Honestly, what can’t avocados do? Whether it’s an added ingredient to a hair mask or a cooking alternative to olive oil, the fruit is the gift that keeps on giving. So, it’s no surprise that the fleshy pulp has a host of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your skin. If you’re not on the avocado oil train, then here’s your front row ticket to the natural ingredient (and the moisture secret weapon).
What is avocado oil?
Avocado oil is derived from...avocados. You know the fleshy pulp around the large pit? Yeah, it’s pressed into a thick, green-colored liquid. (Science, am I right?) While other oils rely on the seed or nuts, avocado oil stands apart in that it’s produced straight from the fruit itself. The antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals components found in the oil are enough to grab a bottle (or two). The vitamins and nutrients play a big role in how the carrier oil adds moisture, protection and elasticity to your skin. Don’t believe us? Here’s everything you need to know about the benefits and uses of avocado oil for skin.
1. It can moisturize dry skin
If you need a boost of moisture, avocado oil can help combat dullness and dryness. From your hand lotion to your facial moisturizer, the minerals (aka potassium), vitamins (aka A, D and E) and fatty acids work to hydrate dry or chapped skin. The lecithin component—a fatty acid that is used as an emollient to restore hydration to the skin—alone can fight against dry skin and treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, according to a 2001 study from the Department of Dermatology and Allergology at Ruhr University.
2. It can add extra protection from UV Rays
Now, don’t swap your go-to SPF for avo oil. Instead, add it to your daily sunscreen for an extra shield against UV rays. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and mono-saturated fats components, the oil can provide your skin with a much-needed protective layer. But, if you do get sunburnt, polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFA for short) specifically found in avocado oil can reduce any UVB damage and inflammation, according to a 2010 study in Archives of Dermatological Research.
3. It can repair and heal skin
Say goodbye to itchy, irritated or damaged skin. Avocado oil is among the few oils that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can repair and protect the largest organ in your body—your epidermis. In a 2017 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences found fatty acids (aka the linolenic acid and oleic acid) are known for increasing collagen (like reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles) and speeding up the healing process of wounds.
4. It can treat acne
The beta carotene (aka vitamin A/retinol) can clear pores, treat acne and smooth skin because of its natural anti-inflammatory properties, which reduces redness and irritation while surprisingly avoiding any oil buildup (which is usually the culprit for clogged pores and acne).
How to use avocado oil
The best thing about avocado oil is that you can use it alone or mix it in your fave products. Since it’s an oil, a little goes a long way in receiving any of the benefits above. It’s a nice addition to your daily routine.
You can use avocado oil alone or add a few drops into your daily moisturizer to keep your skin looking and feeling smooth. But if you want to go the DIY route, just combine the carrier oil with other oils like emu or tamanu into a bottle. You can also mix in some essential oils to get even more benefits like reducing hyperpigmentation (lavender oil), clearing up pores (tea tree oil), and fading acne scars overtime (rosehip oil), to name a few. Plus, it makes the moisture smell super fragrant.
2. Face Mask
Treat yourself to a face mask and massage avocado oil directly onto your face, or combine the oil with other kitchen faves to create your very own mask. First, take a ripe avocado and cut it into cubes before mashing it into a paste. Next, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of avocado oil to the mixture. (It’s totally optional to add other items like honey, bananas or coconut oil for extra benefits of moisture and repair ). Apply the paste onto your face and leave it for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and continue with your skincare routine as normal.
3. Anti-Aging Cream
Need a night cream? Combine ¼ cup of avocado oil, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of beeswax, ½ teaspoon of vitamin E oil, 1 tablespoon of shea butter and 1 cup of water in a pot. Melt the mixture together until it simmers. Pour the combo into a jar and leave it out to harden. Use a nickel-size amount over areas like the neck, forehead and smile lines to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as you sleep.
Relax and soothe your body by adding a few tablespoons of avocado and lavender oil into your bath. Or if baths aren’t your thing, add a few drops into your go-to shower gel (or after-wash lotion) for an avocado-infused wash. Whether it’s a bath soak or a quick shower, avo oil will hydrate the skin and leave it feeling smooth.
5. Scalp Care
A hot oil treatment can reduce dandruff and an itchy scalp. Melt 3 to 5 tablespoons of avocado oil and ½ cup of water in a bowl. Let it cool down before massaging the mixture onto your scalp. You can leave it overnight or rinse out with shampoo.
What should I look for in avocado oil?
Avocado oil can look different depending on the climate, country and how it’s created. Unrefined, organic avocado oil is the purest form and holds all the benefits you’re looking for to add to your skincare. But, how will I know it’s organic? Avocado oil will be dark green and smell pretty nutty. (For comparison, refined avocado oil is usually pale yellow, scentless and lack a few of the benefits that organic option holds.)
Oh, and if you want avocado oil-infused products instead, we got you covered.
Get the products: Freeman Beauty, Feeling Beautiful, Purifying Clay Mask ($4); Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Hydrating Mask ($27); Kiehl’s Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask ($45); Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask ($42); Sunday Riley U.F.O Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil ($80)
Are there any side effects to using avocado oil for skin?
While you can put the oil directly on your skin, it’s recommended to do a small patch test on your forearm to see how your skin reacts to the ingredient. If you’re allergic to avocados, it’s best to skip this natural product or consult with a medical professional before using it.
Avocado oil can be great for dry, sensitive and acne-prone skin. However, people with oily skin should probably avoid using the carrier oil. The thickness of the oil can do more harm than good. The last thing you need is more excess oil.
The bottom line...
Avocado oil is a great natural alternative for treating dry skin. Adding it to your daily skincare routine can lead to nourishment, restoration and overall extra protection to the skin. But remember is not a replacement for medications and always consult with a medical professional if any issues occur. Now, who’s ready for smooth, hydrated skin?