Almond Oil

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Almond oil is one of the best oils for hair and skin care. It has got lots of nutrients and beneficial properties which make it such a powerful cosmetic ingredient. the results obtained by using almond oil on skin can be comparable to that of many powerful skin care products, sans all the side effects. It can help one get rid of dark circles in weeks. Sweet almond oil is also safe to ingested internally. In fact, it is well reputed as a medicinal oil in the Unani system of Medicine.

Source

Almond oil is extracted from almonds. There are many varieties of almonds, but they are generally classified into two classes.

Bitter Almonds – These are almonds that are bitter to taste. They are hardly ever eaten, or used in recipes. Bitter almonds however are used to produce bitter almond oil.  These almonds contain a small amount of hydrogen cyanide, which is extremely poisonous. Eating just a few of these almonds can lead to a vertigo, or even death.

Sweet Almonds – These are the almonds that we are accustomed to eating. They are used to produce sweet almond oil. This oil too has a sweet taste, making almond oil one of the tastiest almond oils. 

Almond is actually a drupe, not a nut. It is native to the Mediterranean and Middle East. Presently, the largest producer of almonds is USA, most of which comes from the state of California. Spain too is known for its high quality almonds. Different varieties of almonds have slight differences in taste, and this subtle difference also reflects in the oil.

Almond Oil
Almond Oil (Image:Shutterstock)

Properties

Let us look into the therapeutical properties of almond oil, both sweet and bitter almond oil. In general, the properties of sweet almond oil and bitter almond oil are similar for topical application. For internal use, only sweet almond oil is used, and there is no point in discussing the health benefits of bitter almond oil because it is hazardous when ingested.

These are the therapeutic properties of Sweet Almond oil [1]. 

  • Anti-Inflammatory  – It reduces inflammation topically and also when ingested.
  • Anti-oxidant – Almond oil possesses mild antioxidant capacity.
  • Immune Booster – Topical as well as internal application of sweet almond oil boosts immunity and provides robust protection from various diseases.
  • Anti-hepatotoxic – Almond oil is known to aid the liver in eliminating toxins. This is also performed by castor oil.
  • Emollient – excellent moisturization property. It is used to eliminate excessively dry skin.
  • Sclerosant – Used to treat vascular issues like spider veins, hemorrhoids and varicose veins.
  • Laxative – promotes defecation and relieves constipation. This laxative action is mild as compared to stronger laxatives like castor oil.
  • Analgesic – almond oil is mild pain reliever
  • Muscle Relaxation  – massage with almond oil soothes stressed and sore muscles.
  • Cicatrizant – helps wounds heal faster.
  • Anti-dandruff – it dissolves away dandruff from the scalp.

These beneficial properties of almond oil makes it so useful in many personal conditions. It provides several health benefits.

Uses and Health Benefits

Almond oil is a leader among oils for its cosmetic properties. It can be used for numerous problems of the skin, hair and particularly the face.

Almond Oil for Skin

Almond oil can be used for the following skin conditions and also as a general natural skin care ingredient.

  • Moisturize the skin – Almond oil is an excellent emollient. It locks moisture inside the skin. So, apply it right after a shower for maximum benefits.
  • Treats dry and dull skin – Is you skin extremely dry ? Then sweet almond oil is the best oil for skin massage. It slowly heals dry skin condition. Within a few weeks of regular application, one can see lesser cracks in skin and lesser flaking.
  • Chapped lips no more – If you ever happen to suffer from chapped lips, use almond oil instead of the chap stick. You’ll love the results. The best thing about almond oil is that it tastes sweet, unlike the awful tasting olive oil and almost all other oils.
  • Get smooth, silky and glowing skin – Almond oil application helps one achieve really smooth skin. The skin becomes more elastic and uniform in texture. There is a mild glow to the skin as well.
  • Helps in psoriasis, eczema and other forms of dermatitis – Almond oil may not be able to treat these conditions, but it does help the skin heal faster and better.[1]
  • Removes makeup like a boss – Take a few drops of almond oil on a cotton ball and just wipe across your face. All the makeup adheres to the cotton ball. The skin feels really fresh. So, no more washing incessantly to remove makeup.

The Best Massage Oil – Almond oil is widely acclaimed and recognized as the most popular massage oil. It is most widely used by massage therapists. Almond oil has low viscosity ( it spreads easily ), it is thin and light.  Small amount of almond oil spreads across a large surface on the skin. It doesn’t get absrobed quickly, so massage therapist need not reapply it.

Almond Oil For Face

On the face, almond oil can be massaged directly to smooth out wrinkles and reduce sagging skin. It is absolute best to treat dark eye circles. Just apply a few drops under the eyes and gently massage the under eye skin. Sleep with the oil still on. Next morning, you may find more than regular waste products exuding from the eye. Almond oil really boosts blood cirulation near the eyes and promotes eyes to cleane better. When done regularly, it can improve dark circles and reduce eye strain. Almond oil is a rejuvenator for the eyes.

Almond Oil For Hair

Just as almond oil is quite useful for the skin, it is excellent for hair health as well.

