Apricot Kernel Oil: Benefits for Skin and Hair

Apricot Kernel oil benefits sensitive skin as it is rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids that moisturize and rejuvenate your skin.

Apricot Kernel oil has been used for centuries due to its numerous health benefits. It is extracted from the seeds of apricots and is rich in vitamins and minerals. Apricot Kernel oil is known for its moisturising and nourishing properties, making it a popular ingredient in skincare products. It is also used in aromatherapy due to its light texture and neutral aroma.

History of Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricots have been a popular fruit for centuries, used in various culinary applications such as dried fruits, preserves, and juices. The Apricot tree, also known as Prunus Armeniaca, is believed to have originated in Armenia, where it has been cultivated since ancient times. The name “Armenian plum” was given to the tree due to its origin. 

King Alexander the Great brought apricots to Greece and the Roman General Lucullus introduced them to Rome. The trees grew well in both regions. Currently, Turkey is the largest producer of Apricots. However, the true origin of the Apricot tree is still debatable, as it is believed to have originated in China. In China, “Apricot” means “education circle,” and it is believed that Confucius, a Chinese philosopher, gathered his students under an Apricot tree to teach them.

Ripe apricots, valued for their Apricot Kernel Oil
Ripe apricots, valued for their Apricot Kernel Oil

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it’s also associated with fertility and respiration. Dong Feng, a Chinese doctor during the Three Kingdoms Period, would have his patients plant apricot trees in his orchard after they got better. It was used to treat swelling, ulcers, tumours, and other malignant growths. This ancient application circulated around the world and continued to be used for the same purpose in 17th century England.

Apricot oil in Ayurvedic medicine is used for hydrating the skin to slow down ageing and to boost immunity for better overall health. Apricots and almonds belong to the same plant family, so apricot oil can be used similarly to Sweet Almond oil.

Apricot Kernel Oil is a lightweight carrier oil pressed from the kernels of apricots (stones/seeds). It’s also commonly known as Apricot Oil. The INCI name for this product is Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil.

The oil is a natural product and continues to be hugely popular in personal care, skin care products, hair care, and soaps for its softening, hydrating, rejuvenating, and nourishing properties. Its versatility and long history of use make it a popular choice in the world of natural cosmetics, creams and lotions.

How is Apricot Kernel Oil Extracted?

To extract the oil, the first step is to soften the hard, outer shells of the kernels by soaking them in water for about 15 minutes, which is just enough time to soften them and allow the shells to break open and release the kernel inside.

Once the kernels are ready for extraction, cold pressing is used to derive the oil from the ripe kernels. This method of extraction preserves the oil’s quality by protecting it from heat. Sometimes it is necessary to smash the seeds (kernels) into smaller pieces or even into a paste to get a better oil extraction.

Cold pressing involves placing the kernels or kernel powder between two rotating metal plates to apply extreme mechanical pressure. This pressure causes the kernels to break and release their oils, resulting in a crude oil that is mid-yellow in colour with the characteristic scent of Apricot. Further refinement of the oil results in a lighter yellow colour and a fainter scent.

When the kernels have been pressed, a solid mass called the “press-cake” is left in the pressing chamber. The filtration slots are too fine to let it pass through, but there is still some valuable oil to be had from that press-cake, so it is processed using water or steam. This not only extracts more oil, but it also removes some volatile components like the Amygdalin content of the kernels that would otherwise make the finished product toxic.

To ensure the safety of the final product, fresh seeds are added to the press-cake that remains after the pressing of bitter Apricot kernels. These seeds contribute a sufficient amount of Emulsins, which are enzymes that help to “hydrolyse” Amygdalin, that is, break down the Amygdalin compound.

The press-cake that remains after the extraction process has various uses, such as animal feed. In some countries like India, it is used for developing a bowl-shaped support for weaving wool. However, the press-cake that remains after the pressing of bitter Apricot kernels is not used for animal feed due to the previously mentioned toxicity of these kernels.

Essential Fatty Acid Profile of Apricot Kernel Oil

I have liked using Apricot oil for many, many years because it’s a rich source of Oleic Acid and Linoleic Acid which are superb for skin care and hair care.

Essential Fatty Acid Profile of Apricot Kernel Oil
Essential Fatty Acid Profile of Apricot Kernel Oil
  • C16:0 Palmitic Acid 3% to 8%
  • C16:1 Palmitoleic Acid 1%
  • C18:0 Stearic Acid 2% to 5%
  • C18:1 Oleic Acid (Omega-9) 58% to 72%
  • C18:2 Linoleic Acid (Omega-6) 22% to 33%
  • C18:3 Alpha Linolenic Acid (Omega-3) 1%
  • SAP value mg KOH/g 185 – 195

Oleic Acid (also known as Omega-9), is a monounsaturated Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) that is known to have many health benefits, including reducing inflammation and improving heart health. Linoleic Acid (also known as Omega-6), is a polyunsaturated EFA that is also important for heart health and skin health.

In addition to its fatty acid profile, the oil also contains vitamins A and E, which are both important for maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin A is known for its skin renewal and anti-ageing properties, while vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant which is anti-inflammatory and helps to protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals.

