oil nutrition facts

Now that you know bitter almond oil should be avoided unless a doctor instructs you to use it, let’s discuss sweet almond oil benefits. Generally, the benefits provided by sweet almond oil are due to its rich supply of fatty acids.  Sweet almond oil contains approximately 32% monounsaturated oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid), 13% linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid), and 10% saturated fatty acid (mainly as palmitic acid). 

Sweet almond oil is also a rich source of vitamin E. In fact, one hundred grams of almond oil contains 60 international units of vitamin E (200 percent of the daily recommended amount). Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant; it is classified as a “chain-breaking” antioxidant for its role in hindering the chain reaction induced by free radicals. Specifically, vitamin E works by delivering a hydrogen atom to free radicals, which minimizes their damaging effects. Since vitamin E is lipid soluble, it is incorporated into cell membranes in order to protect from oxidative damage.

Other beneficial nutrients in sweet almond oil include B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, and folate), vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, phosphorous, manganese, zinc, and arginine (an amino acid). 

8 almond oil benefits for skin

With an incredibly rich supply of fatty acids and vitamin E, it’s no wonder almond oil can provide so many benefits when used in your skin care routine! If you’re still debating whether you should try almond oil for skin, we think you’ll be convinced after reading these top 8 almond oil benefits for skin! 

1. Soothes dry skin
One of the main almond oil benefits for skin is this ingredient’s ability to soothe dry skin. The healthy fats in almond oil help to maintain skin hydration by keeping the skin barrier intact. The skin’s natural barrier can be thought of as a “brick and mortar” system. The bricks are the corneocytes (dead skin cells) and the intercellular lipids (ceramides, cholesterol, fatty acids) represent the mortar. Without these lipids, the skin barrier is weakened, just like without mortar a brick wall would be weak and unstable. The result is skin that can easily become dry, itchy, or irritated. The fatty acids in almond oil help to strengthen the skin barrier and therefore prevent these issues. 

Additionally, when vitamin E in almond oil is delivered to your skin through the sebaceous (oil) glands, it provides a protective barrier and helps to reduce transepidermal water loss. Lastly, the B vitamins and zinc found in almond oil are both known to play an important role in maintaining healthy skin. Overall, almond oil helps to reduce symptoms such as dryness and itchiness, leaving the skin healthy and glowing. 

2. Reduces inflammation
In addition to alleviating dry skin, almond oil benefits the skin by reducing inflammation. This benefit is mostly due to the presence of linoleic acid in almond oil. Specifically, linoleic acid reduces inflammatory responses of neutrophils and macrophages. Due to its ability to reduce inflammation, almond oil is sometimes recommended as a natural remedy to relieve the inflammation, itchiness, and redness of psoriasis or eczema. Of course, you’ll want to check with your doctor before using almond oil for psoriasis or eczema.

3. Makeup remover
You can use almond oil as a natural makeup remover to gently remove all traces of face and eye makeup. When you use almond oil (or any oil) to remove oily makeup and sebum, you’re employing the chemical principle called “like dissolves like.” Basically, oils will dissolve other materials that have a similar chemical structure.

4. Helps with acne
Sweet almond oil is non-comedogenic (it won’t clog pores), and it may even help with acne. As we just explained above, almond oil can be used to dissolve excess oil. Using a cleanser with almond oil can help to gently remove debris from deep within skin pores and follicles. Therefore, you can use almond oil for acne since the formation of a blemish occurs when pores are clogged with excess oil and debris. Furthermore, almond oil may help to calm existing acne due to its anti-inflammatory effects. 

5. Prevent signs of aging
Almond oil may help to prevent signs of aging due to its rich supply of vitamin E. As mentioned above, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps the skin to combat free radicals. This is important because free radicals are unstable, highly reactive molecules that contribute to signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, and age spots. 

There’s also research indicating that vitamin E can help to combat UV-induced skin damage, one of the main causes of premature skin aging. According to a publication in the journal Nutrients, vitamin E’s activity as an antioxidant in combination with its presence in human skin means it’s possible that vitamin E may protect the skin from UV damage. There is evidence that topically applied vitamin E, specifically alpha-tocopherol, provides photoprotective activity against acute UV-induced skin damage, such as erythema (redness) and edema (swelling). Additionally, vitamin E can protect the skin from responses to chronic UVA and UVB exposure, such as wrinkles and skin cancer.

6. As a carrier oil
Sweet almond oil is commonly used as a carrier oil, which means that it is used to dilute other essential oils to make them safer for use on the skin. Sweet almond oil is an excellent carrier oil because it does not evaporate easily, has a mild smell, and is readily absorbed by the skin. Due to these properties, sweet almond oil is also often used as a placebo or control treatment in aromatherapy studies.

