Did you know that the Almond is considered the “King Of Nuts”? It’s full of healthy fats, fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals that make it a nutritional powerhouse!
It’s, therefore, no surprise that the oil derived from this nut, commonly known as Almond oil, is extremely popular for its immense benefits for hair, body, and skin too.
Are there reasons to use Almond oil even if you consume a fistful of Almonds every day? How is Almond oil derived from this special nut, and why is it so useful for us? In this article, we’ll explore the answers to these questions in detail. Let’s get started.
What is Almond Oil?
Did you know that Almond is a seed found inside the fruits of the Almond tree? These fruits look very similar to peaches, only green in color. So, this fact about Almond makes it a fruit, and not a nut! Interesting, right?
Almonds are the oldest and most widely grown of all the world's nut crops. They were first produced in the Middle East, and very soon, people discovered that the oil extracted from its seeds was extremely beneficial. Nearly half of dry Almond’s weight was found to be oil and ripe Almonds were pressed to extract the oil with minimal heat.
Today, Almonds and Almond Oil are popular as rich sources of nutrients. You might have come across nutritionists advising people to add Almonds to their daily diet and Ayurveda beauty experts recommending Abhyanga (self-massage) with the oil to nourish the skin. Either way, Almonds provide us with what our body requires and form an important part of our life.
The Almond oil obtained simply by pressing the nuts is unrefined Almond oil and retains most of these nutrients and the original flavor of the oil. Refined Almond oil, on the other hand, is obtained by heating and chemically treating unrefined Almond oil. This oil is more resistant to heat but contains fewer nutrients.
So, which Almond oil should you choose for yourself? Well, to understand that, let’s talk about one more derivative of Almond, Cold-Pressed Sweet Almond Oil.
What is Sweet Almond Oil?
There are two types of Almond oil: sweet and bitter. Sweet Almond oil is the kind that’s better suited to your skin as it’s obtained from an Almond tree (Prunus amygdalus var. Dulcis) whose seeds do not contain poisonous chemicals. Bitter Almond oil can be toxic and derived from a different kind of Almond tree (Prunus amygdalus var. Amara). Bitter Almond oil is only used for medicinal purposes.
The four most important nutrients found in Sweet Almond oil are Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and zinc. Each nutrient has a specific function.
For instance, Vitamin A stimulates the production of new skin cells, which helps in reducing fine lines. Vitamin E provides the oil with its antioxidant properties that prevent the cell damage due to free radicals and UV rays of the sun. Omega-3 Fatty Acids help in preventing premature aging and, zinc helps in healing the skin scars.
The next aspect that determines the quality of Almond oil is the process of extraction. Cold-Pressed Sweet Almond Oil is the best quality Almond oil available in the market. Let’s now understand what it is about the cold pressing method of extraction that helps us obtain the best quality oil?
What is Cold-Pressed Sweet Almond Oil?
Almonds are extremely rich in nutrients. They contain vitamin E, vitamin A, essential fatty acids, proteins, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc. But, when they are exposed to heat or chemicals, some of these nutrients get lost. The cold-pressing method extracts the oil from the Almond seeds by pressing them with a modern steel press. And that’s how you get cold-pressed sweet Almond oil that retains all of the Almond's benefits and nutrients!
So, now that we’ve talked about different types of Almond oil in detail, it’s easy to conclude that if you want your hair, skin, and body to reap the best benefits of Almond Oil, you should opt for organic cold-pressed Almond oil.
According to the ancient science Ayurveda, sweet Almonds are an essential nutrient source for the brain and nervous system. They also induce a high intellectual level and longevity. Rich in Vitamins A & E, Sweet Almond Oil nourishes and improves complexion reviving its natural glow. Due to these features, the most popular use of Sweet Almond oil is for massaging the body (Abhyanga) and the scalp.
So, let’s learn the benefits of massaging your head and body with Almond Oil.
Benefits of Almond Oil for Skin And Hair
Almond oil is excellent for the skin due to the emollient properties that prevent the loss of natural moisture from the skin and enables it to retain more moisture. These emollient properties of the oil also help in improving skin complexion.
