I’ll be the first person to tell you that I’m v hesitant when it comes to slathering oil all over my face. But it wasn’t until I started using sweet almond oil (a lightweight, vitamin-rich superhero in the skincare world) that I realized my face straight-up needed one—and looked waaaay better for it. I’m talking dewier, smoother, and softer skin—no clogged pores or breakouts included, thank you very much. Because unlike heavier oils (looking at you, coconut), almond oil is known for its lightweight texture, meaning it’s even safe for folks with sensitive or combination skin like me.
Down to learn more? Thought so. Ahead, I spoke with two dermatologists about everything you need to know before adding almond oil to your skincare routine (including, yup, the best ones to shop now). Keep reading for all the deets.
“Almond oil has been used in Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine and healing practices for centuries to treat minor wounds, cuts, and abrasions and to prevent scarring,” says dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, founder of Ava MD and SkinFive. Today, Dr. Shamban says you can find almond oil—specifically, sweet almond oil—in a wide variety of skincare products, thanks to its hydrating, soothing, and smoothing qualities.
Since almond oil is an emollient, it’s excellent for locking in hydration, especially when used as the last step in your skincare routine. “Almond oil is full of antioxidants like vitamins A and E, potassium, and zinc,” says dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD, founder of Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, so it’s also great for soothing irritation and improving discoloration.
It goes without saying that almond oil is a hardworking ingredient, but Dr. Shamban says its primary function is hydration. And since it’s highly emollient, she explains it even has the ability to soothe skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis. Moisture aside, Dr. Shamban says almond oil can even help calm puffy under-eyes (you can thank its anti-inflammatory properties for that) and treat sun damage (that’s the vitamin E). At least, to an extent—it’s still just an oil, after all.
There’s really only one caveat: Even though almond oil is lightweight and easily absorbed into the skin, Dr. Hartman says it’s not a great option for people with inflammatory or cystic acne. “Almond oil is less comedogenic than shea butter or coconut oil, but it has a higher risk of clogging pores than argan oil, which is the gold standard in skin oils,” he explains. Dr. Shamban also adds that folks with almond allergies should avoid adding almond oil into their routine (or patch test carefully under the guidance of a dermatologist).
For most skin types though, “almond oil is a safe and effective ingredient for repairing the skin barrier and adding protection against dryness and irritation,” says Dr. Hartman.
IMO, one of the best things about almond oil is that you can add it to your routine in so many ways. Need a few ideas? These are some of Dr. Shamban’s favorite options for applying sweet almond oil on the skin:
Fun fact: Makeup remover wipes can be a breeding ground for zits—they’re known to rub bacteria, irritants, and residue all over your face, which then transfers to your pillow—so I like to use almond oil instead. Just pour three to four drops on a cotton pad and gently rub it over your eyelashes and eyelids until it breaks down your makeup. Follow with your favorite face wash and your skin will be left clean (and soft!) as hell.
Oil cleansing isn’t just about makeup removal, btw. At the end of a long day, rub a couple drops of almond oil between your palms and gently massage it into your skin before rinsing with water. The oil will help break down any makeup, grime, or oil hanging out on your face, leaving you with a clean canvas for the rest of your skincare routine.
The hydrating properties of sweet almond oil make it a great final step in your skincare routine. After your cleansers, serums, treatments, and moisturizers, pat two to three drops of almond oil on your face to lock in (and level up) your products. Pro tip: You can also massage a little almond oil onto your skin after applying body moisturizer for the same effect.
Got dry, cracked cuticles? Dr. Shamban suggests dropping a little almond oil onto your cuticles to boost hydration and soothe irritation. Repeat regularly (think: once every day) and pair with hand cream to keep your manicure looking and feeling fresh.
If you’re looking for a new ingredient to add to your skincare routine, you can’t really go wrong with almond oil. As long as you don’t have inflammatory or cystic acne (or an almond allergy), it’s a great oil for hydrating, soothing, and calming the skin. And considering there are so many options on the market right now, you have a lot of room for customization.