Cultivated thousands of years ago in the Middle East (Mediterranean coast) and in India (western region), the Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis or Almond tree has long been valued for both culinary and skin care reasons. The majority of today's almond crops originate in the Mediterranean coastal regions as well as California.
Although the Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis falls in with the Rosaceae family of apricot, plum, cherry, and peach trees, it does not produce a fleshy fruit. A deciduous tree, the Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis produces almonds, which are formed with an exterior hull, an interior shell, and in the middle of it all, a seed. The seed is eaten whole or used in various forms in a variety of recipes including breads, candies, cookies, and more. It is also used to obtain oil that is often used in skin care formulas.
Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil is extracted from ripe seed kernels that have been dried. Sweet Almond Oil has a high acidic content. It primarily contains linoleic, oleic, and palmitic acids or triglycerides. The oil is pale, colorless, or straw-colored in appearance. It emits a nutty scent that is mild and pleasing in nature. Pure sweet almond oil contains many nutrients including calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, and vitamins E, B9 (Folate) and B12. These nutrients nourish the body on the outside when applied topically.
Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Seed Meal is obtained after the oil has been expressed from the dried seeds. Containing approximately ten percent water, the seed meal is filled with carbohydrates, fiber, proteins, sugar, and fat. The seed meal is a light tan or yellow color and offers a nutty scent. Skin scrubs and exfoliants use almond seed meal to cleanse the skin of dead skin cells and debris in order to encourage renewed skin cell growth.
Clinical studies indicate that Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil does not cause irritation or sensitivity in individuals who do not have almond allergies. It was also discovered that Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Seed Meal does not create dermal irritation. However, it is important to note that individuals with allergies to other members of the Rosaceae family may experience irritation when using products containing either Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil or Seed Meal.
Dating back to the times of the ancient Hindus, the use of almond derivatives has been included in a wide assortment of skin care and beauty care products. The Hindus made a paste from crushed almonds and used it as a cleanser for the body for use during cleansing rituals. Today, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Seed Meal is used in soap and skin cleansing formulas as either a bulking agent or an abrasive.
Sweet Almond Oil is commonly used as a skin conditioning agent to lubricate and soften the skin or as a lubricant in hair products to promote shine and manageability. It acts as an emulsifying agent, binding water and oil together. This oil features a light consistency and is not oily, so it is readily absorbed by the skin. It has been included in formulas designed to reduce fine lines on the face, moisturize the skin, soothe dry, chapped lips, and relieve itching. It is a rich emollient that moisturizes the skin with renewed hydration, helping to minimize signs associated with premature aging. It creates a glow to the skin when absorbed, can be used to reduce discoloration or inflammation, or to neutralize skin and hair irritations. It is frequently used in fragrance, lipstick, sunscreen, skin care, night skin care, and cleansing formulas.
Traditional massage therapists used sweet almond oil for its exceptional lubricating capabilities. It is commonly found in bath oil products. While it is included in numerous over-the-counter skin care products, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis is also used in at-home beauty formulas. It is commonly found in home remedies designed to treat skin inflammation, rashes or irritation. Additionally, Sweet Almond Oil is used in home treatments intended to promote radiance or to lighten the appearance of under-the-eye circles.
Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis, in any form, has been found to be safe for topical application by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel in 2002. Nonetheless, many people have allergies related to almonds. Therefore, the FDA Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act requires all products containing ingredients derived from almonds clearly state so on their packaging. However, sweet almond oil is not expected to cause toxic reactions of any kind unless the individual exposed to it is predisposed to severe allergic experiences relating to almonds.