Almond oil had been used extensively for its health benefits and as a beauty aid much before science caught up with the goodness of this seed oil. Very popular in Southeast Asia and in the Mediterranean region where the Almond tree was first domesticated, the almond kernels and the nutty oil extracted from them were credited with promoting heart and skin health.
Now we know that the oil is rich in Vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium and zinc, besides a number of other minerals and vitamins, which explains why it is so good for our heart, skin and hair.
Almond oil comes in two variants; bitter and sweet. The bitter almond oil is extracted from the bitter almonds that contain a glycoside called amygdalin which turns into toxic hydrocyanic acid on processing. Most almond trees growing in the wild produce bitter almonds that have varying degrees of this glycoside. They can have fatal consequences if ingested. Bitter almond oil does have some medicinal properties, and may be pretty safe for external application, but is better avoided due to the high risk of poisoning.
The sweet almond oil that comes exclusively from edible almonds (Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis) selectively cultivated for their sweet taste. It is the oil popularly used for skin and hair care. It has many culinary uses too. Let’s see how we can use this wonderful gift of nature to enhance our health and beauty.
🎀1. For Smooth, Flawless Skin
Almond oil is a mild, hypoallergenic oil that can be safely used even on baby skin. In fact, it is the best massage oil for infants. When gently rubbed into the skin, it gets fully absorbed, making it suitable for after bath application. To enhance absorption, warm the oil to body temperature before application. This natural oil has a slightly nutty smell, which most people find pleasant, but you can mix in a few drops of lavender oil, or any other fragrant essential oil of your choice, to personalize it.
Many synthetic and natural skin care products claim that their effectiveness comes from the Vitamin E added to them. Almond oil is naturally endowed with this highly potent antioxidant vitamin. Regular application of the oil can protect your skin from oxidative stress and UV radiation damage, keeping it soft and supple.
🎀2. For Deep Cleansing Of Skin
Almond oil is light in texture, and can easily penetrate deep into the skin, softening and dislodging the dirt and debris accumulated in the skin pores and hair follicles. This prevents blackheads and acne. Thanks to the Vitamin A content in the oil, it may even help reduce acne flare-ups.
Almond oil can be safely used on sensitive skin as it is less likely to cause allergic reactions. It is excellent for removing makeup even from the tender area around the eyes. Dip a ball of cotton in the oil and apply it on the face. Allow to remain for 2 minutes and then gently wipe it off with a fresh piece of cotton.
It is easy to make a natural facial scrub with almond oil and fine sugar. Mix them together and apply on the face, working in circles to gently lift off grime and dead cells. Wash it off with water. Repeat it every week for beautiful, radiant skin.
🎀3. To Remove Dark Circles & Tan
If you have dark circles and bags under your eyes, almond oil can come to your aid. Apply the oil every night before going to bed. You will see a noticeable difference in about two weeks.
Sun exposure can inflame the skin and cause pain and redness. Apply almond oil over these patches for quick relief. An unwanted tan can also be lightened with the oil. Mix one teaspoon of honey with a few drops each of lemon juice and almond oil. Rub it in with the fingers and leave it on for an hour. Wash it off with plain water.
🎀4. To Relieve Eczema & Psoriasis
These problems are caused by the body’s own reactions to external and internal triggers, but they can leave the skin of the affected areas dry and itchy. Scratching can make matters worse. When the skin is broken, it starts to weep and make crusty deposits. It also makes way for bacterial and fungal infections that can complicate the management of these chronic conditions.
The least we can do is keep the affected skin soft and hydrated to reduce itching. Almond oil helps with this. Being a mild, hypoallergenic oil, it moisturizes the skin without irritating it further.
Use the oil on its own or mix with other essential oils for better results. For example, jojoba oil is a liquid wax that can form a long-lasting protective layer over the damaged skin. It prevents moisture loss and the entry of allergens and microbes. But Jojoba oil is a strong oil that can potentially irritate sensitive skin. It is better tolerated when diluted with almond oil.
🎀5. To Treat Skin Rashes
Skin rashes are very common in the nappy area of young kids wearing diapers. In adults too, skin may become inflamed from constant rubbing against hard materials, including underwear. Skin to skin friction also can result in chafed skin. This type of contact dermatitis can result in soreness and burning sensation. Doctors usually prescribe zinc-based ointments to reduce the inflammation.
Almond oil is a better alternative to these creams. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about the chemical substances contained in commercial products irritating the skin further. Also, almond oil with its rich store of zinc is as good as any store-bought creams or lotions available.
Application is simple enough. Just dip three fingers in the oil and gently dab the oil on the affected area. Leave it on until all the oil is gradually absorbed into the skin. You can safely use almond oil on chafed skin anywhere on the body, even on baby skin, as long as you don’t have a specific allergy to this oil.
