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.
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.
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.
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.
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.