Apricot Kernel Oil Properties
Apricot’s botanical name is Prunus armeniaca.
It is similar to almond (Prunus dulcis) and bitter almond (Prunus dulcis var. amara), so you should check the botanical name when buying apricot oil.
Color and smell
Apricot kernel oil has a light yellow to golden color and smells mild and nutty.
The oil is really light, similar to sweet almond. And it absorbs fast, faster than jojoba and argan oil.
But I find it leaves my skin feeling a little dry. So if you have oily skin, apricot is perfect for you. It does not leave you feeling greasy at all.
The comedogenic rating of apricot kernel oil is 2 out of 5. That means it is not likely to cause breakouts or acne. But you should still patch test the oil before adding it to your daily beauty regime.
What’s in the oil?
Oleic acid is the main fatty acid in apricot kernel oil. It can make up about 60% of the oil. Linoleic acid makes up about 30%. Other fatty acids reported include palmitic acid, palmitoleic acid, and stearic acid.
The oil also has high levels of gamma-tocopherol, sterols (like campesterol, beta-sitosterol, cholesterol, gramisterol and citrostadienol) and squalene.
The oil does not contain amygdalin or Vitamin B17. That’s just a common myth. I talk about a few apricot kernel oil myths here. You should check it out.
Apricot Kernel Oil Benefits
Sadly, there aren’t many studies that have explored the benefits of apricot kernel oil, especially for skin.
There is a 2014 study that investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of apricot kernel extracts and apricot kernel oil on mice with ulcerative colitis (inflammation of the colon). While the extracts showed good anti-inflammatory benefits, apricot kernel oil did not.
So apricot kernel extracts may not have the same benefits as apricot kernel oil.
This is very important to remember when considering this 2009 study in the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research.
This study explored the antimicrobial and antioxidant effects of methanol and water extracts of (sweet) apricot kernels. The results showed both the methanol and water extracts had good antioxidant potential. And the methanol extract had antibacterial effects too against the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus.
But… apricot kernel extracts behave differently when compared to the oil. That’s why we cannot say apricot kernel oil has antioxidant and antimicrobial benefits.
From experience though, I can say apricot kernel oil is a light moisturizing oil that keeps my skin smooth and soft. And that’s a great benefit to have.
Where to buy apricot kernel oil?
You can buy this oil at your local big box store. You know – Trader Joe’s, Walmart, and so on. And, of course, you can get it on Amazon too. Here are a few brands to try:
Apricot kernel oil is not exactly the most stable oil on the market. That means its average shelf life is short. It may last for about six months to one year. So don’t overstock this oil. Also, remember if you keep your oil in cool, dark conditions, it will last just a little bit longer.
Apricot Oil Uses
The high oleic acid content in apricot kernel oil may cause acne if you have acne prone skin. So it is very important to patch test this oil before lathering it on. In fact, you should probably monitor the effects of the oil over a week or two to make sure you aren’t getting sudden closed comedones, blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.
Once, you believe the oil won’t cause you to break out, here are a few apricot oil uses for you to try:
The lightness of this oil makes it great for oil cleansing. Simply add a few drops of oil to your fingertips and massage your face for a minute or two. You can then lay a warm washcloth on your face to open up your pores. But this is optional. Then, with a damp, warm cloth, simply wipe the day’s dirt away and off your face. Rinse your face after with cool water to close up your pores.
You can add a few drops of apricot kernel oil to a cotton ball, pad or wipe and gently rub your makeup away. The oil works really well to remove your eye makeup and mascara. And you don’t have to worry about harsh cleansers getting into your eyes.
I love apricot kernel oil as the base for a good massage oil. It is so light and absorbs so fast. It’s just perfect. If it’s too drying, try adding a thicker oil like coconut oil or wheat germ oil. And add in some of your favorite essential oils too. I use tea tree oil and sometimes lavender in mine.
This oil works really well in foot scrubs and body scrubs. Add one part apricot kernel oil to five parts of raw, coarse sugar. That’s all you need. And you can add some essential oils too.
There are many other uses of apricot kernel oil. Leave a comment and let me know how you use yours.