Do you have dry and flaky skin? Then, Almond oil can be your skin’s best friend and completely take care of its hydrating and nourishing needs. And that’s just one of the many benefits of Almond oil.
Are you excited to explore other benefits of the oil? Let’s discuss a few more ways to use Almond oil for your skin.
1. Moisturize your skin
Almond oil gets soaked in our skin quickly, which makes it a powerful and effective moisturizer. You can apply it on the face as well as the body. Some people like to add essential oils and use Almond oil as the carrier oil for massaging their bodies.
Another great property of the oil is that it’s light and not too greasy, so your skin doesn’t feel sticky when you use the oil as a moisturizer. Don’t we all just love that dose of skin hydration that doesn’t feel too heavy?
You don’t even need to worry about if it will suit your skin. If you’ve picked 100% organic cold-pressed sweet Almond oil, you can use it irrespective of your skin type, be it sensitive, dry or oily.
2. Apply it to extra dry spots
We all have those extra dry spots like our elbows and feet that look dry and shabby. Before you give up on those areas of your body, try nourishing them with Almond Oil. If you find yourself scratching your flaky skin, Almond oil can help with that as well. Likewise, if your lips are dry and chapped, use sweet Almond oil to lock in the moisture for soft, plump lips!
The fatty acids in Sweet Almond oil help the skin retain moisture while the Vitamin E soothes irritation caused by dryness. The zinc content of the oil helps smoothen rough, calloused skin. For this reason, Almond oil has also been used to treat dry skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.
3. Use it as a facial cleanser
For most of us, the idea of cleansing the face with oil is shocking. But research has found that oil cleansing is beneficial for your skin and Sweet Almond oil is one of the best oils to use for the cleanup.
Oil cleansing works on the concept ‘like dissolves like’ and helps you get rid of stubborn impurities, excess sebum, and dead skin. It also helps in opening up the clogged pores. It is recommended to use mild face cleanser for all skin types after oil cleansing to get rid of any oil residue from the skin.
4. Lighten your scars and marks
Did you know that zinc present in Almond oil is an essential nutrient for healing acne scars? A study revealed that Almond Oil is an effective treatment of stretch marks and acne scars due to its unique composition. For this reason, pregnant women are advised to use Sweet Almond oil to massage themselves to prevent stretch marks and to get rid of skin irritation.
5. Reduce puffiness and under-eye circles
Did you know that Almond oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties? These properties of Almond oil make it an ideal solution for reducing the puffiness under the eyes and lightening the dark circles. Almond oil also has retinol, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K that soothes the skin under the eyes and reduces the appearance of fine lines around the eyes.
6. Reduce the appearance of acne
Does the idea of using oil to reduce acne seem ridiculous? It’s not. We’ve talked about how ‘like dissolves like’ and there are studies supporting Almond oil’s ability to dissolve excess sebum from your skin! You can use it as a cleanser for your skin to prevent acne caused by the build-up of sebum.
Another reason to use Almond oil for acne is that it is rich in retinoids. Retinoids are a class of compounds derived from Vitamin A, and they are a popular ingredient in anti-acne topical creams. Why are retinoids used for preventing acne? It’s because they have the unique ability to unclog the pores from dirt and excess sebum.
Simply soak a cotton ball in Almond oil and use it to clean your face. Follow up with a natural cleanser to remove any oil residue.
We have covered some amazing benefits of Almond oil for the skin. You might even have read about a few of them for the first time. However, there’s one use of Almond oil that almost everyone is aware of - the use of Almond oil for hair!
Why is Almond oil so beneficial for hair?
Because it has hydrating and nourishing properties that make our hair healthy as a result of which they become shinier and lustrous. Almond oil not only provides moisture to the hair but also to the scalp. By massaging your scalp and hair with Almond oil, you can reduce breakage, split ends, itchy scalp and dry roots.
