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Apricot Kernel Oil Properties, Benefits, Uses and Warnings

Apricot Kernel Oil

What is Apricot Kernel Oil?

Apricot kernel oil is a vegetable oil extracted from the seed of the fruit of Prunus armeniaca (L.), belonging to Rosaceae family.

Apricots are native to China, and are now widely grown in the Mediterranean and Central Asia.

It is believed that the Romans took it to Europe around 70 BC. It was then when it received the name of praecox, since coincidentally this tree came to bloom just at the beginning of spring.

The apricot and its kernel have been used in folk medicine as a remedy for various diseases. For example, apricot kernel paste has been prescribed to heal vaginal infections.

In very small amounts, the toxic hydrogen cyanide present in bitter apricot kernels has been recommended for asthma, cough, and constipation.

At first, it was used as a natural remedy to cure various ailments and discomforts in the body. Since then, it has been used to create all kinds of products, ranging from soaps to regular cooking oils.

Apricot kernel oil is basically composed of unsaturated acids, which are oleic acid and linoleic acid.  Its seed when crushed, releases an essential oil containing amygdalin, which has no smell.

The single seed is enclosed in a hard, stony shell, often called a “stone”.  It has a grainy smooth texture, except for three ridges, running down one side.

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Apricot kernel oil has been mentioned in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), where it was used for the treatment of tumors and ulcers. Such knowledge spread over time, and was applied for this purpose in England in the seventeenth century.

Apricot is an excellent fruit to treat numerous health conditions. Eating only a few dried apricots can alleviate constipation due to its high fiber content.

Varieties of Apricot Kernel Oil

There are two types of apricot kernel oil:

  • The cosmetic type: Intended for topical application. Apricot oil is ideal for massage, since it is very light and softens the skin intensely.
  • The edible version: This oil has a deep flavor, similar to that of the walnut, this makes it an excellent ingredient for desserts.

Apricot kernel oil is generally light yellow in color, although it can also be darker. The resulting color will depend on the variety of apricots from which it is extracted and the extraction process itself.

How is Apricot Kernel Oil produced?

The oil is obtained from the seeds using the solvent extraction or the cold pressed method. Cold pressing technique is the optimal one, since it does not alter the chemical compounds in the oil.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Chemical Composition of Apricot Kernel Oil

The chemical composition of apricot kernel oil has various elements. It contains a large amount of vitamin A, B, B15 and E. We can also find in this oil carotenoids and essential fatty acids.

Among the main constituents of apricot oil are:

  • Linoleic acid:  21.9% – 31.6%
  • Oleic acid:  62.1% – 71.8%
  • Palmitoleic acid:   0.4% – 0.8%
  • Palmitic acid:  4.6% – 7.6%
  • Stearic acid:  0.2%-1.3%

Also, it has:

  • large amounts of carotenoids.
  • omega 6.
  • Vitamin A, B, C, E.
  • good amounts of magnesium and potassium.

To close the list, one of the greatest properties that apricot oil has is the amount of vitamins A, C and B17, which are antioxidants and could help fight cancer, since it helps destroy cancer cells in the body.

Properties of Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil is: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-aging, antiseptic, emollient, and antibacterial.

Benefits of Apricot Kernel Oil

Heart health

The consumption of apricot kernel oil can be healthier for the heart and cardiovascular system. This oil has shown ability to reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in rats and may possibly perform the same function in humans.

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In addition, this oil has the ability to eliminate the harmful cholesterol, thanks to its antioxidant properties and the lycopene it contains.

You can consume apricot oil as a salad dressing and in certain recipes that incorporate the nutty flavor of this oil.

Arthritis pain

Arthritis is a chronic inflation of the joints.  People who suffer from this disease, usually have a lot of pain and complications to move.

Performing constant massage with apricot kernel oil will relieve pain in the joints and reduce inflammation considerably.


Consuming apricot oil can help treat severe constipation. Thanks to its high fiber content, which makes the digestive system work avoiding pain, inflammation and diarrhea.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Benefits of Apricot Kernel Oil for skin

One of the great advantages of this oil is that it is suitable for all skin types. Whether they are dry, oily or mature. 

Apricot oil has soothing effects that heal burnings or irritations that may be on the face, either caused by the sun or allergic reactions.

In addition, it is highly beneficial for use on acne-prone skin, as it is non-irritant, does not clog pores and softens the skin.  

Another great quality that apricot oil has, is its easy and instantaneous absorption when applied to the skin. Besides, it leaves the skin silky and soft.

It is excellent for baby skin, especially relieving irritations, as it provides relaxation and reduces inflammation in the affected area.

Apricot kernel oil can remove dead skin cells, thus unclogging pores and removing black spots in the area. In this way we will obtain  a moisture, softer and glossier skin.

Thanks to its soothing effect, many of the diseases that appear on the skin such as dermatitis and eczema can be improved by applying apricot kernel oil.

This oil is ideal for older people, because it easily penetrates the drier and more mature skins, either in the face area, neck, eye area, arms, etc.

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For face

It improves the skin tone, nourishes the skin and diminishes the appearance of signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines and spots.

Because it has a comedogenicity of 2 (this means that the oil is slightly comedogenic and could clog pores in some people), it can result in breakouts of acne and pimples. So, it is better to mix in equal parts with another oil such as grapeseed, safflower, hazelnut, hemp and argan oil to avoid possible unwanted effects.

Shaving and hair removal

In the case of men, when applying this oil after shaving, they will obtain a nourished skin and eliminate any possible irritation that may appear.