7. May prevent stretch marks
Looking for a way to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy? Almond oil may be able to help! One clinical study of 159 women found that using almond oil could prevent stretch marks during pregnancy. However, the study failed to mention the type of almond oil used (bitter or sweet), and also did not mention how the almond oil was used (topical application or ingested). In a different study of 160 women, researchers found that sweet almond oil applied to the skin helped reduce itchiness associated with stretch marks. However, the total number of stretch marks remained unchanged. 

8. May reduce dark circles and puffiness under eyes
Almond oil may be able to help reduce dark circles when applied underneath the eyes. While the research is not conclusive, it is thought the vitamin K in almond oil may help to minimize the appearance of dark circles underneath the eyes. Vitamin K is required to produce prothrombin, a key factor involved in blood clotting, which is why vitamin K is thought to speed the healing of wounds and bruises. Applied to the skin, vitamin K may help to improve dark circles under the eyes in the same way it helps bruises to heal when taken internally. In addition, almond oil may be able to help reduce puffiness around the eyes due to its anti-inflammatory and soothing effects. However, out of all the almond oil benefits for skin, this use of almond oil has the least amount of evidence. 

Additional almond oil uses

While the top 8 almond oil benefits for skin are pretty amazing, we bet you’ll be even more impressed when you learn about the additional almond oil uses. 

Almond oil for hair

Almond oil can be applied directly to the hair to provide multiple benefits. For example, almond oil is an emollient that can help give the hair a smoother texture, as well as impart shine. Once almond oil is incorporated into your hair care routine, you may also notice that your hair is easier to comb through and style. Lastly, almond oil can help to strengthen and repair hair, thereby making it less prone to breakage and split ends.

Almond oil for nails

You can use almond oil for nails if you desire to strengthen and restore your nail health. As mentioned above, almond oil is packed with nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, that can promote nail health. When almond oil is massaged into the nail, the nail is coated with protection from nail peeling, cracking, dryness, and breakage.

Almond oil for massage

Since there are so many almond oil benefits for skin, this carrier oil is frequently used during massages. It is so popular for massages because it spreads easily and isn’t greasy, therefore making it a good massage medium to use to help spread the oil and essential oil mixture, while still allowing time for a massage before it is absorbed by the skin.

How to use almond oil for skin

Since almond oil is lightweight and readily absorbed into the skin, you can apply almond oil directly to the skin. If you have very oily skin, however, it’s not generally recommended as an overall facial moisturizer because it can cause unwanted oiliness on the face. You can use almond oil as a makeup remover or during an oil cleansing to remove dirt and other impurities from pores. If you notice that your face is too oily after applying pure almond oil, you can simply look for skin care products that contain sweet almond oil as a key ingredient.  

You can also apply almond oil anywhere on your body that is dry or chapped, such as elbows, knees, and hands. Lastly, you can use almond oil to prevent stretch marks during pregnancy by applying almond oil directly to your belly. However, keep in mind that the research on this almond oil benefit for skin is still inconclusive. 

Is almond oil safe?

As a very mild, hypoallergenic oil, almond oil is safe for almost all skin types, including dry, oily, and even sensitive skin. However, almond oil may not be safe to use if you have a tree nut allergy since almond allergens can be contained in almond oil. 

References: NewDirectionsAromatics.com “All About Sweet Almond Carrier Oil” Oct 2017, DrAxe.com “How to Use Almond Oil for Your Skin & Overall Health” Jan 2018, 

SelfHacked.com “8 Potential Benefits of Almond Oil for Skin & More + Side Effects” Dec 2019

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  • Kamilia 04.12.16 Reply

    Hi! I really really like the effect of almond oil but also its (non) thickness and how it feels. I use it to moisturize my body (not face).
    I say on many homemade recipes websites that it was used to make skin lighter and I don’t want that, and not even taking a risk at it being true.
    What other oil is the most similar to almond oil!?
    Thank you!

  • Angie 09.28.14 Reply

    Don’t buy almond oil from the supermarket it may have been processed with chemicals because it is a faster process. Instead buy Sweet Almond oil from Whole Foods (skin/beauty section), Aura Cacia or buy from a company that produces a cold-pressed or organic(or both) sweet almond oil.

  • Cathrine 08.21.14 Reply

    My skin has never felt this dry before! I have dry lines all over my face, and it’s cracked. I’ve been using it for about a week. Does it get better? Or should i just quit? 🙁
    I also have alot of acne an closed comedones.

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