Almond Oil: What This Amazing Nut Can Do for You
Science has come up with plenty of perfectly effective and safe emollients and moisturizers for human skin. But although alpha glucan oligosaccharide, cetyl acetate, and stearic acid may be wonderful compounds, they just can’t compare with what nature provides. Carrot oil, avocado oil, shea butter, and grapeseed oil are all commonly used in better cosmetics to keep skin soft and supple, but the real superstar of natural skin softeners is almond oil.
Unlike chemical compounds, almond oil is exactly what it sounds like—oil extracted from the seed of the sweet almond tree. It’s been used by centuries throughout Europe and the Middle East as a moisturizer, lubricant, healing salve, and superfood, creating beauty from the inside as well as the outside.
On the Skin
Lotions and creams for the face and body contain almond oil because it’s natural, nongreasy, and noncomedogenic. Plus it spreads easily and smoothly and is easily absorbed into the skin. It helps to preserve skin’s moisture balance and can even soothe minor skin irritation like itchy skin, dryness, psoriasis, and mild eczema. Since it contains zinc, which aids in wound healing and has anti-inflammatory properties, it can even help alleviate minor burns and other injuries. (L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil, $22, Usa.loccitane.com)
Almond oil contains large amounts of monounsaturated fats, which promote healthy cell membranes in the skin. It’s a common component of natural anti-aging products because healthy, hydrated skin stays younger longer. (Burt’s Bees Almond Milk Beeswax Hand Cream, $9, BurtsBees.com)
In the Hair
Either in oil form or in ground-almond milk, almonds provide much-needed protein and amino acids that keep hair soft and healthy. It smoothes cuticles, hydrates, and strengthens the hair shaft, and there’s some evidence that it can even prevent and reverse minor hair loss. Used in its pure form, it can even substitute for regular styling products as a shine enhancer and leave-in conditioner. (Klorane Volumising Shampoo with Almond Milk, $19.50, BigelowChemists.com)
For the Nails
Nail and cuticle treatments containing almond oil or almond extract can help keep nails strong, hydrated, and less prone to peeling and breaking. Pure almond oil can be used in place of cuticle oil to massage and care for rough, ragged cuticles, and products containing almond oil can also help to deliver fatty acids and replace the moisture balance lost during cold or dry weather or from the effects of soap. (The Body Shop Almond hand and Nail Cream, $12, TheBodyShop.com)
In the Diet
Almonds have been found to be among the most nutritious and vitamin-packed of all nuts. Besides being low in fat and cholesterol and containing phytochemicals that may help prevent heart disease and cancer, almonds are high in protein, calcium, and vitamins D and E. The vitamins act as active antioxidants, protein and good fats help build strong hair, and calcium contributes to beautiful teeth and nails. Raw almonds, along with almond milk, are also low-calorie, gluten-free, and vegan, which makes them a natural part of a healthful diet to maintain a normal weight.
Try pure almond oil in homemade facial masks and exfoliating scrubs, or use it as a massage oil. Apply a little bit immediately after a shower to keep skin soft, or even use almond oil on babies to soothe diaper rash.
Besides all of their nourishing, moisturizing, and hydrating benefits, almonds and almond products simply smell delicious. Whoever luxuriated in the delicate aroma of stearic acid? Just one more win for nature.