Almond oil has been used for centuries for skin and hair health, drawing its benefits from the antioxidant properties, vitamins, and other elements found in almonds themselves.
The two types of almond oil, bitter almond and sweet almond, have different properties and are used for different purposes. Sweet almond oil can help your skin to appear radiant and healthy, and may soothe irritated skin. Bitter almond is used in soap, massage oils, and other products.
This article explores how almond oils are made, how they’re used, and the skin and hair benefits they offer. It will help to make you aware of risks as well, especially for people with tree nut allergies.
What Is Almond Oil
There are two types of almond oils, each with different uses:
- Bitter almond oil has a strong smell and is sometimes used in soaps, aromatherapy, and massage therapy. It’s fine for skin care but it has toxic properties when ingested.
- Sweet almond oil is extracted from sweet almonds. It is commonly used as an ingredient in skincare and hair products.
Sweet almond oil is extracted from the fruit of the Prunus amygalus dulcis almond tree, native to Asia and the Middle East. They first appeared in the United States in the 19th century. Bitter almonds come from a different variant of the same tree, the Prunus amygalus amara.
Cold-pressed almond oil is extracted from almonds by pressing them with a modern steel press at room temperature.
Squeezing almonds will produce an oil, which contains many nutritional properties, including antioxidants and fatty acids. You can use both sweet or bitter almond oil, for skin tightening and other hair and skin care. However, bitter almond oil can be toxic if you eat or drink it.
Uses of Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is jam-packed with antioxidants and fatty acids. It can penetrate deeply to deliver immediate skin and hair benefits.
Almond oil—thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties—has many uses. Some people drink it in smoothies, while others use it topically as part of their daily skin routine.
Sweet almond oil is available in stores and online as pure oil. You can also find it as an ingredient in many cosmetic and hair care products, including:
- Body butter
- Balm for lips
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash
- Brightening serums
- Facial cleansers
Sweet almond oil is excellent for hair. Proponents say it can provide multiple benefits, including:
- Repairing damaged hair
- Taming frizz
- Promoting hair growth
Nutrients in Almond Oil
Almond oil is loaded with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and proteins. These nutrients offer the many benefits of almond oil for skin and hair.
Almond oil is rich in vitamin A, which can give your skin a healthy, radiant glow. Vitamin A (retinol) has myriad skin benefits, including:
- Preventing acne breakouts
- Hydrating the dermis and epidermis—the top two layers of the skin
- Stimulating the production of new skin cells
- Reducing the appearance of fine lines
Vitamin D—the “sunshine vitamin”—is beneficial to skin and hair health. Studies show that a lack of vitamin D can lead to multiple skin problems, including:
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Delayed wound healing
When almond oil is applied to the skin, the vitamin D may help to:
- Reduce bacterial overgrowth
- Clear up red and inflamed acne
- Alleviate symptoms of dermatitis
- Prevent hair loss
Almond oil is one of the best dietary sources of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from harmful free radicals. These chemicals are linked to many chronic diseases and aging.
Vitamin E in almond oil may help the skin with the following:
- Fading scars
- Healing sun damage
- Reducing the signs of aging
Almond oil for skin is rich in minerals that also are good for overall health and wellbeing, including:
Zinc is beneficial for clearing up acne. Magnesium helps prevent calcium build-up on the scalp, reducing dandruff and dry, flaky scalp. It also helps promote hair growth.
Some males use almond oil to promote facial hair growth but there is no evidence that it plays a role in female hair growth. Iron is more commonly associated with healthy hair growth in women but more study is needed to determine its role.
Omega Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are remarkably beneficial to skin health. They are essential to healthy skin, delivering antioxidants that can provide anti-aging results.
Almond oil has a balanced fatty acid composition. It contains up to 30% of linoleic acid—an omega-6 essential fatty acid that helps skin retain moisture, which is key to maintaining hydrated, healthy skin.
Whether you consume food-grade almond oil or apply it topically, the fatty acids can help your skin look smoother and younger, no matter your skin type or age.
Don’t use almond oil if you have a nut allergy. Almond oil contains nut allergens and may cause an allergic reaction if consumed or used topically.
Vitamin K is a little-known nutrient that plays a significant role in keeping your skin healthy. Its presence in almond oil may help reduce the appearance of marks on the skin, including:
- Stretch marks
- Spider veins
Vitamin K in almond oil has the following skin benefits:
- Strengthens capillaries (the smallest blood vessels in the body)
- Reduces puffy eyes
- Reduces skin redness
- Soothes sensitive skin
While almond oils may offer benefits for your eyelashes and eyebrows, it’s important to be sure you use safe products around your eyes. Keep in mind that home remedies and their recipes, especially those shared on social media, may not come from reputable sources.
Almond oil contains many nutrients that benefit the skin, including vitamin A, D, E, K, omega fatty acids, and minerals. These components may help skin appear firmer, clearer, and more hydrated.
