It feels like we hear about almonds a lot these days, as they're one of the most popular dairy alternatives for all your latte needs. But did you know the nut has some major benefits that make it worthy of your skincare routine? Almond oil is actually an age-old hero ingredient—aesthetic doctor and oculoplastic surgeon Maryam Zamani, MD, says that ancient cultures used it to treat dry skin and hypertrophic scars as well as rejuvenate skin overall. If you're as intrigued as we are, Zamani and three other experts share all you need to know about almond oil for skin, from its main benefits to how to use it, ahead.
Meet the Expert
- Maryam Zamani, MD, is an aesthetic doctor and oculoplastic surgeon based in London. Her subtle approach and holistic strategy have earned her a loyal international following.
- Dr. Kevin Mun is the co-founder and chief scientific officer of Venn, a skincare brand focused on groundbreaking technologies that deliver powerful natural ingredients to your skin.
- Rose Ingleton, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of her eponymous skincare line, which brings plant-based ingredients from the Caribbean region into high-powered products for all.
- Marie Hayag, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of Fifth Avenue Aesthetics.
Type of ingredient: Hydrator
Main benefits: Reduces irritation, helps with UV damage, reduces stretch marks
Who should use it: In general, almond oil is suitable for anyone with skin in need of calming and hydration.
How often to use it: As often as any other oil, so usually once or twice a day.
Works well with: Other oils
Don’t use: If you have a nut allergy.
What Is Almond Oil?
Almond oil is a vitamin E- and antioxidant-rich extract that comes from pressing or grinding almonds. Zamani says that it contains anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties, both of which are useful for the colder seasons, as well as cardiovascular benefits that help to improve your body's cholesterol.
But it's not just for ingesting: "Almond oil is rich in vitamin D, vitamin E (tocopherol), and various minerals that help soothe the skin from irritation, protect the skin from UV radiation damage, and restore the skin’s moisture barrier," Mun explains. This helps to explain why almond oil for skin is so popular, as it has the power to address many common concerns and leave you with a healthy, radiant complexion.
Types of Almond Oil
There are two main types of almond oil: bitter and sweet. Bitter almond oil has a strong smell and is generally not safe to eat or drink, but it is safely used in soaps, aromatherapy, and massage therapy, like many essential oils. Sweet almond oil is typically safe to ingest, and it's commonly found in many skincare and haircare products. While both have their benefits, chances are you've heard of the latter, as it's more widely used in beauty and wellness.
Benefits of Almond Oil for Skin
- Reduces Skin Irritation: Whether you're dealing with itchiness and swelling or something more clinical like psoriasis or eczema, almond oil can soothe the irritation as a quick fix before finding a more permanent solution. Applying it topically adds an extra dose of moisture, which can help relieve irritation.
- Calms Inflammation: "For acne patients, it is an alternative to harsher ingredients," says Hayag says of almond oil for skin. "It not only dissolves excess oil on the face, but [it] also decreases inflammation."
- Rejuvenates Skin: Zamani suggested that almond oil can help revitalize and rejuvenate your skin when it's looking dull or tired. The product contains softening properties that come in handy when your skin isn't at its best.
- Evens Skin Tone: It can even out your skin tone and improve your complexion over time, revealing a new and improved version of your skin.
- Provides Antioxidants: This hero ingredient can also protect against environmental factors: "Almond oil has high concentrations of vitamin E, magnesium phosphorus, and copper, and therefore is a rich antioxidant," Ingleton notes.
- Reduces Stretch Marks: Although there's not enough research to prove whether almond oil is a cure for stretch marks (cure is a strong word), one study suggests that it helped prevent women's stretch marks from spreading or forming. Almond oil's incredible softening properties mean that when it's applied to areas where stretch marks typically occur, it softens that skin to allow for it to stretch without exacerbating the marks. The softened skin can handle stretching more than untreated skin, so we're definitely trying this one out.
- Hydrates Skin: Applying almond oil to your skin is a great way to lock in moisture and keep your skin glowing all day long. Face oils are a shortcut to dewy skin, and almond oil is no exception. Not only will your skin feel hydrated, but it will also have an overall better texture and more even tone.
Side Effects of Almond Oil
While almond oil is a gentle ingredient for most, you won't want to use it if you have a sensitivity or allergy to almonds. "Avoid using almond oil if you have a known nut allergy," Ingleton emphasizes. Putting it on your skin can be almost as bad as ingesting it—if you experience a rash or other concerning side effects from using almond oil on your skin, stop use immediately and contact your doctor for next steps.
People with acne-prone skin may also want to be cautious with almond oil. While it's non-comedogenic and many do still use it without issues, if you find that oil products seem to clog your pores or break you out, this may not be the best option for you.
How to Use Almond Oil for Skin
Sweet almond oil is available for sale on its own, and some people use it that way. "Since almond oil has a very slow skin absorption rate, it is good to use almond oil as a standalone ingredient directly on the skin," Mun explains.
Almond oil is good for your skin and hair, and if you're looking for as simple a product as can be, the standalone product is a great option. However, it also can be integrated into any moisturizing product, allowing you to reap its benefits in creams, lotions, and more.. "Because almond oil is rich with nutrients that help protect and soothe the skin, it is often used in baby skincare formulations," Mun says.
Can almond oil clog pores?
Sweet almond oil is considered non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog your pores. It's commonly used in skincare formulations targeted for oily skin types.
Does almond oil have side effects?
While almond oil is generally safe to use on the skin, those with nut allergies should avoid using it as a skincare ingredient.
Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070
Kalita S, Khandelwal S, Madan J, Pandya H, Sesikeran B, Krishnaswamy K. Almonds and cardiovascular health: a review. Nutrients. 2018;10(4):468. doi:10.3390/nu10040468
Hajhashemi M, Rafieian M, Rouhi boroujeni HA, et al. The effect of Aloe vera gel and sweet almond oil on striae gravidarum in nulliparous women. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2018;31(13):1703-1708. doi:10.1080/14767058.2017.1325865