Almond oil has been used extensively for its health benefits and as a beauty aid much before science caught up with the goodness of this seed oil, it is credited with promoting heart and skin health.
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.
Relieving muscle pains and soreness: This is one of the main traditional uses of bitter almond oil, the same benefits can be obtained from sweet almond oil, but without the poisoning risk associated with the former. Massage this protein-rich oil into tired muscles to rejuvenate them. Aromatherapy uses almond oil to relax knotty muscles. For best results, warm the almond oil over gentle heat until it becomes nearly unbearable to touch, apply this hot oil to the aching muscles and massage it in well. Wet a thick towel in hot water, wring it, and then use it to cover the massaged area. Leave it on for at least half an hour or as long as you can. This treatment relieves muscle fatigue by drawing out toxins.
Relieve eczema and 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 you 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.
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 every week for beautiful, radiant skin.
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. 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.
To remove dark circles and 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 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 treat skin rashes: Skin rashes are very common in the nappy area of young kids wearing diapers. In adults too, skin may become inflamed from constant rubbing against hard materials, including underwear. Skin to skin friction also can result in chafed skin. This type of contact dermatitis can result in soreness and burning sensation, doctors usually prescribe zinc-based ointments to reduce the inflammation. Almond oil is a better alternative to these creams. For one thing, you don’t have to worry about the chemical substances contained in commercial products irritating the skin further. Also, almond oil with its rich store of zinc is as good as any store-bought creams or lotions available. Application is simple enough, just dip three fingers in the oil and gently dab the oil on the affected area. Leave it on until all the oil is gradually absorbed into the skin. You can safely use almond oil on chafed skin anywhere on the body, even on baby skin, as long as you don’t have a specific allergy to this oil.
To reduce fine lines and other signs of aging: smooth, supple skin is a sign of youthfulness, but a structural protein called collagen is behind this flawless look. Collagen forms an even layer under the skin and acts as a good padding that keeps the skin taut, yet supple. Fine wrinkles start to appear as one age because of thinning of the skin and unevenness in the collagen padding underneath. It is an inevitable part of the natural aging process, but premature aging can result from excess exposure to sun, tobacco smoke, and dehydration. With proper protective measure and skin care, the aging process can be slowed down to some extent. Oxidative stress is one main reason for the deterioration of collagen layer, almond oil has a role to play here. Almond oil contains Vitamin E, which is one of the most potent antioxidants known, it can help repair some of the damage done to the collagen layer. The oil is especially rich in proteins, and can provide the amino acids required for the formation of collagen. External application of the oil can prevent dehydration by reducing moisture loss from the skin.