Tamanu Oil – Natural Acne and Scar Treatment

There’s a growing trend to look to nature for the many healing remedies that can be found there. One reemerging remedy is the tamanu tree (Calophyllum inophyllum L.) This evergreen tree has clusters of very fragrant white flowers, dark green and shiny elliptical leaves, and ball-shaped light green fruit with a single, large, brown seed kernel in each. There are uses for the mature fruit, flowers, bark, sap, leaves, and the seed, making the tamanu tree quite useful indeed.

In reading about this interesting tree, I learned that it’s the oil extracted from the seed kernel that has received so much attention over the years. The various components in tamanu oil make it effective for a variety of topical uses, including acne treatment.

Pure Health HQ - Guide to Tamanu Oil - flowers, nuts

photo by tatters

How Tamanu Oil Aids with Skin Healing

While it’s wonderful to use tamanu oil for acne, it’s excellent for skin healing in general. In fact, it was one of the treatments used in the 1920s by a nun in Fiji to treat the neuritis associated with leprosy. It has also been used to heal severe burns.  Tamanu oil  has anti-neuralgic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties - all  traits that make tamanu oil so effective for skin healing, including an acne scars treatment.

Antioxidant Activity – Another Benefit to Know About

Tamanu oil also contains xanthones and coumarins which have antioxidant properties. This means that tamanu oil isn’t just effective for treating skin conditions but for protecting skin cells from damage from oxidative enemies. An abstract printed in 2007 notes, “Calophyllum inophyllum oil appeared to act as a cytoprotective agent against oxidative stress and DNA damage.” This is why you can find tamanu oil in cosmetics, creams, lotions, and other products. It’s a popular ingredient in natural products because it is so gentle that it can even be applied undiluted with no adverse effects.

How Tamanu Oil Helps Acne

So, how exactly does tamanu oil help with acne? When acne is present there may be many negative side effects occurring: inflammation, bacteria, discomfort, redness, and even dryness. And if you’ve tried some chemical-laden acne products, they may have done more harm than good.

Many products dry out the skin in the misguided notion that oily skin has created the acne-prone condition in the first place. What‘s really needed is a product with a pH matching that of natural skin oil. This is the case with tamanu oil and  it won’t clog pores and exacerbate the problem.

Putting that concern aside, consider that what’s really needed is healing, both during the outbreak and the scars of past breakouts. Tamanu oil expedites the cicatrization (healing) process making it ideal for acne as well as other skin conditions.

Tamanu oil also contains lactone, canophyllic acid, and canophyllol which have antibacterial properties. The calophyllolide and coumarins act as anti-inflammatories, reducing bacteria and inflammation so that the redness associated with acne is reduced.

How to Properly Use Tamanu Oil for Acne

You should cleanse your face first to remove any dirt or makeup. Because tamanu oil is so gentle you can apply it over your entire face. You can also just dab it directly onto scars or acne. There aren’t many reported side effects from tamanu oil, but as with any new product, you should first test a small area of skin to be sure you don’t have an allergic reaction.

An allergic reaction is more likely when using a product that contains tamanu oil as there are other ingredients which could bother you as well. If you’re allergic to tree nuts you could have an allergic reaction. It’s also advisable to discuss using tamanu oil with your doctor if you are under medical care for acne or any other reason.

You can also combine tamanu oil with other natural oils that are known to be effective for acne, including tea tree, lavender, clary sage, bergamot, rosemary, and juniper berry. Jojoba oil can also be part of this cleansing regime due to its ability to boost skin health. Always be sure to get high quality, pure, and unadulterated essential oils.

So, What Do the Experts Say About Tamanu Oil?

One of the most commonly cited research sources is the review article prepared by K. Prabakaran and S. John Britto in 2012. This well-researched article provides information on how and where the tree grows and how the various parts of it can be used. It discusses the medicinal value of the seed oil as well as the manufacturing process of the oil.

Our Take on the Subject

While there hasn’t been a great deal of research about tamanu oil itself, given the fact that the oil contains a number of compounds that have been researched for their health-enhancing benefits, I believe it’s reasonable to conclude that it could prove helpful for a variety of skin conditions, including acne.

Going a natural route for acne and acne scar treatment, especially using a product with as many characteristics as tamanu oil has, makes sense to me. I also like the fact that it could be helpful for other issues as well, including dry skin, sunburn, and eczema.

Again, as with any new product, take the time to do a small test area first to make sure you do not have an allergy, especially if you are allergic to tree nuts.