Dermatologists Love Avocado Oil for Skin—Here's Why

avocado and jars of lotion

Liz deSousa for BYRDIE

We're willing to bet avocados already play a major role in your everyday life. Whether you eat the creamy green goodness on toast or cook with its oil, the uses of avocado are far from limited. As it turns out, avocado oil is just as impressive when applied topically as it is when you eat it. And if avocado is the magical fruit, consider avocado oil the magical juice. As if you weren't already obsessed with avocados enough, we're here to give you even more reason to believe it really is a top-notch ingredient for your overall health and your skin. To get all the facts, we consulted board-certified dermatologists.

Meet the Expert

Keep reading to find out the benefits of the natural ingredient and the many reasons avocado oil deserves a spot in your daily diet and beauty routine.

Avocado Oil

Type of ingredient: Antioxidant, emollient, and anti-inflammatory.

Main benefits: Helps the skin maintain hydration and minimizes damage from free radicals.

Who should use it: Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, Russak recommends avocado oil for anybody who has eczema, acne, seborrheic dermatitis, or psoriasis.

How often can you use it: Avocado oil is safe to use daily in a dilute form. If it is included in a product’s formulation, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Works well with: Russak recommends combining avocado oil with retinol. “The most absorption of the retinol happens with a fat-soluble content,” Russak explains. “Combining it with an oil will increase absorption and decrease the irritation from it.” Although avocado oil has moisturizing properties, Hayag says it also would be beneficial for maximal moisture to use in combination with a humectant like hyaluronic acid to draw water into the skin.

Don’t use with: There are no ingredients that contraindicate with avocado oil, but Russak suggests refraining from using the oil with other oils, such as vitamin K. “You’re just creating too much of the lipids on the surface of the skin, and lipids start competing in terms of how they penetrate the skin, so it will decrease the efficacy of whatever you’re trying to do,” Russak explains.

What Is Avocado Oil?

Avocado oil is derived from—you guessed it—an avocado. So let's talk vital nutrients. Avocado has very, very high fiber, low sugar, and it has all the multivitamin cofactors that we need (potassium, sodium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, vitamin B6, and niacin). It also has a very strong antioxidant activity and a high concentration of monounsaturated fat. Avocado oil helps the skin in many ways and for that reason, you'll find it in various masks, creams, and moisturizers.

When purchasing avocado oils, Hayag stresses the importance of finding products that are organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed. "This would ensure the consumer that they are purchasing avocado oil in its purest form, which would provide its maximum benefits," Hayag says. And not only should you look at how it’s processed, but also where it’s processed from. As Russak points out, avocados from different regions have a slightly different composition in terms of avocado oil, so it’s helpful to know how your product is being sourced.

Benefits of Avocado Oil for Skin

When applied topically, avocado oil has many cosmetic benefits, such as:

  • Promotes and affects total collagen content: Although more studies are needed to show whether avocado oil increases collagen or not, Russak says researchers do know that it decreases all the pathways that break down your collagen more. As Russak explains, "What they noticed is that there is some increase in soluble collagen content, and there’s inhibition of the enzyme lysyl oxidase, which also breaks down collagen."
  • Minimizes damage: Russak points out that avocados and avocado oil are excellent sources of antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which help to absorb free radicals so we can protect ourselves from environmental damage.
  • Increases metabolic energy process in mitochondria: Even mitochondria function is better when you take avocado oil. "It does that by decreasing the free radicals and lipid peroxidation," Russak explains. "We want the energy production up in the skin because we want the cell renewal. Lipid peroxidation is the protection of the lipid cell membrane of the cells, so we want that from the skin also."
  • Helps skin maintain hydration: According to Hayag, avocado oil can act as an emollient and has occlusive properties. “What this means is that it both softens the skin and traps humectants and emollients onto skin,” Hayag explains.
  • Minimizes inflammation: You might think that you wouldn’t want to put oil on acne-prone skin, but in this case, Russak recommends putting avocado oil on everything from eczema and psoriasis to seborrheic dermatitis and acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties. "It’s not going to clog your glands and cause more acne because, in reality, acne isn’t just clogged glands," Russak explains. "It’s a little bit more of an inflammatory process, so using anti-inflammatory properties would be great for it."
  • Treats scalp dryness and flakiness: Hayag adds that avocado oil also has been proven to improve a dry and flaking scalp. As Russak explains it, the seed oil has fungicidal and antibacterial activities, which is beneficial for someone who has seborrheic dermatitis where there is an imbalance of the microbiome on the surface of the skin (if you regulate the microbiome on the surface of the skin, you decrease inflammation). However, Hayag stresses that avocado oil is not a replacement for medications that address conditions like psoriasis or seborrhea. With that being noted, the combination of medication, as well as the moisturizing benefits of avocado oil, can help relieve symptoms of those conditions. 

Side Effects of Avocado Oil

Because there’s always a possibility of an allergic reaction or irritation when trying new products, it’s important to patch test avocado oil when first using it. However, Russak says the monounsaturated oil is generally well-tolerated, even for those with skin issues. Russak says not only is the avocado oil typically added to the products in a very dilute form, but they’re also designed for very dry, sensitive, or problematic skin, so there’s little concern about the possibility of overdoing it.

How to Use It

Avocado oil can be used in its pure form and is also included in the formulation of skin care products. You’ll most commonly find avocado oil used in masks, in which case, it's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions. If you’re interested in DIY beauty treatments, Russak says you can also make your own hydrating and nourishing mask with the flesh of the avocado combined with organic honey, which also has strong anti-inflammatory properties. If you choose to use straight-up avocado oil, Russak recommends diluting it first or using it in the bath.

Other Forms

Avocado oil has many different uses, ranging from lowering cholesterol to improving dry skin. Typically, avocado oil is ingested or applied topically, but the method of use would depend on the benefits the consumer is hoping to gain. For overall health benefits, the antioxidant and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat is best absorbed in the body by ingestion. “People would gain the nutritional benefit more so from consuming avocado whole or adding unrefined, cold-pressed, and organic avocado oils to their meals,” Hayag says. But for skin benefits? Russak says both oral and topical forms of avocado oil would be effective. "It’s always multifactorial—you need to support your skin from the inside out and the outside in," she explains.

  • Is avocado oil good for your face?

    Yes, avocado is chock-full of multivitamin cofactors (potassium, sodium, magnesium, vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, vitamin B6, and niacin) making it great for skin.

  • Will avocado oil clog pores?

    No. As an anti-inflammatory ingredient, avocado oil is unlikely to clog pores.

  • Does avocado oil lighten skin?

    It's not a proven benefit of using avocado oil on skin.

Article Sources
Byrdie takes every opportunity to use high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
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  2. Flores M, Saravia C, Vergara CE, Avila F, Valdés H, Ortiz-Viedma J. Avocado oil: characteristics, properties, and applications. Molecules. 2019;24(11):2172.

  3. Werman MJ, Mokady S, Nimni ME, Neeman I. The effect of various avocado oils on skin collagen metabolismConnect Tissue Res. 1991;26(1-2):1-10.

  4. Ortiz-Avila O, Esquivel-Martínez M, Olmos-Orizaba BE, Saavedra-Molina A, Rodriguez-Orozco AR, Cortés-Rojo C. Avocado oil improves mitochondrial function and decreases oxidative stress in brain of diabetic ratsJ Diabetes Res. 2015;2015:485759.

  5. Flores M, Saravia C, Vergara CE, Avila F, Valdés H, Ortiz-Viedma J. Avocado oil: characteristics, properties, and applications. Molecules. 2019;24(11):2172.

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