Tamanu Oil Benefits And Uses Explained: Acne, Eczema, Hair And More
Our skin is sensitive, though it’s a lot rougher than some other areas of our body. It’s our first line of defense against invasion. But sometimes the skin could use some help, and this is where oils like tamanu come into the picture. This is a post on what sort of tamanu oil benefits you can expect, depending on your intended use.
Essential oils, carrier oils, and fragrance oils are some of the most ancient and useful natural products in existence. Human beings have been using them since forever. These oils interact with our body, our mind, and our spirit. This is why so many cultures and faiths have oils (and other substances) which are sacred, sanctified, and set apart.
Alright then, let’s dive in. What’s this oil about?
What Is Tamanu Oil?
There are two trees which yield the nuts used in the manufacturing of tamanu oil. These are Calophyllum inophyllum and Calophyllum tacamahaca. Both of them are from the same family, and they bear fruit which is pressed to extract the oil. Usually, the tree’s nut contains a significant amount of oil (~%70), and is dark-ish green in color. The liquid it produces is also green (sometimes with a yellow tint), and the tree’s bark, leaves, and fruit are still used in traditional medicine in the South Pacific.
This oil has a pretty dominant scent, very earthy, very nutty, and some would describe it as castor-ish. Any of you who aren’t into that sort of smell will probably want to be aware of this. It is non-edible, it’s kind of runny, and should be used externally. You can use it primarily for face, hair, and skin wellness. Though it is a nut oil and not an essential oil, it’s highly potent in its pure form.
Calophyllum inophyllum and Calophyllum tacamahaca are native to different South Pacific islands, where they are also named the Ati tree. For centuries, the locals would use the oil for clearing up and maintaining various skin conditions.
Okay, so let’s get a bit more into the different attributes of this oil, and see what makes it such a healing-helper.
Tamanu Oil Benefits For Skin Explained
The thing is, tamanu oil is about actual skin repair. Our body has the capacity to heal on its own, but sometimes there are bruises or conditions which take longer to heal, and some which also scar and wrinkle. This oil is used for promoting the regeneration of skin cells, in order to give the body some outside help when it’s contending with any skin issues or with the aftermath of skin issues.
This oil is also known for its ability to provide relief from cuts, abrasions, insect bites, infection, burns, dark spots, stretch marks, toenail fungus, and much more. It has all the good “antis” in it: tamanu oil possesses antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory properties, and it can also provide your immune system with a boost. Many use it to stave off the symptoms brought on naturally due to aging or sun exposure.
You can choose to use this oil as an addition to your moisturizer, as a standalone, or in a separate mix of some kind. Your skin absorbs the oil quickly. With some skin types it will leave a bit of a greasy residue, but the skin normally feels softer and smoother. You’ll want to limit your use and be mindful, do a patch test if you are prone to breaking out. It is a potent oil, so a small amount (a drop or two) can go a long way.
Bacteria are always living on your skin’s surface, and normally this is not a problem. But when there is some kind of blockage -- usually due to excess of body oil (sebum) and/or too much dead skin -- these bacteria form pimples commonly known as acne. The oil of the Ati tree can fight the two popular strains of bacteria that form acne (these are Propionibacterium acnes and Propionibacterium granulosum).
NOTE: for acne-prone or oily skin, the “drop or two” rule should certainly be applied. You don’t want to add to any blockage by applying too much of this oil. Use strategically and selectively.
For Acne Scars
I mentioned the antioxidant properties of tamanu oil, and this attribute is used to great effect in the healing and regeneration of skin tissue. The collagen in our skin (which helps it look and feel young) sometimes needs a boost, and this oil can give it precisely that. This means you can use tamanu oil for acne scars and blemishes. It promotes healthy skin regeneration, and it holds the potential for seriously positive long-term results.
Eczema is a chronic skin disorder, often characterized by red, inflamed, itchy patches of skin. It can be found in infants, children, teens, and adults of all ages. There is a strong genetic component involved, and unfortunately there is no known cure. However, there are remedies of different sorts which can reduce the severity of symptoms and control the effects. Tamanu’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities help out a lot, and they can provide relief from the pain and discomfort.
By the way, feel free to use this oil for eczema on babies too, unless you are aware of a pre-existing sensitivity. Babies are extra sensitive creatures, so here it might be best to dilute. As always, if symptoms worsen or escalate, cease use and contact your physician or pediatrician.
