The amazing benefits of apricot kernel oil

With a history of helpfulness dating back hundreds of years, apricot kernel oil is connected to a number of great skin outcomes. Can you use this ancient strategy to get the glowing, clear skin you’ve always wanted?

Apricot kernel oil has been used in cooking and therapeutic practices for many years in China and throughout Asia. In particular, it’s used to help moisturise dry, flaky skin and manage conditions that are linked to sensitive irritated skin.

What is apricot kernel oil?


This amazing oil is extracted from apricot kernels. The same shape as almonds, but smaller and whiter, apricot kernels are found at the centre of apricot stones. If you eat a fresh apricot and keep the stone, you can use a nutcracker or hammer to extract the kernel on the inside.

The fame of apricot kernels is due to a tribe called the Hunzas. These people live in Northern Pakistan and weren’t known to the western world until the 1930s, when a British explorer - Major Sir Robert McCarrison - came across them. He noted that their health was close to perfect and they lived very long lives. None were afflicted with diabetes, cancer, obesity or heart attacks.

The Hunza diet was very different to the western diet at the time.  They survived on raw milk, bone broth, fresh grains, fruits and vegetables. There was very little sugar consumed and, as a nomadic tribe of herders, daily exercise was unavoidable. The explorer also noticed that their diet included apricot kernels. His observations led him to deduce that the apricot kernel was the answer to all health problems.

What is amygdalin?

Apricot kernels contain amygdalin, a potent phytonutrient that’s found in a lot of foods. Its structure looks like a B complex vitamin, so at the point of discovery it was named B17.

It’s important to note that amygdalin converts to cyanide once consumed and studies have shown no research that supports claims it fights cancer. Eating the occasional kernel won’t cause you harm, but eating a few a day could cause significant distress, as cyanide kills cells by preventing their use of oxygen. While Major Sir Robert McCarrison thought apricot kernels were a wonder food, they are potentially toxic – but only if you eat them.

So why are apricot kernels good for the skin?

Apart from amygdalin, apricot kernels contain high levels of Vitamin E and A. These are great to promote healing and prevent skin damage from free radicals, because they have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The kernels also contain linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat. If you are deficient in linoleic acid, you could suffer from skin flaking and poor wound healing. Apricot kernel oil can help to maintain good levels of linoleic acid and minimise skin problems.  Not only is apricot kernel oil helpful for your skin, it’s also an effective carrier oil, as it is good at delivering nutrients in other oils to the cells that need it.

Application on your skin feels wonderful. Apricot kernel oil smells lightly nutty and sweet, doesn’t feel greasy and absorbs quickly into the skin.

What will apricot kernel oil do for my skin?

Used as a part of your skincare routine, apricot kernel oil offers some fantastic benefits. The vitamins E and K, along with the omega-3 content levels, help to encourage fast healing of the skin by stimulating cell turnover.

Apricot kernel oil may also help to exfoliate the skin, encouraging it to retain moisture. The linoleic acid helps to eliminate patches of dry skin and may alleviate some skin conditions, such as psoriasis, eczema and rosacea.

Apricot kernel oil may also clear dark circles under the eyes. This is because dark circles are in part caused by lack of nutrients in blood cells. Thin skin shows this poor circulation faster and this is why the skin looks darker.

How to incorporate apricot kernel oil in your skin routine

In general, apricot kernel oil is a great carrier oil that has maximum efficacy when combined with other oils. So consider a product that incorporates apricot kernel oil with other valuable ingredients. Our avocado smash body butter uses apricot kernel oil to create a non-greasy, hydrating body butter that makes your skin feel deliciously moisturised. We also use apricot kernel oil in our sorbet cleanser.  


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