Focus on Almond Oil, and a review of Weleda's Almond Soothing Facial Oil

"Like to an Almond tree ymounted hye On top of greene Selinis all alone With blossoms brave bedecked daintily; Whose tender locks do tremble every one At every little breath that under Heaven is blown."

-Spenser

Since prebiblical times the almond tree and its seeds have been a symbol of femininity, lust, hope, and everlasting love. It’s only natural then I guess, that the oil of its fruit carry massive beauty bringing powers.

Sweet almond oil as opposed to bitter almond oil, has a number of purposes in cosmetics. Most often it is used as an emollient (skin softener) and as a carrier medium for agents in creams.

When I first decided to give almond oil a go after reading about it’s skin-calming advantages, my choice fell on Weleda’s Almond Soothing Facial Oil. Weleda is a brand that only uses biodynamically grown ingredients through a holistic approach to farming resulting in superb quality produce. Weleda also has sentimental value to me, as this is one of the few cosmetic brands my mother buys, and I remember growing up, there would always be a tube of Weleda Rose Cream on the bathroom shelf.

The ingredients for Weleda’s almond oil for face are as follows:

Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Prunus Domestica (Plum) Seed Oil, Prunus Spinosa (Blackthorn) Flower Extract.

Why I love it:

1.  It has anti-inflammatory properties: Almonds contain approximately 49% oils, of which 62% is monounsaturated oleic acid (an omega-9 fatty acid), 24% is linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid), and 6% is palmitic acid (a saturated fatty acid). Especially the oleic acid and the linoleic acid have been attributed to anti-inflammatory properties in cases of wound-healing and inflammatory acne.

2.  It has anti-bacterial properties: Oleic acid has been shown to upregulate antibacterial properties of the sebocytes (the oil producing cells of the skin), resulting in increased defence and regulation of the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, which is a causative agent in the development of inflammatory acne vulgaris, which is the most common skin disease, afflicting up to 80% of individuals throughout their lives (Nordstrom et al., 1986; Chronnell et al., 2001; Bojar and Holland, 2004).

3.  It has antioxidant and antiaging properties: Almonds are a rich source of vitamins E and A “the skin saver vitamins”. Together they are responsible for both healing of skin ailments and antiaging processes. Vitamin E showed the ability to enhance fibroblast migration and proliferation in a recent study, in addition to its ability to improve skin ulcerations, it also improves the skin manifestations evident with scleroderma, morphea, hypertrophic scars, and lichen amyloidosis . Together vitamin E and A induces early differentiation markers of keratinocytes (skin cells) which translates into skin regeneration. Niacin or vitamin B3 is another important component of the antiaging abilities of  almond oil. During an eight-week, randomized, parallel-group study, sponsored by Proctor and Gamble and published in March 2010 in "The British Journal of Dermatology," niacinamide treated subjects reported reduction of appearance of facial wrinkles. A separate study published in "Dermatologic Surgery" in 2006 showed topical niacinamide provided reductions in fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmented spots, red blotchiness, skin yellowing and elasticity.

4.  It has protective properties against UV radiation: this is mostly due to the antioxidant effects of vitamin E, which has shown to decrease photo-aging and Niacin that have been suggested to act protectively against developing skin cancer. One study that was published in July 2010 in the "Journal of Nucleic Acids," reported that nicotinamide (niacin) was able to protect against ultraviolet-induced skin cancer in mice. It helped prevent the progression of premalignant actinic keratoses to malignant squamous cell cancers. As for the other ingredients, Plum kernel oil works with the almond oil, balancing and soothing sensitive skin thanks to high quantities of antioxidants and vitamins A and E. Organic blackthorn flower extract, high in skin-toning tannins and vitamin C, protects and strengthens your skin.

I use Weleda soothing facial almond oil ( £11.15 from lookfantastic- ships free!) several times a week. I love it after a day in the sun or as a post treatment after a facemask. The trick with any facial or body oil is to apply it to moist skin! (more wet than moist really).

I just pat my face once after washing with a towel, and/or spritz some Avene Thermale Spring Water Spray 300ml on my face, before I massage 3-4 drops of oil on my face until partly absorbed. It works great on its own, but can easily be topped by a moisturizer for example during the dry winter months.

I also use it as an eye-makeup remover on a moistened cotton pad, which works amazingly! If I have really sore and dry lips I rub a drop of oil on them, and voila! The soreness is gone within minutes.

As this is an oil that has helpful effects against acne, it’s a great moisturizing and skin calming agent for people with dry inflammatory acne types, a skin condition which is particularly hard to find appropriate products for.

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Sebum Free Fatty Acids Enhance the Innate Immune Defense of Human Sebocytes by Upregulating β-Defensin-2 Expression

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