Apart from providing these benefits, applying Almond oil directly on your scalp also increases the flow of blood to the head and exposes the skin to potent antioxidants.
Let’s look at some of the benefits of using Almond oil for hair in detail.
7. Soothe flaking and itching of the scalp
The most common hair health problem is the build-up of dead cells in the scalp. This build-up not only results in flaking, itching, and dandruff but also inhibits the growth of healthy hair.
How does Almond oil help here? As we mentioned before, almond oil is extremely hydrating and nourishing. When you massage your scalp with almond oil, the dead cells loosen their grip from the scalp and can be easily washed out. This also helps in preventing and treating dry scalp conditions such as (seborrheic dermatitis) and scalp psoriasis.
The emollient properties of Almond oil also help in softening and removing the dead skin cells from the scalp. Simply massage Almond oil into your scalp and let it sit for at least an hour before a bath. You can even leave it overnight for maximum results.
8. Promote hair growth
One of the essential nutrients associated with hair growth is Biotin, also known as Vitamin H. It’s a derivative of Vitamin B that’s prescribed to people who suffer from problems such as thinning of hair.
Almond Oil contains Biotin, and massaging your hair with almond oil is an effective way to provide your hair with a healthy dose of Biotin to promote hair growth and reduce hair thinning. Some people take Biotin supplements to make their hair thicker, but you can get similar benefits by applying Almond oil to your hair as well.
9. Softens and conditions the hair
Do you have a hard time combing your hair because it’s always getting entangled in knots? Regular massage with Almond oil will soften your hair, making it easier to comb.
Due to its emollient properties, almond oil can fill the gaps in your hair at the cellular level, thereby improving overall texture. With improved texture and resilience, the hair becomes less prone to damage and softer to the touch.
10. Strengthens and repairs hair
The lubricating properties of almond oil make our hair less prone to damage. The oleic acid and linoleic acid present in the oil improves the resilience of the hair. In contrast, the Vitamin E present in the oil is an antioxidant that helps in combating the environmental stress in the hair. So, for younger and healthier hair, massage your hair regularly with sweet Almond oil.
Did you know that Almond oil has unique energetics known as madhur (sweet), ushna (hot) and snigdha (oily) in Ayurveda? These energetics make Almond oil an ideal massage oil not only for hair but also for the body.
Almond Oil for Body Massage (Abhyanga)
For thousands of years, Almond oil has been used to soothe, soften, and repair the skin. Its special warming qualities make it ideal for abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage), especially for Vata (dry) skin. Whenever you feel like your body needs some relaxation and your skin needs a healthy dose of hydration, you can practice Abhyanga with Almond Oil.
“The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.” - Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89.
Abhyanga is a Sanskrit word that means self-massage, and it’s a way of providing love and healing to the deepest tissue layers.
Why use Almond Oil for Abhyanga?
It’s essential to use the right oil for Abhyanga. Ideally, one should choose a massage oil based on its unique Prakriti (doshas). Warm and heavy oils are for Vata, cooling and neutral oils are for Pitta, and warm and light oils for Kapha. Since Almond Oil is warm and neutral, it’s suitable for all skin types but especially recommended for those who have dry (Vata) skin.
How to use Almond Oil for Abhyanga?
To use Almond oil for Abhyanga, start by warming half a cup of sweet Almond oil as the skin better absorbs warm oil. Next, decide upon the technique that you’ll be using to massage the oil into the skin. You can calm the hyperactive energy of the Vata dosha with long, slow, steady strokes.
- Start by massaging arms, legs and back. Then, slowly bring your attention to the abdomen. In Ayurveda, the healthy digestive system is considered very important for the overall health of the body and massaging your abdomen enhances overall digestion. Use circular motions in the counterclockwise direction.
- Next, bring your attention to the areas where there is a possibility of the build-up of stress. Some of us hold tension in our shoulders, lower back or even in our chest. It’s essential to bring attention to these areas. Focus on your breath and try to breathe deeply as you do that.
