Avocado oil is growing in popularity as more and more people recognize its value as a superior cooking oil. Cold pressed avocado oil also has many beneficial properties for improving your appearance, disease prevention and long-term optimal health.
I’ve written before about the importance of the smoke point of the oil you cook with and why avocado oil is the best and perhaps only oil that should be used for high temperature frying. There’s also numerous reasons why the vegetable oils in most people’s kitchens may be damaging their health and why a good avocado oil is the best replacement.
Psoriasis is a non-contagious, recurring skin disease with symptoms that include patches of rough, dry and scaly skin surrounded by a red, inflamed border. Areas affected often become cracked and painful with severe itching.
Psoriasis can occur in various places on the body and over 6 million people in the USA are believed to be sufferers.
The term eczema refers to a variety of skin conditions that lead to irritated and inflamed skin, often with severe itching, blisters and red rashes on the areas affected.
Eczema is particularly difficult to live with when it appears on the face. Other common areas for outbreaks include knee and elbow creases, wrists and ankles, chest, back, neck and scalp.
While scientists don’t seem to be certain on the exact causes of eczema, it is believed to be the combined effect of various dietary and environmental triggers, along with a genetic susceptibility leading to problems with normal skin barrier function.
Using avocado oil, both as a skin moisturizer and having it in your diet on a regular basis, can make a very positive difference to the appearance of your skin. But can it also help with acne problems and other skin issues like enlarged pores and blackheads?
Avocado oil may be beneficial to acne sufferers in three different ways – nutritionally, as a nightly moisturizer and as a topical treatment to prevent acne and diminish blackheads and enlarged pores.
From a nutritional standpoint, the type of fats we most regularly consume in our diet are recognised as often a contributing factor behind acne problems.
As detailed in the page on the best oil for healthy cooking, avocado oil is extremely high in monounsaturated fats like oleic acid. At the same time, it is very low in polyunsaturated fats, such as linoleic acid, compared to most other cooking oils.
This is important if you’re an acne sufferer because polyunsaturated fats have recently been implicated in sebaceous gland inflammation, which leads to acne outbreaks. Specifically, the 5-LOX enzyme has been observed acting on the polyunsaturated fat arachidonic acid and turning it into inflammatory compounds known as leukotrienes.
There are more details and research on this for those interested in the science at acne: omega-6 fat worsens skin inflammation.
Replacing primarily polyunsaturated cooking oils, like corn, safflower, soybean and sunflower oil, with the much healthier avocado oil for cooking, not only lowers your polyunsaturated fat intake, it also replaces it with more beneficial monounsaturated fats.
Additionally, by switching to cold pressed avocado oil as your cooking oil and salad dressing, you are also receiving the many other avocado oil skin benefits. These include high levels of vitamin E, antioxidant carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein and moisturizing plant sterols and lecithin. All of which may help with improving your skin tone and preventing acne from ever occurring in the first place.
The second way that avocado oil can help prevent acne problems and improve your skin in general is by using it as a nightly moisturizer.
Many people with outbreak prone skin are would be understandably afraid of putting more oil on their face when they believe that the skin’s oil is the cause of acne in the first place. But it’s not actually our natural sebum that is the problem.
In most cases a pimple starts with an inflammation of the sebaceous gland. The nutritional properties of avocado oil are ideal for preventing this kind of inflammation, as well as making for a great moisturizer in general.
There is much more information on applying avocado oil as a face moisturizer on the previous page.
The third way to use avocado oil to help with clearing up acne and diminishing blackheads and enlarged pores is by using it as a topical treatment, applied directly to the face, in what is known as the oil cleaning method.
Once again, it’s very understandable that you might be fearful of applying an oil to your face if you have acne problems. But when it works (and of course this can’t be guaranteed as everyone skin is different), the oil cleaning method helps clear out blocked pores, reduces the causes of sebaceous gland inflammation and improves skin tone in general.
Many people in acne forums online have reported positive benefits with the oil cleaning method. Here’s how to do it with avocado oil.
Start by mixing together a small amount of cold pressed avocado oil, perhaps just a teaspoon, with a similar amount of castor oil in a bowl.
Castor oil is great for removing impurities from the skin. For very oily skin, you may want to use more castor oil, say one and a half teaspoons and only half a teaspoon of avocado oil. Conversely, for skin that is usually drier but still prone to acne outbreaks, you could use one and a half teaspoons of avocado oil and only half a teaspoon of castor oil.
Gently massage the oil mixture into your skin with clean fingers and lie down and cover your face with a very warm (but not too hot) face cloth for several minutes to help open pores (you can warm the face cloth up in the oven on a low heat or in the drier).
Rinse the washcloth and gently wipe away any excess oil. If you have the time, repeat the process a few times for even better results. Finally, rinse your face in cold water to help close the pores.
There are a couple of alternative ways to get the heat to open your pores and clean your skin once you’ve massaged in the oil.
The first is to half fill the bathroom sink with steaming hot water, perhaps with a couple of drops of tea tree essential oil, which is also great for treating pimples. Taking care to not let your face actually touch the water, cover your head and the sink with a large towel and let the steam get to work for a minute or two.