Almond oil has many potential benefits for the skin, including the possibility of reducing the appearance of scarring and wrinkles.
Treats Skin Conditions
Almond oil is both a moisturizer (provides hydration) and emollient (smooths the skin). This combination makes it a popular choice for skincare products.
It is safe for sensitive skin because it is non-irritating and light. People use almond oil to treat skin conditions, including:
Research has found that hand cream with sweet almond oil offers relief from hand dermatitis. In particular, it relieved burning, stinging, red, and itchy skin. In addition, thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, almond oil works well for acne-prone skin, helping reduce redness and inflammation.
Some people use almond oil as a daily face moisturizer because it can improve complexion and skin tone. You can apply almond oil to the face overnight as a moisturizer.
Wound healing after injury or post-surgery often causes scarring on the skin. Ayurvedic and ancient Chinese medicine practitioners use almond oil to reduce the appearance of scars and soothe the skin.
Both anecdotal evidence and clinical experiences have shown that almond oil helps reduce post-surgical scarring.
For example, researchers have noted the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil, which can reduce the appearance of scars. However, there is no conclusive data, so more research is needed to demonstrate its effectiveness in reducing post-surgical scarring.
Almond oil is a popular natural remedy to help calm and smooth the skin, and some people use it to reduce the appearance of acne scars on the face.
Eliminate Stretch Marks
When your body experiences rapid growth during puberty or pregnancy, the stretching can cause the skin’s collagen and elastin to rupture. Then, as the skin heals, stretch marks form on the body.
Research shows that almond oil can prevent stretch marks in pregnant people and reduce itching caused by stretch marks as the skin heals. For example, one study of pregnant people found that stretch marks were less likely to develop when participants applied almond oil directly to the skin each day.
If you already have stretch marks, regularly massaging almond oil on the skin may help fade their appearance while also toning and softening the skin.
Reduces UV Damage
Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause premature aging, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots on the skin. Research shows that almond oil is effective at slowing down premature aging caused by sun damage.
Almond oil is an effective barrier, protecting the skin from harmful UV rays. In addition, the vitamin E contained in the oil has antioxidant properties that prevent cell damage from UV rays.
A small clinical study showed that almond oil sunscreen has an SPF of 15 and is comparable to other commercial SPF 15 sunscreens. In addition, in a study on animal models, almond oil effectively prevented skin damage from the sun when applied topically.
Applying almond oil to your face and body along with a good sunscreen may be a great way to help prevent sun damage and keep your skin looking youthful.
Promotes Healthy Hair
No matter your hair type, almond oil has advantages for improving your hair’s appearance and health. When added to shampoo, almond oil can give the hair a natural-appearing shine, helping it appear healthy and radiant.
At a cellular level, almond oil’s smoothing properties help repair existing damage to the hair. In addition, it can help add moisture and elasticity thanks to being rich in omega fatty acids. Specifically, almond oil has hair and scalp benefits, including:
- Hair loss: One study showed that applying almond oil directly to the scalp can help reverse hair loss. However, more research is needed to prove its effectiveness in promoting hair growth.
- Dandruff: If you’re experiencing an itchy, red scalp or dandruff, applying almond oil directly to the scalp can help reduce inflammation and soothe an irritated scalp.
- Frizz: Dealing with frizzy hair? Adding a pea-sized amount of almond oil to the ends of your hair can hydrate and decrease the frizz.
To use almond oil on your hair, apply it to the scalp and gently massage from the roots to the tip. Leave on for 20 or more minutes (or overnight if desired).
Almond oil has many potential skin health benefits, including reducing the appearance of scars, fine lines, and stretch marks. In addition, some people use it to relieve skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. However, studies are limited, so more research is needed to back up these claims.
Sweet almond oil is generally safe for anyone to use on their hair and skin. However, some people should avoid using almond oil, including:
- People with nut allergies
- Those with acne-prone skin should avoid applying almond oil directly to the face, as it may block pores and cause pimples and breakouts.
Sweet almond oil contains many nutrients good for the skin, including vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and antioxidants. Therefore, the oil may help soothe and hydrate skin and hair.
Some people also use it to reduce the appearance of scars, stretch marks, and wrinkles and to treat skin conditions. Limited studies support some of these benefits, but more research is needed.
A Word From Verywell
This popular oil can be purchased as oil or found in cosmetics and personal care products in stores and online. Almond oil is generally considered very safe, so most people can use it without problems. However, if you have acne, you should avoid applying directly to your skin, as it may clog pores. In addition, if you have nut allergies, do not use almond oil, even topically.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I apply almond oil on my face overnight?
Most companies that make almond oil products say that it’s fine to use them on the face overnight.
Is almond oil good for skin tightening?
Almond oil may improve skin moisture, but it isn’t likely to deliver skin tightening results.
Does almond oil make lips pink?
Almond oil won’t change your lip color, but it can improve lip moisture and prevent chapped lips. This tends to make lips appear more pink.