Almond oil is derived from the kernels (nuts) of the almond tree, which flowers with a profusion of pink blossom. The almonds form on short branches and are protected by a tough outer husk, which later splits to reveal the nut inside. The almond tree is a native of the Middle East but now grows in the sunny climates of the Mediterranean and California. The Romans introduced almond oil to Britain and it has continued to be an important element of skincare throughout history. Almond oil is popular in India and also easily obtainable in the Western world.
The type of oil used in skin and hair preparations is cold- or warm-pressed from sweet almond kernels and usually referred to as ‘sweet almond oil’. It is high in Vitamin E and fatty acids and has a delicate aroma. Almond oil benefits all skin types, particularly inflamed or irritated skin, dermatitis and psoriasis (common in the scalp), dry scalp and brittle hair. It is said to reduce muscular aches and pains and calm the nerves, making it suitable for excess vata.
Avoid in cases of nut allergy.