Some people like to simply massage in the oil and then let the steam of a hot shower help open their pores. This is probably not as effective as a covered bathroom sink, but it’s very simple to do regularly.
One way that I’ve had great results with personally is to use the oil cleaning method after a workout at gym. I then go straight into the steam room for ten to fifteen minutes.
Follow it up with a cool shower to close the pores on your face. If you go to a gym with a steam room, I’d really recommend trying this for reducing blackheads and enlarged pores.
A small warning to people using retinol treatments for acne like Retin-A. It would be recommended to patch test avocado oil on an inconspicuous spot before using it on your entire face. This is because some people have reported a stinging sensation when using it after Retin-A.
In fact, this is good advice if you’re using any other topical acne treatments, or just have sensitive skin in general.
This avocado oil cleaning method can be performed several times a week whenever you have the time. Ideally, combine this with using avocado oil as a face moisturiser, making it your primary cooking oil and having it in your diet regularly for best results.
Looking around your local cosmetic store or supermarket, there is a wide variety of different face moisturizers. All of them usually promising deeply hydrated, younger looking skin (often at a significant price).
But look a little closer at the ingredients list and the petrochemical derived additives like propylene glycol, cyclomethicone, petrolatum and methylparaben may not sound so appealing. In fact, many of these are actually known skin irritants, but manufacturers still include them in their formulations.
As healthy as it is on food and as a cooking oil, avocado oil also has some amazing benefits for our skin when used as a natural moisturizer. Ahead is a look at why an increasing number of people are finding it much more effective than those petrochemical-based face creams.
Avocado oil benefits include very high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats, phytosterols and antioxidants like vitamin E. All of these nutrients would be likely to help better your skin tone over time when added to your diet regularly.
Can avocado oil actually help with hair growth and just what is in it that makes it so good for your hair?
Despite many websites giving a long list of vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fats and amino acids supposedly in avocado oil. And then giving reasons why all of these nutrients are responsible for its hair growth properties, the truth about using avocado oil on your hair is actually much simpler and more powerful.
First a little cleanup of some of the avocado oil hair growth myths out there.
Firstly, avocado oil is not a significant source of protein. It is an oil after all and the whole purpose of extracting an oil is the removal of proteins, carbohydrates and any other substances that aren’t fat based. Take a look at the nutritional information on a bottle of it and you will usually see the protein content listed as zero.
While fresh avocados are a great source of vitamins and minerals, the oil itself does not contain the same sort of broad spectrum of these nutrients.
Even cold pressed avocado oil, with its gentle manufacturing process, is still created by separating the oil from the rest of the pulp. Obviously, many water soluble vitamins like vitamins C and the B vitamins will be largely removed. Fat soluble vitamins on the other hand, and one in particular as we shall see, are concentrated instead.
Finally, while it does contain some omega-3 alpha linolenic fatty acids, the amount is relatively small (taking a good fish oil or using flaxseed oil on your hair is your best bet here). Far more important, from a hair benefits point of view, is the extremely high content of monounsaturated fatty acids in avocado oil.
The monounsaturated fatty acid content in avocado oil is even higher than extra virgin olive oil and is one of the main reasons it is so good for your hair.
Many people’s hair is dry, damaged and weak from poor nutrition, heat styling, chemical treatments and environmental pollution. Monounsaturated fats, when applied directly in a hair mask, can moisturize, nourish and strengthen hair strands, improving the way they look and protecting them from damage.
Massaging avocado oil into your scalp also stimulates blood flow to your hair follicles. With improved blood flow and circulation to the scalp, more nutrients can reach the follicles to stimulate new growth and healthier hair in general.
Finally, and perhaps most beneficially for hair care, its monounsaturated fatty acids, phytosterols and high levels of antioxidants like vitamin E, are well absorbed into our scalp and hair shafts. This not only has a highly moisturizing and protective effect against environmental stressors and damage, it may also stimulate new growth and help unclog blocked follicles.
The combination of antioxidant vitamin E, moisturizing plants sterols and the rich levels of monounsaturated fatty acids in avocado oil, provides three different nutrients that have been individually recommended for stimulating hair growth, in one simple, highly absorbable topical treatment.
While there are no clinical trials I’m aware of (and are unlikely to be since pharmaceutical companies can’t patent natural treatments), many people report positive results with using avocado oil for hair growth.
Applying a good cold pressed avocado oil to your hair will improve its appearance and texture while strengthening and moisturizing the strands. See the page on treatments for some simple homemade ideas that are likely to be far more effective than your expensive store bought conditioners.
Massaging avocado oil into your scalp stimulates circulation and allows it to penetrate in deeply, providing beneficial nutrients, unclogging blocked follicles and, it is reported for many people, stimulating new growth.
Last but not least, use the oil for healthier cooking and as a recipe addition or salad dressing. Good nutrition on the inside can be just as important for strong and healthy hair in the long run.
Next up is a look at how to save money on moisturizers with avocado oil.
Here are three beneficial avocado oil treatments for your hair to improve its strength and shine. There is no need to buy expensive commercial conditioning treatments when these are so easy to make at home, all from ingredients straight out of the kitchen.
Blend three to five tablespoons of avocado oil (depending on length of your hair) with three to five tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil and heat them in a saucepan on a very low heat until warmed to a comfortable temperature.