- Now, it’s time to bring your attention to the feet. Our feet have pressure points that help in relaxing the body, so spend some time massaging the feet and then put on socks to let the oil absorb properly.
- You must let the oil remain on your skin for some time. Do not wash off immediately after the massage. You can enter a sauna or steam room to enhance the experience further. An excellent time to experience Abhyanga is before you go to bed as it relaxes your body and helps you sleep better. This also allows the oil to be absorbed in your skin overnight.
Massaging the body with Sweet Almond oil is beneficial not only for adults but also for infants. Ensure the Sweet Almond oil that you use is 100% pure and organic for the best results.
Almond Oil for Aromatherapy
Just like Abhyanga, the practice of Aromatherapy also involves massaging the body with herbal oils. The only difference is in the type of oil used. In Aromatherapy, there’s one carrier oil like Almond oil and one therapeutic essential oil. The purpose of the carrier oil is to dilute the essential oils and “carry” them to your skin. Since the essential oils are concentrated, they can irritate when applied directly to the skin. Hence, they are always used with a carrier oil.
Sweet Almond oil is one of the most popular carrier oils. It has a nutty aroma, the oil is light in texture and gets absorbed easily into the skin. The rich Vitamin E content of Sweet Almond Oil helps repair skin collagen and maintain the smoothness and elasticity of the skin.
Depending on the requirement, you may add 15-60 drops of essential oil to 6 teaspoons of Almond oil for aromatherapy.
Ideal carrier oils are cold-pressed as they are not damaged by heat and are suitable to use with essential oils. Cheap carrier oils are often treated with heat. There are also chances that they are highly refined or contain added additives which can do more harm than good. Kama Ayurveda’s Sweet Almond Oil is cold-pressed, organic, and 100% pure making it an ideal carrier oil.
Frequently Asked Questions about Almond Oil
- What is almond oil good for?
Almond oil is an extremely nourishing oil rich in Vitamins A & E. It nourishes the skin and improves the overall complexion which helps in reviving the natural glow. Almond oil is also useful for lightening dark circles, dark spots, and marks. It’s also suitable for delicate, irritated and sensitive skin types.
Apart from being a nourishing oil for the skin, it’s also ideal for hair massage. It smoothes hair cuticles, helps control hair fall and adds luster to damaged hair. Due to its nourishing, light and warming nature, it’s ideal for baby massages and self-body massage (Abhyanga). It’s also a popular carrier oil in Aromatherapy.
- Can I apply almond oil on my face?
Yes, Almond oil can be applied on the face as it’s fast-absorbing and non-sticky. Warm a small amount in the hands and massage it gently all over the face. Leave it for 30 minutes and cleanse post-treatment with a mild cleanser.
- Which almond oil is best for hair?
It’s recommended to use organic cold-pressed Sweet Almond Oil for your hair as it preserves all the nutrients of almonds and provides your hair and scalp a rich dose of nourishment.
- Can we apply almond oil on the face overnight?
It’s recommended to apply almond oil on the face and let it stay for 30 minutes only.
- How to use almond oil for hair?
Simply apply Sweet Almond Oil to the scalp and gently massage hair from root to tip. Leave it on for at least 20 minutes, cleanse it post-treatment with a mild hair cleanser and warm water. You can also leave the oil in your hair overnight.
- Can I apply almond oil on my body and leave it overnight?
Yes, almond oil can be applied and left on the body overnight.
- Shi Z, et al. (1999). Analysis of physicochemical property and composition of fatty acid of almond oil. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12552899a
- Vitamin E: Fact sheet for health professionals. (2016). ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
- Sumit, K., Vivek, S., Sujata, S., & Ashish, B. (2012). Herbal cosmetics: Used for skin and hair. Inventi Rapid: Cosmeceuticals, 4, 1-7 researchgate.net/profile/Dr_Ashish_Baldi/publication/235944029_Herbal_Cosmetics_Used_for_Skin_and_Hair/links/09e4151497b76aa3c5000000.pdf
- The uses and properties of almond oil - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/41404356_The_uses_and_properties_of_almond_oil