What is Apricot Kernel Oil Used for?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The apricot, known formally as Prunus armeniaca, is a small, yellow to orange, soft fruit with a single pit inside. At the core of the pit is the kernel, which can be pressed to yield apricot kernel oil. The oil is used in skincare products and as a culinary flavoring, and the kernels are sometimes used whole to make distilled liquors such as amaretto. The flavor of apricot kernels is almost identical to that of almonds, with a mixture of sweet and bitter that has been incorporated into many traditional Italian dishes.

Apricot kernels are pressed to make oil.
Apricot kernels are pressed to make oil.

Apricot kernel oil is well suited to skin care and is often used as a carrier oil. Carrier oils are used as a base for aromatherapy mixtures, or are mixed with other oils to help them spread. Because this oil is readily absorbed into the skin without leaving a residue behind, it is an excellent choice of carrier oil for all skin types. The ready absorption also makes it a good choice of skin care oil for people with dry skin, while its gentleness makes it mild enough to use on the elderly.

Many massage oils incorporate apricot kernel oil.
Many massage oils incorporate apricot kernel oil.

For skin nutrition, apricot kernel oil contains the essential fatty acids oleic and linoleic acid. It is also high in vitamins A and E. All of these substances can help to soothe irritated skin while also moisturizing. Regular applications of the oil or products containing it can keep skin smooth and flexible. Apricot kernel oil is also used in lotions, creams, and balms, as well as in soaps. It is frequently used in massage oils as well.

Apricot kernel oil is gentle enough for use by the elderly.
Apricot kernel oil is gentle enough for use by the elderly.

Food grade apricot kernel oil can be used as a salad oil or drizzled on other foods. It is not usually used for cooking, because of the expense, but like other oils with a high concentration of essential fatty acids, it is a good dietary supplement. When purchasing oil for culinary use, shoppers should make sure that it is labeled as edible, as some companies may add stabilizers to cosmetic oils that should not be consumed.

The flavor of apricot kernel oil is reminiscent of almonds.
The flavor of apricot kernel oil is reminiscent of almonds.

As a general rule, apricot kernel oil is cold pressed, to retain all of the nutritional value. Cold pressed oils also have much more complex flavors, because they have not been compromised by heat. Regulations for oil labeling from region to region vary. In the United States, for example, there is no federal standard for “cold pressed” oil, which can lead to confusion on the part of consumers. Consumes should look for richly colored, intensely scented oil for the best results.

Apricot kernel essential oil is believed to offer a number of benefits for skin.
Apricot kernel essential oil is believed to offer a number of benefits for skin.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

MelanieST

I highly recommend the pro naturals moroccan argan oil hair treatment.

anon306898

Does somebody knows where I can find organic or ordinary apricot seed oil in Copenhagen, and in which pharmacy or store?

anon131131

Whether or not apricot kernel oil is organic has no bearing whatsoever on how the oil is extracted from the kernel. I've been making soap and body care products for 10 years, and I source all of my ingredients up the supply line. I get a wildcrafted apricot kernel oil that is not certified organic. It is cold pressed. It is of better quality than all of the certified organic varieties I have found, it just hasn't been certified.

StormyKnight

@purplespark: The apricot kernel oil benefits are great with both.

There are some differences in apricot kernel oil and organic apricot kernel oil. One difference is in the method of extraction. In regular apricot kernel oil, it is expeller pressed and unrefined.

In the organic type, it is cold pressed and unrefined.

Apricot kernel oil is great oil similar to the sweet almond. It is more suited for prematurely aging and sensitive skin. The organic has the same attributes but with a bolder flavor and organic certification.

PurpleSpark

Is organic apricot kernel oil better than regular apricot kernel oil?

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