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Thanks to a recent shoutout from supermodel Chrissy Teigen, plum oil is seeing a surge in popularity. Teigen shared the secrets to her glowing complexion on her Instagram stories, calling California-born skincare brand, Le Prunier "magic." Le Prunier debuted at the Indie Beauty Expo in 2018 after sisters Jacqueline, Allison, and Elaine Taylor were inspired by the power of the plum in Asian cultures, which regard the plum as a superfood with a host of healing properties. The Taylors, who come from a family of farmers, paired with a lab to extract the oil from plums, creating a patent-pending elixir that boasts a concentration rich in essential fatty acids and polyphenols. Plum oil has been one of beauty's best kept secrets (until now).
Plums are known as fiber-rich, heart-healthy superfoods, rich in B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium, delicious fresh or dried. Their oil has also been harvested for use in skin and haircare due to its potent concentration of antioxidants. We'll show you how to use it and where else to find it, because as you might have suspected, Le Prunier is in short supply after Teigen sang its praises.
Ahead, with the guidance of cosmetic dermatologists, we break down everything you need to know about plum oil as a powerhouse skincare ingredient.
Type of ingredient: Plum oil is a hydrator and anti-inflammatory.
Main benefits: Brightens and plumps skin, protects against radical damage and oxidative stress, and aids in cellular repair, sebum production, and skin turnover.
Who should use it: In general, plum oil is beneficial to all skin types as it is a lightweight, noncomedogenic oil and safe for acne-prone skin. Of course, if you are allergic to plums, you should avoid.
How often can you use it: It's safe to use plum oil twice per day—in the morning, beneath moisturizer and makeup, and at night, as part of your evening skin routine. It can also be used on the ends of damp hair to add extra moisture and protect against heat damage.
Works well with: Antioxidants like vitamins E, C, and A, which are all found in high concentrations of plum oil. It is sometimes paired with other lightweight antioxidant-rich oils like pomegranate seed oil and buckthorn seed oil.
Don’t use with: Plum oil has no known counter-indications.
Meet the Expert
Dendy Engelman, MD is an award-winning, board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at The Shafer Clinic in New York City.
Michele Green, MD is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in the treatment of acne as well as other cosmetic skin concerns.
Debra Jaliman, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and author of the book, Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.
Benefits of Plum Oil for Skin
Plum oil has a host of skin benefits for such a lightweight oil, which make it a nutrient-rich daily treatment that can be used beneath heavier creams or serums. Its heritage comes from Asian cultures, most notably the south mainland of China, where the plum plant originated. Extracts of the plum plant, or prunus mume, have been used in traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean medicine for more than 2000 years.
Plum oil is marketed on its own as an elixir, but is also found as an ingredient in some moisturizers and serums. In particular, Kakadu plums, native to Australia, generated skincare buzz in 2019, as the superfood was being touted as the new vitamin C. It's primarily used on the face, though can also work well on the neck and décolletage. Plum oil may also be used as a hair treatment. More of plum oil's great benefits, below:
- It's hydrating: Plum oil is known as a hydrating elixir. "It's full of omega fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin E," says Jaliman. Adding that "anything that is hydrating will help plump skin." Green notes that plum oil also contains "omega fatty acids 6 and 9 which are known to hydrate the skin."
- It's anti-inflammatory: Plum oil is chock full of polyphenols, which Green explains are "best known for its inflammatory properties that protect the skin from UV-induced free radical damage." Engelman also notes that plum oil is an ideal active for the skin due to its proven anti-inflammatory benefits. She points to a 2019 study that indicates plum extract has seen positive results as an anti-cancer treatment.
- It has healing properties: The vitamin E found in plum oil will also promote skin healing due to minor irritations," says Green.
- It increases cell turnover: Due to its concentration of vitamin A, expect plum oil to help refine wrinkles, improve skin elasticity, and promote cell turnover, which Green notes will promote a smoother, more even-toned complexion.
- It combats against free radicals and environmental stressors: Because plum oil is rich in antioxidants, it is effective, Green says, in delivering "bouncier, glowing, hydrated, and healthy-looking skin." With protection against free radicals and environmental stressors, you can also expect to see a reduction in brown spots, explains Green. Plum oil also contains vitamin C, one of the most well-proven skin treatments. "Vitamin C has restorative properties and is able to repair the skin at its cellular level," says Green, noting that you can expect to see a reduction in hyperpigmentation.
- It regulates sebum production: As an anti-acne treatment, or moisturizer for people with oily or acneic skin, plum oil is a proven regulator of sebum production. "Plum oil is rich in oleic acid and linoleic acid," explains Engelman. "Oleic acid encourages and rejuvenates body levels for sebum production—this regulation prevents excess sebum production and thus keeps acne at bay. By enabling additional natural oil production, it helps to keep skin hydrated. Linoleic acid prevents excess dead skin cell buildup. It is an essential fatty acid that encourages healthy skin cell turnover to prevent clogged and dead hair follicles." Engelman points to a 2020 study that touts the efficacy of fatty acid rich skin treatments in promoting a healthy complexion.
- It has anti-aging properties: Due to the high concentration of antioxidants, plum oil can be effective at accelerating the production of collagen and elastin, which gives it awesome anti-aging properties.
Skin Type Considerations
- If you have reactive or sensitive skin, Green urges you to take caution before using. "If you have sensitive skin, you should apply sparingly, and if redness or irritation, rash, or burning occurs, discontinue use immediately."
- For balanced skin types, she says to "apply on clean, dry skin and allow to absorb prior to applying any other products." You can also add a couple drops to your favorite moisturizer and apply when skin is damp for added absorption.
- Not only is plum oil noncomedogenic, Engelman says, "it can actually be beneficial for acneic skin because it helps to regulate sebum production." She notes that plum oil works wonders for people with oily skin whose sebum production is in overdrive. "There is a myth that those with oily skin should not use oils. Some oils have great benefits for the skin, like plum oil," says Engelman.
- Finally, dry and mature skin can see visible results from using plum oil. Engelman points out, "Since plum oil is rich in vitamin A, it is great for mature skin as it encourages cell turnover, revealing healthier, younger cells. In addition, the presence of antioxidants combat oxidative stress and reduces free radical damage."
How to Use Plum Oil for Skin and Hair
Jaliman instructs people to apply plum oil daily to clean skin. It can be used as often as twice per day, in the morning beneath makeup, and in the evening as part of your nighttime skin routine. Due to its light texture, plum oil pairs well with serums and moisturizers that are known for hydrating properties. Jaliman notes that plum oil is often found in elixirs that contain pomegranate seed oil and sea buckthorn oil, which are also both lightweight, antioxidant-rich oils that don't clog pores and encourage cell turnover, resulting in a smoother complexion.
You can also use plum oil as a hair treatment. Its lightweight texture makes it ideal for daily use without overly saturating the hair shaft. Green says to apply after shampooing and conditioning on the ends of damp hair to protect against heat damage caused by styling tools and blow dryers.