This technique also applies to female hair removal, it can be placed before or after depilation. This will prevent the skin from becoming irritated and help the hair follicles to hydrate.

Apricot kernel oil is an excellent natural alternative to avoid the dryness that normally appears after a hair removal.

A few drops of apricot oil can be added to body lotions. In this way we will achieve a perfect treatment for the health and beauty of our skin.  Apply daily, after showering or bathing.

Eye contour

It helps reduce dark circles and bags under the eyes. It also strengthens the delicate skin around this region.

Through a regular application of apricot kernel oil, the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet and wrinkles around the eyes can be reduced and prevented.

For better and amazing results blend in equal parts with barbary fig oil (prickly pear oil).

Benefits of Apricot Kernel Oil for Hair

Apricot oil provides a lot of benefits for hair, while strengthening it and making it healthy. These are some of the benefits that this oil provides:

It promotes growth. Applying it from the root to the tip for about 20 minutes before washing, the hair will grow much easier, thanks to its nutrients and especially vitamin E.

Using a little warm oil on the hair can nourish and soften, thus avoiding tangled hair.

It has the ability to naturally straighten hair. Applying an apricot oil treatment twice a week while washing the hair.

Repairs hair damaged by free radicals, chemical dyes or the heat of the iron and dryer.

Reduces dry scalp problems. It helps to achieve a shiny hair without looking greasy.

Uses of Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil can be used for a variety of personal uses and many home remedies. It is also applied in alternative medicine for the treatment of cancer, although its effectiveness has not been proven scientifically.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Some of its most common uses are the following:


It is an emollient that serves as a moisturizer, which helps the skin hydrate and look soft and smooth.


Effective anti-inflammatory. It can be applied topically in the affected area for localized inflammation.  Also, it can be consumed orally to prevent and support treatments related to inflammatory conditions.


Natural anti-aging treatment to decrease and prevents age marks that often appear in areas such as the neck and face.


Excellent antibacterial that can be applied on the skin as well as on clothes and furniture, eliminating the bacteria around it.

Massage oil

Apricot oil is one of the best carrier oils for massages. It penetrates well into the skin and also improves the performance of essential oils and other herbal agents. This oil is also good for infusing herbs and absorbing its essence.

Facial Mask

By using apricot kernel oil as a mask, you can eliminate the spots that usually occur during pregnancy, or because of the changes that occur in the skin during the stage of puberty.

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It is an antiseptic that can treat infections in open wounds or cuts in the skin.

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It works as an antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals.

Lip Balm

When adding a drop of apricot oil on each lip, it will eliminate the dryness and nourish them, alleviating the pain in case of extreme dryness.

To make handmade soaps

It is a very suitable oil for the elaboration of soaps. When combined with coconut oil and palm oil, which are very common in the manufacture of soap, incredible results are obtained for the health and beauty of the skin.

Apricot oil adds a light nutty aroma to soap. It is also a good carrier oil for essential oils that are used in the manufacture of soap such as lemon oil, lavender oil and jasmine  oil, among others.

Side effects, safety and toxicity of Apricot Kernel Oil

Apricot kernel oil is generally safe to use topically. However, when used internally, there is one thing to keep in mind. Apricot kernels contain a substance called amygdalin. This is converted by the body into cyanide, which is poisonous.

This can lead to respiratory failure and can even be fatal. Amygdaline is usually eliminated from petroleum products. This is done to ensure that the oil product contains less amygdalin than the safety limit.

This is the case with almond oil, apricot oil and peach oil. However, we must make sure that the oil product has been processed to eliminate this poisonous substance. That is why it is so important to acquire quality products that are endorsed by the relevant authorities.

When it comes to preparing the oil, the amount of amygdalin that is transferred is really little to be dangerous. There are still no records that this causes harm when combined with certain medications.

Interactions with medications: Currently there is no information on the interactions of apricot oil with medicines or other herbal products.

It is not recommended to use apricot oil on oily hair, as this only damages the scalp much more. The same happens with the skin, if it is excessively greasy.

Apricot Kernel Oil

Purchase and storage of Apricot Kernel Oil

As we mentioned above, before buying apricot kernel oil, we must make sure that the oil complies with safety regulations with respect to amygdalin and other compounds of this type.

The healthiest oil variety is cold-pressed organic oil. This type of oil is very sensitive to light and heat, and can get rancid quickly. The change is usually easy to detect in the taste of the oil. However, you should always keep this oil in a cool environment, away from light.

Useful life for apricot oil varies from 6 months to a year, which is low. If it stays refrigerated, it increases.

Apricot kernel oil can be found in stores specializing in cosmetics, herbalists, pharmacies and large stores.

A recommendation below:

Apricot KernelOrganic Apricot Kernel Oil, Unrefined, by StarWest Botanicals

Our Organic Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armeniaca) is cold pressed so that it retains all of the nutritional value. At the core of the apricot pit is the kernel, which is pressed to yield the apricot kernel oil. It has a deliciously complex nutty flavor, similar to that of almond oil, with a mixture of sweet and bitter. It contains vitamins A and E, Oleic and Linoleic essential fatty acids, and is a source of unsaturated fats, and has not been compromised by heat.  Shop here.


Tips for a better performance and duration of your oils:

  • Store them in a dark glass bottle, never plastic, not even when blended with a carrier oil.
  • Keep them in cool, dark places, away from sources of heat and light.
  • Maintain the container that holds it tightly closed, since they are very volatile and also, their properties would be lost or modified.

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