The oil blends very well with drier feeling oils like Rosehip Seed and Kiwi Seed that can feel quite dry and tight on the skin. Blending Apricot oil with them makes them feel more elegant on the skin.

Key Points for Cosmetic Use of Apricot Oil

  • Use at 1% to 100%.
  • Oil soluble so cannot be used in water only products.
  • Heat-stable, so can be used in Stage 1 (fat stage) when making creams and lotions.
  • Heat-stable for cannabis infusing.

Apricot Kernel Oil Benefits

Skincare Benefits

There are many benefits of Apricot oil for skin care and rejuvenation.

  • Apricot Kernel Oil is a mild oil that is tolerated very well by people with sensitive skin due to its Omega-6 content, which is anti-inflammatory. It’s suitable for all skin types and safe enough to use on babies as it is protective and gentle.
  • It’s a very good moisturiser which keeps your skin hydrated, soft and smooth. It also improves skin elasticity, which gives the appearance of younger looking skin.
  • It stimulates the production of elastin and collagen, which both diminish as we get older.
  • It’s an excellent oil to use in products for dry and mature skin as it smooths out fine lines and wrinkles and softens the skin.
  • This also works well in gel products as a very small amount of the oil leaves a very soft feeling on your skin. This is good for treatment serums or for using with water-soluble CBD powder.
  • Apply a little pure Apricot oil to the skin around the eyes as it can help to reduce dark circles, fine lines and reduce puffiness. It can also be used as a makeup remover when blended with Jojoba oil and Castor oil.
  • It’s a great carrier oil for essential oils to use for body massage as it is absorbed slowly by the skin over 20 minutes to an hour without leaving a greasy residue. This massage oil also helps with damaged skin and soothes other skin conditions as well.

Haircare Benefits

  • You can rub a small amount of Apricot oil onto the palms of your hands and gently scrunch it through your hair, either wet or dry. It will help to detangle your hair and will nourish the hair shaft to make it more flexible.
  • It has a very slight astringent effect which stimulates the scalp and hair follicles to help reduce hair loss.
  • The Linoleic Acid content encourages moisture retention in the hair itself and promotes hair growth.
  • The Omega-9 content strengthens the hair shaft and helps to keep you dandruff free.
  • The Palmitic Acid and Stearic Acid soften the hair without leaving it feeling sticky or greasy. It imparts a great shine without making the hair lank or heavy. This is also very protective to your hair.

For Cannabis Infusions

Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil is an excellent choice for cannabis infusions as it is heat tolerant, which is essential for the infusion process. It’s a light and enriching alternative to greasier oils like Coconut oil. The combination of Oleic and Linoleic Acids combine well with cannabis with the Omega-9 content helping to ease stiff and aching joints. Being so light and quick to absorb would make this an ideal ingredient for a CBD joint balm. You can read how to infuse an oil in this blog post.

Contraindications for Apricot Kernel Oil

My primary focus is on exploring the various applications of carrier oils, particularly their external use. It should not be ingested or stored within reach of children to prevent accidental ingestion – especially if combined with cannabis. A patch test should be conducted on a generally insensitive area of skin before using the oil to check for sensitivities. If there is no allergic response within 48 hours, the oil is safe to use.

Apricot Kernel Carrier Oil is not known to have side effects when applied topically. However, in the rare case of an allergic reaction, the use of the product should be discontinued immediately and you should inform your medical professional.


Apricot Kernel carrier oil has numerous benefits for the skin and hair. It is rich in vitamins and minerals that nourish and moisturise the skin, making it look healthy and radiant. It’s also known for its ability to penetrate the skin quickly, making it an excellent choice for massage therapy.

Apricot oil is a great choice for those with sensitive skin as it is gentle and non-irritating. It is also a natural alternative to synthetic ingredients commonly found in skincare products.

Overall, Apricot Kernel oil is a versatile and effective ingredient that can be used in a variety of ways to improve the health and appearance of the skin and hair. With its many benefits, it’s no wonder why it’s a popular choice among skincare enthusiasts.


What is Apricot Kernel Oil?

It is a lightweight vegetable oil derived from the kernel or seed of apricots (Prunus Armeniaca). It is commonly used as a carrier oil in various skin care and hair care products due to its nourishing properties.

What are the Benefits of Apricot Kernel Oil for Skin?

Apricot Kernel oil is rich in fatty acids like Oleic and Linoleic acid, which help to moisturize, soften, and soothe the skin. It also contains antioxidants that can protect the skin from damage and promote collagen production, making it beneficial for anti-ageing and hydrating purposes.

How can Apricot Kernel Oil be Used for Hair Care?

Apricot Kernel oil can be used as a moisturizer for the hair to help hydrate and nourish dry or damaged strands. It can be used on wet or dry hair – you only need to use a very small amount.

Is Apricot Kernel Oil Suitable for Sensitive Skin?

Yes, it is gentle and well-tolerated by most skin types, including sensitive skin. Its non-comedogenic nature makes it a good choice for those prone to acne or irritation.

Can Apricot Kernel Oil Help in Wrinkle Reduction?

Due to its anti-ageing properties, Apricot Kernel oil can aid in reducing the appearance of wrinkles as well as encourage collagen and elastin production for more supple skin.

glass laboratory flask with cannabis leaves

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