Apricot oil otherwise known as apricot kernel oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of apricot fruit. Ripe apricot fruits are small, yellow to orange in color, have thin skin with tangy & soft fresh and a single seed inside.
Apricot oil is one of the healthiest and most used household essential oil in the world. Even to those, not particularly interested in natural health, apricot oil always seems to cut.
Table of Contents
- What is Apricot Oil?
- Benefits of Apricot Kernel Oil
- Benefits to the Skin
- Benefits to the Hair
- Health Benefits
- Safety and Precaution
- Take Away
What is Apricot Oil?
The apricot tree, Prunus armeniaca is an all-weather plant and member of the rose family. Apricots have been in existence for ages. Whereas the fruit itself is all juicy and sweet, more often than not the kernels are tossed off to the compost. The precious apricot oil is extracted from these kernels which somewhat share resemblance to almonds.
Apricots are native to Armenia but other theories are suggesting that the plan originated in China and it is believed that the Romans are responsible for taking the plant to Europe back in 70 BC naming it “Precious One”.
For optimal growth, Prunus armeniaca needs sandy and permeable soil since water-logged soil will suffocate the plant. Fully grown apricot trees reach heights of up to 6 meters and produce beautiful white flowers.
In the current era, Turkey is the largest producer of apricots. The plant is also grown in Australia, Persia, Armenia, Hungary, Japan, Iran, China, and some parts of Europe.
By now, we all know that apricot oil is extracted from the seeds of ripe apricots. How is this done in an actual sense? On the brighter side, 90% of the time you will not be required to extract the oil yourself, well, at least not when we have all these brands making quality apricot oil. However, it doesn't hurt knowing, does it?
- Cold Pressing
Cold pressing is the most popular method of extracting essential oils and apricot oil is no exemption. What makes the process popular? With cold pressing no heat is involved hence the chemical composition of the final product is not altered. All the essential nutrients and vitamins will be retained.
Cold pressing involves slowly breaking down dried apricot kernels under mechanical pressure and low temperature. The final product is mild yellow but becomes light after refining.
- Steam Distillation
Not as popular as cold pressing but preferred by most soap-making companies. The process involves exposing dried apricot seeds to steam to break them down and release oil which is then condensed for collection.
Chemical Composition of Apricot Oil
Apricot oil is ideal for making hair care products, face creams, soaps, bathing shampoo, meds, cooking oil, cleansers, face masks, and lip care products. More studies are still underway to help determine the full potential of the oil.
Depending on the method of extraction, most apricot oils also have significant amounts of magnesium, potassium, omega 6, and carotenoids.
Properties of Apricot essential oil
There has to be something that has powered apricot oil to popularity and acceptance. This is all credit to its superior properties that sets the oil aside from ordinarily shelf oils.
The anti-inflammatory property of apricot oil makes it effective when applied on swollen areas. It can also be consumed orally to relieve joint pain and inflammatory conditions.
Products with emollient properties help soften, dry, rough, and flaked skin making it look and feel better. Explaining why apricot oil is an excellent moisturizer.
Oxidation is a chemical reaction that produces free radicals which are unstable molecules that cause damage to the living cells of an organism. Antioxidants, on the other hand, slow down the damage caused by free radicals.
- Antibacterial & antiseptic
Apricot oil has both antiseptic and antibacterial properties which are ideal when it comes to treating acne and wounds on the skin.
Benefits of Apricot Oil?
In the modern world, most of us are going natural and it can't get any better than using apricot oil for face, hair, and ingestion. In this post, we will shed light on the benefits that await you when you use apricot kernel oil. Brace yourself.
1. Benefits to the Skin
We humans value looks to a great extends, we all want to look gorgeous and the skin plays a huge role in our overall appearance. Having that soft, smooth, and glowing skin is not as easy as it sounds. Impurities and unhealthy lifestyles always threaten to dehydrate the skin, an acne outbreak and affect skin elasticity.
Apricot oil is light, hypoallergenic, and ideal for all skin types hence its popularity in the cosmetic industry. Have a look at some of the benefits of apricot oil to the skin.
i. Treats Acne
Whether you are looking to clear up existing acne or simply want to prevent an outbreak in the future, apricot oil is just what you need. We cannot stress enough how acnes are annoying and affect our esteem.
To treat acne, most people are willing to do just anything. Truth be told, most of the products don’t work as advertised but instead will damage the skin even further.
Apricot oil is lightweight and easily absorbed by all skin types. With this magical oil clogged poles should be the least of your worries and as we all know, clogged poles are the main cause of the development of acne. Apricot oil also has anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties all of which help to treat acne resulting from skin infection.
ii. Skin Moisturizer
Apricot oil is an excellent moisturizer thanks to its emollient properties that help treat dry, scaly, and cracked skin. As if that is not enough, it also helps lock in moisture. It is ideal for all skin types least assured that you won’t get all sweaty even on a sunny day.