The skin-regenerating properties of the tamanu oil can be used to treat and also prevent the appearance of skin wrinkles. Obviously, some wrinkles will arrive with age and there is no stopping that, but it is possible to stave them off for longer, using the oil’s nourishing and skin-friendly agents. This oil contains different fatty acids which help new skin tissue to form. Fresh, plump, positively pinchable.
The darkening of areas of the skin is called hyperpigmentation. This is a condition which usually lasts between several months and a few years, and it clears up in time. Like with so many other skin-related remedies, tamanu oil is a marathon not a sprint. Many users have found that it quickens the natural process of healing, but it takes patience and diligence.
Tamanu oil can be applied directly to the skin, since it is a mild oil. Still, if you have never used it before, or if you already have very oily skin, this should be done carefully and in moderation. If you are not sure about possible reactions and/or your history, dilute it with some other oil or products which you already know and trust. If all is well, you can probably ditch those and use pure tamanu. People use it in salves, creams, moisturizers, along with an essential or carrier oil, and even with avocado!
Tamanu Oil Benefits For Hair Explained
This oil’s main benefits for our hair is that it helps the strands attain a shiny, healthy, sleek, and happy mode. It can contribute to the hair’s growth, strength, and vitality. Tamanu is not the only oil which possesses such qualities, but it still remains unique due to its ‘carrier oil’ status, its somewhat-heavy consistency, and its efficiency.
You can add this oil to your hair care products, such as shampoos, conditioners, masks, and others. Whether you use it as a fast one-hour leave-in, or perhaps as an addition to your favorite lather-rinse-repeat product, it is a potent and useful substance which can help you achieve the finest health for your hair.
This oil can be applied to wet, damp, or dry hair (although damp/wet hair absorbs best). You can choose to rub some into your ends to prevent breakage, damage, and dryness. You can use it to add some moisture to your scalp, if needed, and then rinse it out. Using it as a scalp massage oil is a good way to invigorate the hair follicles and get the blood flowing. You can also choose to spread the oil all over the strands by applying a few drops to your fingertips and finger-combing your hair.
Some say that this oil weighs their hair down. If this is the case, consider using less, or not using it at all. It could be that you need a milder oil. As good as an oil is, we don’t all share the very same hair type or kind of scalp. Because we have different needs and routines, the way this oil affects our scalp and hair will undoubtedly vary.
Tamanu Oil Side Effects Explained
When you use tamanu oil topically, as suggested, there are no known side effects. That said, there is always the chance of an allergic reaction. If you have nut allergies you might want to stay away from this oil. You can use an alternative, depending on your condition or desired prevention.
Not all oils are created or manufactured equally. It could very well be that this oil doesn’t hit the target, and that a different one -- say, almond or coconut oil -- does. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and remember that experiences with beauty and cosmetics vary to a great degree. Whether it is due to genetics or lifestyle, etc., or whether it is due to the origin and purity of the oil, there is a chance that what works for you will not work for another.
If you have any reservations or questions, ask your physician. If you do experience symptoms of an allergic reaction such as itching, irritation, redness, swelling, etc., discontinue use and -- if needed -- seek medical attention. Furthermore, as a general rule, pregnant women and nursing mothers should consult with their doctor before using anything new, and that still applies even though this is as natural a product as you’d wish.
It seems like every six to twelve months, there is a hot new trending oil that hits the stage and gets the spotlight. This is all marketing, in my opinion, built up in no small way by celebrities and social media influencers. The world’s essential oils and topical oils have all been identified for many years now, so I am pretty convinced that we are not going to discover anything brand new. What is happening, I feel, is that we keep on rediscovering that which is already out in the open, and it gets new focus and more exposure. Kind of like the Beatles!
There are many oils in this world, and they possess all sorts of benefits for the mind and body. The method of extraction or expression highly contributes to the quality of the oil which is produced. In this case, it’s best to use organic, cold pressed, unrefined tamanu oil, whose process isn’t rushed or artificially hastened in any way. In general, using oil of better quality will ensure that you get the most out of it. Your hair, your skin, your everything.
Tamanu oil is by no means new, but it can make your skin feel new. When used appropriately and in moderation, this could be an oil which makes a real difference. There are alternatives to tamanu (depending on the intended use), including castor oil, argan, and tea tree. Those oils are all well and good, and they also come highly recommended. See what works for you. You may find that your body connects to tamanu with greater ease.
Whatever the case, don’t be discouraged. If Tamanu doesn’t provide relief, there is a good chance a different carrier or essential oil will. It is in the nature of these substances to be volatile, potent, and exceedingly beneficial.