By: Sherika Tenaya
If you’re an ingredients gal like me, you may have noticed that many of our products have a not-so-secret ingredient quietly working behind the scenes to not only make our products unforgettably luxurious on the skin, but also provides a hale of unmistakeable health benefits that you may not even be aware you are enjoying.
The benefits of sweet almond oil, known by its Latin name Prunus dulcis, are many and varied. For our purposes, we will focus on two of the primary benefits of sweet almond oil as they pertain directly to skin care, but if you are interested in a more holistic view of this amazing botanical, feel free to peruse this highly informative blog on the benefits of sweet almond oil as an all around health booster.
When it comes to skin, there are very few botanicals that are effective, yet gentle enough for all skin types. Sweet almond oil is hypoallergenic and soothing enough to use on babies. It is gentle enough to use on the thin skin of the face to clear up circles or bags under the eyes, yet it also can help heal diaper rash and contact dermatitis. Its effectiveness as a pivotal health promoter in all things naturally healing makes it a must-have in any woman (or man’s) skin care arsenal.
It contains a vast array of fat and water soluble vitamins including vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and skin enriching E. It is bountiful in mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, and even contains a goodly amount of minerals, such as calcium, potassium and zinc. Incidentally, zinc is the element du jour that makes sweet almond oil so great for soothing skin irritation, such as rash or chafing.
Plus, the Vitamin E slows down the oxidation process, making sweet almond one of the last of the seed oils to succumb to rancidity, providing a longer shelf life.
Whether you are dealing with common maladies such as dry skin, varicose veins and premature aging or less common ailments such as Eczema, this small addition to your toilette will revolutionize your skin health.
“Skin cells are rich in a substance called keratin which also makes up nails. And skin cells, like nails, can become brittle and flaky.” writes Valerie Ann Worwood in her book The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy.”Oils….stimulate skin cells into reproducing at a quicker rate, thus reducing the time lag between new skin growth and the elimination of old cells.”
When brittle and flaky has become the norm, the Vitamin A component of sweet almond oil can save your skin, so to speak, catalyzing several chemical reactions that produce new skin cells.
As reported in “Dermato-Endocrinology” in 2011, Vitamin A regulates the growth of keratinocytes and helps activate keratin genes, which triggers keratin protein production. The fat solubility of Vitamin A also penetrates the lipophilic (or fat “loving”) cells of the epidermis, allowing its effects to be exerted in the deepest layers of the skin. I believe this is why our award winning hand cream has been able to so effectively moisturize even the toughest and roughest of hands that come across it. As an added boon, Vitamin A may help reduce unsightly acne flare-ups.
The mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids found in sweet almond oil also have properties that allow for deeper penetration of skin tissues, primarily the complementary action of linoleic and oleic acid together in softening the outermost layer of the skin and, according to WebMD, these fatty acids help produce the skin's natural oil barrier, which is critical in keeping skin hydrated, plumper, and younger looking. It is for this reason that our handmade, deeply moisturizing natural lip balms all contain sweet almond oil as a base ingredient.
Whether your skin has seen its fair share of the sun or you have a few dietary vices that contribute to oxidative stress of the body, sweet almond oil may slow down the aging process and leave skin not only deeply moisturized, but youthful with a reduction in fine lines.
Vitamin E is an especially important player here. According to the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University, vitamin E has a host of natural skin protection characteristics and qualities, starting with its ability to absorb the energy from ultraviolet (UV) light. Thus, it plays important roles in photoprotection, preventing UV-induced free radical damage to skin before it even enters. Amazingly, vitamin E topical applications have also been shown to reduce UV-induced cancerous tumors in multiple lab mouse studies and to reduce the effects of photo-activated toxins in the skin!
When speaking on the youthful suppleness of the skin, it is important to remember that a great deal of the skin’s appearance is contingent on the vitality of a deep layer of structural proteins called collagen. It is the deterioration of this layer of collagen that results in sagging, wrinkled skin and it is oxidative stress, among other factors, that plays a leading role.
Oxidative stress is essentially when your body has a series of unbalanced molecules or atoms (called free radicals) that it is unable to bring into balance or detoxify. These molecules then wreak massive cellular havoc, disrupting the normal workings of your cells.
Vitamin E just so happens to be a powerful antioxidant, bringing balance to the destructive free radicals that are responsible for oxidative stress in the body, diminishing the cellular destruction of that critical collagen layer and leaving you with healthier, more vibrant skin.
There is some truth in the notion that true physical beauty lies only skin deep. Our skin is the very foundation of our appearance, the interface between our inner world and that of the exterior. It is the canvas upon which all our life is painted. It is important to be discerning with what we use on our skin and how we maintain its vitality throughout our life. And as we increasingly turn to products that contain simple, yet powerful naturally healing botanicals like sweet almond oil, we take another step toward reclaiming our inherent natural beauty and the vital health that comes along with it.