Avocado oil is the oil pressed and extracted from the fruit of Avocado (Persea americana), is native to south and central Mexico. The refined avocado oil is pale yellow in colour while the unrefined avocado is dark green in colour. The extraction process is called ‘cold pressing’ which is a chemical-free way to expel the oil from the fruit and compress the pulp into an oil. It is popular around the world as the butter fruit. It is rich in Vitamin E, phytosterols and carotenoids with a considerable proportion of different variety of good fats. It is a nutrient powerhouse and finds its way, globally in various culinary as well as cosmetic preparations. Avocado oil is a good choice of oil for cooking – both in terms of flavour and nutrition. It is a powerhouse of antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vital nutrients like minerals and vitamins.
Skin is the largest organ of the body. It needs the right balance of nutrients to carry out its essential function of acting as a barrier that protects the rest of the body from the environment. It is important to feed the skin well from the inside to help keep it looking, working and feeling good. Vitamins are essential for the optimum functioning of body and some of the important functions of vitamins involve good skin health. Vitamin deficiencies can cause adverse effects on the skin and hamper skin function. Antioxidant-rich foods, well-balanced diet and a low stress environment are vital in having good skin health
Just as it has a variety of health benefits, its benefits on skin are many. It is a wonderful antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory skin care substance. Because of its high levels of oleic acid, avocado oil is a well – known ‘carrier oil’. This means that it can be combined with other essential oils so that the nutrients from those oils can be delivered to the skin and be absorbed more effectively. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances in avocado oil help the skin to remain smooth, strong and elastic. The list of nutrients that avocado oil is rich in include :
- Vitamins A, D, E and B complex
- Amino acids
- Linoleic acid
- Omega 3 fatty acids
It can be used for itchy and chapped skin, skin with UV damage and dehydrated and dry skin.
The benefits include :
- Moisturizer : The primary benefit of avocado oil is that it soothes and acts as a humectant – which retains and preserves the moisture the skin because of the high percentage of Vitamin E, potassium and lecithin. Humectants work by drawing water molecules to the skin by bonding with the water molecules already present in the skin, increasing and enhancing the body’s natural water content. The plant sterols in avocado are responsible for keeping the skin moisturized and hydrated
- Protection from sun damage : The beta carotene (form of Vitamin A), protein, lecithin, essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and Vitamin D found in avocado oil help in protecting the skin from UV damage and prevent sun burn. The antioxidants work to neutralize free radicals that attack skin cells and thus repair the damage caused by the harsh UV exposure
- Heals wounds : Research showed that the essential fatty acids in cold-pressed, unrefined avocado oil like linoleic acid, oleic acid and other monounsaturated fatty acids promote wound healing by promoting collage production, which helps to grow new skin. It helps in increasing the formation and metabolism of collagen, which is required for skin repair and regeneration
- Helps in skin conditions : There is some evidence to show that avocado oil is useful in treating symptoms of skin conditions such as psoriasis – autoimmune condition that causes thick, scaly and red patches on the skin. It has been suggested that combining avocado oil with Vitamin B12 enriched cream could be used as an assuring topical treatment for psoriasis
- Anti-aging : It acts as a natural anti-aging skin cream along with Vitamin E. Avocado oil contains ingredients that potentially fights off the effects of premature aging. It reduces wrinkles and age lines by improving skin elasticity and collagen production. It helps in producing and maintaining the skin’s natural oil barrier and retain skin elasticity
Ways to use avocado oil
Avocado oil can be included as a part of skincare routine in many ways. It can be incorporated as a massage oil, a face mask, or in-shower lotions. It can be safely used every day or few times in a month without any adverse effects.
- As a lotion for chapped skin : Avocado oil can be used after a shower over the body by itself or a few drops in everyday body lotions to hydrate and nourish dry skin
- As a face oil moisturizer : It can be used in combination with some other essential oils like lavender oil or rose on face and hands as a moisturizer
- As a home-made face mask : This can be made at home using ripe avocados and some small amount of avocado oil-making it into a paste and applying it on the face as a facemask for 10 to 15 minutes. It can be mixed with a small quantity of turmeric powder as a home remedy to treat acne and acne scarring
- As an anti-aging night cream : Combining avocado oil with some coconut oil, Vitamin E oil and aloe vera gel can work as an effective anti-aging cream for stubborn fine lines, wrinkles and stretch marks
- As a make-up remover : It works as a natural make up remover. Just a few drops of this oil help the make-up to wear off easily due to its cleansing properties
It is unlikely to cause acne, and can be used even for sensitive skin. Experts suggest that using avocado oil as a skin cleanser will cause fewer break outs, and the skin won’t feel dry or stretched without luster, as its natural protective oil remain intact. The oil moisturizes the skin and keeps it hydrated without clogging pores or leaving any oily residue.
Even though avocado oil does not have any adverse effects, it is always better to do a patch test before trying it on the skin just like trying any new product
Apart from its benefits on skin, avocado oil is an excellent ingredient for a home-made hair shampoo and hair care products as it is great for promoting healthy hair growth.
Whether one is using avocado oil for cooking or for cosmetic purpose, the source is very important. Therefore, it is worthwhile to pick one that is natural, unprocessed and assures high quality standard. Avocado and avocado oil have numerous benefits for overall health and skin. It could be an inexpensive replacement to all the fancy and chemical loaded cosmetic products for skin care and anti-aging treatment.