  • Dandruff – In many people, dandruff is aggravated by dry scalp condition. In that case, almond oil really helps to curb the flakiness. Just apply a very small amount of almond oil directly onto the scalp. make sure to massage into the hair roots. Wash it after 30 minutes. Most of the dandruff should be gone within 3 treatments.
  • Dry scalp care – Almond oil can really provide moisturization to dry, parched scalps. If you do not apply a hair oil regularly, then your scalp may suffer from extreme dryness.
  • Get shiny hair – Applying a small amount of almond oil to hair shafts increases the gloss or shine of the hair. This works better if your hair is wet. Do not apply large amounts of almond oil because then your hair will be drenched in oil.
  • Detangle hair – Dabbing a few drops of almond oil detangles hair. So, one can comb easier. It also prevents hair loss due to tangled hair, which is completely unnecessary.
  • No split ends – Small amount of almond oil applied to hair ends gets rid of split ends.
  • Hot Oil Treatment for Healthy Hair – Almond oil makes a good hot oil treatment. One can warm this oil and massage on the scalp. Cover the scalp with a shower cap. Leave it on for 2 – 3 hours, and then wash it off with cool water. This provides deep conditioning to hair, making them look soft and healthy. This treatment, done once a week can improve hair growth.

Do not use pure almond oil as regular hair oil. It is still dense enough to be avoided as hair oil. For a hair oil, one should choose very light oils.

Almond Oil For Colon Cleanse

Add 4 – 6 drops of sweet almond oil to your juice, smoothie or milk. Drink this late at night before sleep. This works to clean the bowels and perform a mild bowel cleanse. This remedy is also good for constipation.
Pain relieving massage
A massage with almond oil is used to relieve pain and stress caused by sore muscles. It can alleviate muscle cramps and pain in the chest as well.

Health benefits of Sweet Almond Oil

Besides these uses for skin, hair and the bowel, almond oil in diet can provide significant health benefits.

Anti – Colon Cancer

Consumption of pure sweet almond oil can reduce the risk of developing colon cancer. This effect has been established in this study. [1]

There is no in depth details about this effect. But, one can assume that almond oil surely has some protective effect on the colon. One can assume that drinking olive oil can delay or even stop the conversion of benign colon polyps to cancerous ones.

Heal Scars And Stretch Marks

The same study found out that almond oil heals post operative scars. There was very little hypertrophic scarring. This highlights the potential of almond oil usage to heal any kind of scars. This also applies to stretch marks.

The real cause behind stretch marks is a tearing produced in the dermis. It creates a differential movement between the dermis and the epidermis, leaving the collagen no time to fill up the stretch. It heals slowly. Almond oil can boost this healing process and help the skin fill up the camber formed by stretching.

Almond oil benefits

History

Almond oil has been extracted since ancient times. We know this since its usage is mentioned in many ancient and medieval books on medicine.

Traditional Medicinal Uses
Almond oil is frequently mentioned in the writings of famous herbalits throughout the ages. Here is their opinion on almond oil. In the absence of much quality modern scientific research on almond oil, these are our sources for dependable information on the health benefits of almond oil.

John Gerard  – The eclectic herbalist Gerard has mentioned about almond oil. He indicates that almond oil is great for relieving pain on the outside through a massage. It also relieves a colic.

Discorides ( author of Materia Medica ) has mentioned some recipes for oitments made using almond oil. Culpeper mentions the application of almond oil for massaging the temples which is believed to improve brain function and relieve stress.

Nutritional Information

Almond oil is reputed for its nutritional quality. It is high in Vitamin E. 100 gm of Almond oil provides about 200 % the daily requirement ( RDI ) of Vitamin E. Rest all vitamins and minerals are in neglibgible amounts, except for small amounts of Vitamin K. What we are really interested in is the fat composition of Almond oil and the health benefits thereof.

Almond oil contains the following macro composition within fats in 100 gm oil.

  • Saturated Fats – 6.2 gm
  • Monounsaturated fats – 69.9 gm
  • Polyunsaturated fats – 17.4 gm

In depth nutritional profile.

Nutrient Percentage Property
Palmitic Acid  6.5 % Saturated fat
Stearic Acid  1.8 % Saturated fat
Palmitoleic Acid  0.6 % MUFA
Oleic Acid  69.39 % MUFA
Linoleic Acid  17.40 % PUFA
Alpha Linolenic Acid  0.1 % PUFA
Arachidic Acid  traces PUFA
Eicosenoic Acid  traces PUFA
Behenic  traces PUFA
Erucic  traces PUFA

Data taken from Nutritiondata.self.com

The dominant fatty acid is Oleic Acid, which is Omega – 9 fatty acid. Linoleic acid is Omega – 6, so we have 17% omega 6 in almond oil.  Omega – 3 is very low in almond oil.

However there is one thing to note. Almond oil contains about 6 % Palmitic acid. This saturated fat is partly healthy, partly unhealthy. This fat has been found to prevent the body from releasing appetite suppressing signals. In other words, it prevents you from binging on delicious foods. This may be indirectly related to weight gain.

Other important nutritional and chemical parameters of almond oil.

Nutrient Percentage Property
Density  0.91 g/ml Good for massage oil
Storage temperature  2 – 8 ° C Ideal temperature to keep the oil good
Comedogenicity  2 Rated from 0 to 5

Almond Oil And Its Comedogenicity
Almond oil is rates as comedogenicity 2 on a scale from 0 to 5. 0 refers to non-comedogenic and 5 refers to highly comedogenic. The term comedogenic is a tendency of a substance to clog skin pores. Almond oil should be avoided by people who are suffering from acne.

References

1. The uses and properties of almond oil. Ahmad Z. NCBI.
2. Almond Oil – Chemicalbook.com
3. Comedogenic Ratings – Beneficial Botanicals
4. Analysis of physicochemical property and composition of fatty acid of almond oil.Article in Chinese. Shi Z, Fu Q, Chen B, Xu S.NCBI

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