Apricot oil – or apricot kernel oil – is a carrier oil derived from the fatty kernels in apricots. Known for its lovely aroma and versatility in skin care and body care formulas, this oil should certainly be on your list of ingredients to know!
Apricots have been prized throughout history for their mild sweetness, supple texture, and versatility in cuisine. While the true origin of apricot trees is debatable, they are most commonly believed to be native to China. Around the 6th century BCE, it was said that the Chinese scholar Confucius taught his lessons under a large apricot tree.
Apricot fruit and oil has had a long-standing presence among other civilizations, and in many of them, apricots are viewed as a symbol of fertility and rejuvenation. This may have something to do with the many renewing benefits of their vitamin and nutrient content, especially when it comes to the skin.
Before we take a closer look at these properties, let’s examine how apricot oil is sourced – and what exactly makes this nourishing elixir so splendid for skin!
How Apricot Oil Is Sourced
Apricot trees really only do well in climates with warm, dry summers and mild winter. For this reason, apricots are majorly grown in the Mediterranean as well as Australia, South Africa, and some parts of the North American west coast.
As mentioned before, apricot oil is extracted from the fatty pits of the fruit, which are first soaked in water to break them down and release the fatty kernels trapped inside. These kernels are then cold-pressed and, in some cases, the kernels then pulverized into a spongy paste. The crude oil is then processed, so that any of the volatile or toxic components are removed from the finished product.
Apricot oil rates at a relatively harmless “2” on the comedogenic scale. That means while it may cause a reaction among those with particularly sensitive skin, it shouldn’t clog pores among most individuals. Plus, apricot oil is an excellent substitute for those who have nut allergies, but wish to try more carrier oils, like sweet almond oil.
Apricot oil offers a wealth of essential fatty acids, including oleic acid, linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Apricot oil is also high in vitamins A and E.
Now that we’ve seen how it’s made and what’s in it, let’s take a look at how apricot oil can help your skin.
Major Skin Benefits of Apricot Oil
Apricot oil has high concentrations of vitamin A, which is often utilized as “retinol” in the skin care world, and is one of the most popular ingredients for fine lines and wrinkles. By rebuilding collagen, tightening the skin, and fighting free radical damage, continuous use of retinol can reverse signs of aging.
Due to its high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid, or omega-3 fatty acids, topical application of apricot oil may also help with inflammation. This is helpful in your skin care routine because inflammation plays a large role in a variety of skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Apricot oil is a strong emollient, and closely resembles the sebum that’s naturally produced by glands in the skin to keep it moisturized and lubricated. In this sense, it’s very much similar to jojoba oil.
When apricot oil is applied to the skin, it provides lubrication while also creating a protective shield across the lipid barrier. Apricot oil can also be used as a spot treatment for dry patches.
Hair and Scalp Health
Apricot oil’s benefits don’t stop with the skin; they’re also great for the hair and scalp. Apricot oil on the scalp can help stimulate hair follicles, to promote hair growth and strengthen weak or brittle strands.
How to Incorporate Apricot Oil into Your Skin Care Routine
Oils have received a bit of a bad reputation in the past, but plant-based, non-comedogenic oils such as apricot oil can be a wonderful addition to a skin care regimen.
While incorporating the oil alone is a great step for following up with moisturizer, oils are fantastic to use in both hair and face masks.
Apricot Oil Dandruff Mask
This mask can come in handy when you experience dryness or flakiness in the scalp, since it combines the astringent properties of lemon juice with the antifungal properties of tea tree oil. Beware: adding too much lemon juice can dry out the scalp, so play around with the right ratio for you.
2 tablespoons apricot oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
10 drops tea tree oil
Combine ingredients into a medium bowl and apply to damp or wet hair. Wrap up your hair in a towel and let the mask sit for at least twenty-five minutes before washing. If needed, wash again and follow up with conditioner.
Apricot Oil Face Mask
Combined with soothing, moisturizing agave nectar and antioxidant-rich matcha, this apricot oil face mask is a powerhouse of nutrients for your skin. It makes the perfect pick-me up for a hectic work week!
2 tablespoons apricot oil
1 teaspoon matcha powder
1 tablespoon agave nectar
After combining ingredients in a small bowl, gently apply the mask to lightly dampened skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water. Follow up with toner and continue your skin care regimen as needed.