🎀6. To Reduce Fine Lines & Other Signs Of Aging
Smooth, supple skin is a sign of youthfulness, but a structural protein called collagen is behind this flawless look. Collagen forms an even layer under the skin and acts as a good padding that keeps the skin taut, yet supple. Fine wrinkles start to appear as we age because of thinning of the skin and unevenness in the collagen padding underneath.
It is an inevitable part of the natural aging process, but premature aging can result from excess exposure to sun, tobacco smoke, and dehydration. With proper protective measure and skin care, the aging process can be slowed down to some extent. Almond oil has a role to play here.
Oxidative stress is one main reason for the deterioration of collagen layer. Almond oil contains Vitamin E, which is one of the most potent antioxidants known. It can help repair some of the damage done to the collagen layer. The oil is especially rich in proteins, and can provide the amino acids required for the formation of collagen. External application of the oil can prevent dehydration by reducing moisture loss from the skin.
🎀7. For Muscle Aches & Fatigue
Relieving muscle pains and soreness is one of the main traditional uses of bitter almond oil. The same benefits can be obtained from sweet almond oil, but without the poisoning risk associated with the former. Massage this protein-rich oil into tired muscles to rejuvenate them. Aromatherapy uses almond oil to relax knotty muscles.
For best results, warm the almond oil over gentle heat until it becomes nearly unbearable to touch. Apply this hot oil to the aching muscles and massage it in well. Wet a thick towel in hot water, wring it, and then use it to cover the massaged area. Leave it on for at least half an hour or as long as you can. This treatment relieves muscle fatigue by drawing out toxins.
🎀8. To Control Hair Loss
Every day we lose around a hundred hair strands, but it does not affect our total hair volume because of new hair growth that replaces the old. But if hair fall is heavier than normal, our scalp will show visible signs of thinning which can be very disturbing. Exposure to environmental pollutants, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, and stress are main reasons for excessive hair loss.
Deficiency of magnesium and calcium in particular results in poor hair growth and hair loss. Zinc is another important mineral for healthy hair; its deficiency is known to cause alopecia, characterized by thinning of hair. Almond oil is rich in all of these minerals.
You need to use almond oil on a regular basis to control hair loss. Warm one tablespoon of oil and apply it to the scalp every night after your shower or bath. Rub it in gently until most of the oil is absorbed into the scalp. Leave it on overnight for best results. Eating a few almonds every day or mixing in a few drops of almond oil into your salad or smoothie will work from the inside to make your hair healthy.
🎀9. For Long Shiny Hair
Not only the scalp, but the hair shaft also can benefit from almond oil. The glands in the scalp produce an oily substance that forms a natural protective coating on each strand of hair. But hair can become too dry and brittle from frequent use of shampoos that strip the hair of these natural oils. This results in breakages and split ends that reduce the length of the hair.
Restore the protective oil layer by applying almond oil to your hair right after washing it with a gentle organic shampoo. First, dry the hair with a towel to remove excess moisture. Rub the oil between your palms and run your hand through the entire length of the hair to coat every strand evenly. Leave the hair to air dry naturally, combing occasionally with a wide-toothed comb to separate the strands. This treatment gives hair a nice sheen, besides making it manageable and tangle-free.
🎀10. For Healthy Nails
If your nails are thin and chip off easily, it indicates mineral insufficiency. What you need is a regular almond oil treatment. This oil is rich in zinc, the deficiency which causes brittle nails and white spots. The oil also contains appreciable amounts of B-complex vitamins and iron that also help improve nail health.
Apply a drop of warm oil on the nail and rub it into the cuticle. If you can’t find the time to do it every day, make it a weekly habit in order to grow thicker, smoother nails.
🎀11. For Heart Health
According to the Doctrine of Signatures, the shape of a food determines which part of the body it would nourish. In the case of almonds, it is easy to see that it favors heart health. Theories apart, these nuts are full of heart healthy substances. People with heart problems are often advised to have a handful of raw almonds every day.
Almond oil is rich in a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid that is considered good for the heart. A diet that contains high amounts of this omega-9 fatty acid is known to reduce blood pressure and increase the HDL cholesterol. Use almond oil in salad dressings to reap its heart health benefits.
🎀12. To Improve Memory & Cognition
It is a general practice in many Southeast Asian cultures to soak a few almonds in water overnight and drink the water and eat the softened almonds first thing in the morning. This is thought to increase brain power and improve memory. It is easy to see how these tasty nuts full of good fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals benefit the brain, but there’s some definite evidence to show that almond oil can contribute to better overall neurologic function. Another good reason to have a handful daily!
Where To Buy Sweet Almond Oil
Be sure that you are purchasing high-quality organic sweet almond oil. Know your source and don’t skimp on cheap oil or nuts. The higher the quality, the more benefits you will receive.