What can’t almond oil do for your skin?

By Kaitlin Clark
Jun 24, 2020 @ 12:48 pm
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Credit: Hannah Criswell/Stocksy

As the old saying goes, "everything old is new again" — even when it comes to beauty products. Case in point: almond oil.

According to a 2009 research study from the National Institutes of Health, which dug into the science behind the myriadpf benefits of using almond oil, researchers found that “almond oil had been used in Ancient Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Greco-Persian schools of medicine to treat dry skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.”

The study also noted that in both clinical trials and anecdotally, almond oil has been known to heal much more than your every day, run-of-the-mill dry skin issues.

To find out more about the benefits of using almond oil, we tapped Manhattan-based dermatologists Dr. Morgan Rabach and Dr. Hadley King for the lowdown on this seemingly magical ingredient and how to integrate it into your skincare routine.

Spoiler alert: it’s ridiculously easy.

What Is Almond Oil?

As its name would suggest, sweet almond oil is extracted from raw almonds.

Almond trees are native to warmer climates, historically the Northern African region, but the majority of today’s almonds are exported from across the Mediterranean. The minerals and vitamins these little nuts contain are beneficial for the whole body.

In the 2009 NIH study, scientists and researchers linked almond oil several healing properties, including "anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting and anti-hepatotoxicity” in addition to other cardiovascular benefits, like lowering cholesterol levels.

Benefits of Almond Oil for Skin

Almond oil’s gentle nature and sweeping list of minerals and vitamins offer solutions for nearly every common skin concern.

“Sweet almond oil is rich in vitamin E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium and zinc,” explains Dr. King. “It is mild and hypoallergenic, so it is safe to use directly, even on sensitive skin.”

If there was ever a jack-of-all-trades in skincare form, Dr. King says almond oil just may be it. “It encompasses a great combination of properties: moisturizing, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant," she shares.

Discover more benefits below.

VIDEO: The Stretch Mark Oil With a 1,000-Person Waitlist Is Finally Back in Stock

Almond Oil Benefit No. 1: Hydration, Hydration, Hydration!

Perhaps the oil’s most famous benefit is the immediate boost of moisture it locks into skin. Thanks to its emollient properties and high percentages of vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper, it “helps restore the outer layer of skin, prevents water loss and rehabs dry, flaking skin,” says Dr. Rabach.

To watch it work its magic, apply it all over your face and body, paying special attention to callused feet, dry cuticles and flaky areas, the dermatologist recommends.

Almond Oil Benefit No. 2: Helps Balance Uneven Skin Texture

Although Rabach cautions that reducing the appearance of stretch marks skews more anecdotal wives tale than scientific fact, there may still be some topical benefits for pregnant women due to its moisturizing properties.

But one unquestionable factor, according to Rabach, is the antioxidant vitamin E found in the oil. "[It] may help with the signs of aging by reducing oxidative stress and damage from the environment, like pollutants, sunlight and blue light from screens, and also help with texture, scars and striae," she says.

Almond Oil Benefit No. 3: Slows Signs of Aging

To further improve skin’s overall appearance and luminosity, almond oil also contains some vitamin A, also known as retintol. “This can help even out skin tone, texture, and prevent wrinkles,” says Rabach, making it a more natural solution to a fresh, brightened complexion.

Almond Oil Benefit No. 4: Reverses Sun Damage

Of course, nothing substitutes proper skin protection from wearing at least SPF 30. But just in case your younger self was a little more loose with sunscreen, vitamin E can come to the rescue to protect your skin from further damage and heal the damage that’s already been done.

“Regular use of vitamin E, with its antioxidant properties, will help protect the skin from free radical damage from UV rays and pollution,” explains Dr. King. However, Rabach adds that vitamin E isn’t a cure-all for past sun choices. "It can certainly help, but it probably can’t reverse all damage,” she says.

Almond Oil Benefit No. 5: Calms Skin Irritation

“Irritated and sensitive skin will benefit most from almond oil,” says King. “Its anti-inflammatory fatty acids and vitamins A and E can be soothing to inflamed skin and may help to rejuvenate damaged skin as well.“

How to Integrate Almond Oil Into Your Routine

“I like to use moisturizers and moisturizing cleansers that contain almond oil,” says King, who reaches for GoodJanes Say Goodnight Cleansing Balm to remove makeup and gently cleanse the skin without worrying about a drying side effect.

To shop: $44; amazon.com

Rabach recommends using sweet almond oil in pure form, like Allpa Botanical’s organic, cold-pressed formulation, and patting a few drops over moisturizer at night for extra hydration. “It takes a while for almond oil to sink into skin, so using the direct product works well,” she says. And for an all-over-your-body softness, L’Occitane Cleansing And Softening Shower Oil With Almond Oil is her tried-and-true favorite for daily use.

To shop: $18; allpabotanicals.com

To shop: $25; sephora.com

Drawbacks to Using Almond Oil

Nut allergies still hold court here with topical applications, so if you’re sensitive to almonds or nuts in general, it’s probably best to skip almond oil and stick to another moisturizing oil, like rosehip or safflower seed.

And it may not be ideal for all skin types, Dr. King adds. “If you are very oily and acne-prone, there may be other oils that will work better for you,” she says.