Apricot oil is also rich in vitamin A, E, and omega 6 fatty acids that help balance the moisture on the skin and enhance the production of collagen.
iii. Anti Aging
At some point our skin is bound to age normally however, an unhealthy lifestyle and toxins can make the skin age prematurely. Apricot kernel oil being an antioxidant helps curb the activities of free radicals which makes the skin age relatively faster. You can also use the oil to reduce the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles on the skin.
iv. Treats Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin condition where the skin has red patches that are sometimes covered with silvery scales. This is a chronic condition and if left untreated can lead to the abnormal quick growth of skin cells.
Psoriasis is associated with excessive proliferation of skin cells [keratinocyes]. Apricot oil on the other hand has anti-preoperative effects when applied on the skin and can induce the death of keratinocytes which are the skin cells that cause psoriasis.
v. Diaper Rash
Diaper rashes occur when the baby stays with a full diaper for long without changing. The chemical substances in the child's excretion react with the skin to cause an allergic reaction.
We all understand that children's skin is quite sensitive and you should always be careful about the oil you use on them. Apricot oil has no side effects and is safe to use even on children.
2. Benefits to the hair
Healthy skin and hair is a complete beauty package. For ages, apricot oil has been used to promote shiny, healthy, and glowing hair. If you care about the looks of which you do, this is a must-have. Here are some of the benefits of apricot kernel oil to the hair.
i. Hair Conditioning
Apricot oil is an exceptional natural hair conditioner. Most products serving the purpose are chemical-laden and in the long run, will end up damaging the hair. This is not the case with apricot kernel oil. As we all understand, the oil is extracted naturally with no additives or chemicals.
It is non-greasy, has emollient properties, and nourishes the hair without detangling it. You can wash your hair directly with pure apricot oil or can even add a few drops of the oil to your daily shampoo and conditioner.
ii. Prevent hair loss and dandruff
Dandruff and hair loss are the most common sickening hair problems. The conditions are caused by nutrient deficiency, unhealthy lifestyle, excessive use of chemicals on hair, aging, or auto-immune diseases.
Apricot oil is high in vitamin E and fatty acids that help treat all hair types. With the potent to lock moisture, apricot oil improves your scalp and hair follicle health leading to improved hair growth. A dry scalp is a recipe for dandruff. When the scalp is well moisturized this reduces the chances of having dandruff significantly.
iii. Hair Removal
Facial hair in men makes them look more manly and sexy. Once in a while, we want to trim those beards and this is where apricot kernel oil comes in handy.
Applying apricot oil after shaving will nourish and moisturize the skin reducing the possibility of irritation. You can also apply the oil before shaving to hydrate the follicles for a smooth and easy shaving experience.
3. Health Benefits
More studies are underway to determine the full potential benefits of apricot oil to our health.
Available evidence suggests that the oil can be beneficial in the following ways:
i. Smooth bowel movement and weight management
Apricot contains both soluble and insoluble fiber. As the name suggests soluble fiber will dissolve into the body when consumed. It is the insoluble fiber that sets aside apricots from any other fruit.
The insoluble fiber helps in managing levels of bad cholesterol, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, and delays the movement through the digestive system. This means that you will stay full longer and, when you are full there is less urgency to pass at the McDonald's for a burger.
The high fiber also helps in smothering bowel movement; highly recommended for patients suffering from constipation.
ii. Prevents Cancer
Apricot oil is rich in Vitamin B 17, carotenoids, and antioxidants. All of which helps in combating the effects of free radicals in the body. What are free radicals? These are harmful by-products of cellular metabolism and can lead to the formation of cancerous cells.
The oil is used as a cancer preventative in homeopathic meds. Animal laboratory experiments have given sufficient evidence that vitamin B 17 helps inhibit the spread of cancer cells in the body of test subjects.
iii. Boosts metabolism
Taking you back to basic 4th-grade basic science, you can recall that the amount of liquid in our body depends mainly on the level of sodium and potassium. Apricot oil in particular is rich in sodium and potassium all of which help in maintaining stable and healthy fluid balance in the body.
Well-balanced body fluids mean that energy will be distributed evenly to the right muscles and optimal electrolyte balance in the body will be reached.
iv. Relief Stiff and Painful Joints
Apricot oil is ideal for people suffering from arthritis and inflammatory conditions. Why? The oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve inflammation and joint pain.
This can be achieved through drinking apricot oil directly or massage on the affected area. And yes, you guessed right, massage is more effective.
-Apricot oil is safe for ingestion, however; it is recommended that you only take oil marketed for internal use.
-Although, apricot oil is hypoallergenic always carry out a patch test before applying on large areas of the skin.
- On average, apricot oil has a shelf life of 1 year; this can be extended to 2 years with refrigeration.
In an era where people are turning to natural solutions, apricot kernel oil has proved to be a force to reckon with. Labeled as the 'Precious One' by the Romans in 70 BC, Apricot oil is a must-have.