If you’ve heard people say how many amazing things this oil can do, they’re right. It might not work the same way for everyone, but Tamanu oil has some incredible skin benefits. It can be used for other purposes too, but beauty is its specialty.
In this post, you’ll read more about:
- The characteristics and composition of the oil. Most of the beneficial effects of Tamanu oil have been proven in lab tests.
- The many benefits of Tamanu oil for various skin problems. Check out its activity on dark circles or UV radiation. It’s also great for wrinkles, varicose veins, and much more.
- How to use this amazing vegetable oil to enjoy all its benefits and none of its potential side effects.
- Beauty recipes for most of the mentioned skin problems.
- Fun and interesting facts about the tamanu tree, fruits, and extracts.
- A comparison section between Tamanu balm and oil. This might come in handy when you want to take it with you on vacation.
- Safety tips that can help you use the oil easier and avoid unnecessary complications.
Practical Tamanu Oil Skin Benefits, How to Use & Beauty Recipes
Botanical name: Calophyllum inophyllum.
Color: changes from yellow to emerald green.*
Consistency: thick to solid oil (under certain temperatures).
Aroma: sweet, mildly nutty, green, and spicy. Some sources say it also has curry-like undertones.
Other names: takamaka, tamanu (in Tahitian), Fohara (in Malagasy), Alexandrian laurel, ati, kamanu, dilo, etc.
*If you’ve ever wondered what the real color of Tamanu Oil is, it depends. Tamanu oil changes from yellow, when its fresh, to green. This change in color is caused by storage and processing conditions.
Tamanu is an exotic vegetable oil, extracted from the fruits of a great, evergreen tree.
Over the ages, native people found the proper way to extract the oil in its pure and unrefined form. And so, among its many uses, Tamanu became a great beauty ingredient.
Today, when medicine is so advanced, we look for scientific proof that the oil is good. For some, anecdotal knowledge is enough, but for others, it isn’t.
Luckily, science tapped into the benefits of Tamanu oil anyway. What they found is quite impressive. It seems that the oil of Tamanu has a lot of beneficial effects on the skin and cells.
What Makes Tamanu Oil So Effective? (Chemical Profile)
The oil’s chemical composition is unique. It is so because it contains many compounds that are not found in another oil.
It’s main constituents, however, are well-known fatty acids:
- Linoleic acid (Omega 6) (25 – 40%) – High amounts of linoleic acid gives the whole oil good non-comedogenic activity. It is an essential fatty acid that the body doesn’t produce on its own. Acne skin, for example, lacks this acid, and once it gets it, the acne improves fast. Deficiency of linoleic acid may also dry the skin and make it more prone to allergies and irritation.
- Oleic acid (Omega 9) (30 – 55%) – This fatty acid is not essential because our body produces quite a lot of it. It can, however, ease the passage of other good ingredients into the skin. Oleic acid keeps the skin lubricated and protected.
- Palmitic acid (12 – 20 %) – nourishes the skin and also cleanses it.
- Stearic acid (8 – 17%) – maintains the skin barrier whole and prevents water loss.
- Inophyllin A – antibacterial agent.
- Calophyllolide – it makes the blood fluid and increases the strength and tonus of the blood vessels. It’s also anti-inflammatory.
- Polyphenols and vitamin E – Antioxidant activity.
- Calaustralin and inophyllolide or Inophyllum E – they’re great at healing wounds and repairing the tissue.
I was telling you about the medical research on this oil. Here’s what they’ve found so far:
- The Calophyllolide compound was tested on rats. It was found to have strong anti-inflammatory effects. The good news is that it is also anti-arthritic, which makes it great for pain-relieving blends. It also has a low toxicity, which makes it quite safe when used appropriately.
- One of the most common uses of Tamanu oil is for wound-healing. That urged researchers to test the oil and see if it’s true. In a therapeutic strategy, researchers tested 5 Calophyllum oil varieties. They were all from different countries because the area influences the chemical profile of an oil. In the end, all Tamanu oils showed wound-healing and antimicrobial activity. Thus, this study managed to support the traditional uses of the oil with scientific proof. Tamanu is, therefore, a good antibacterial with antibiotic-like effects. This means that you can use it for infections. P. acnes and P. granulosum are both bacteria that cause acne. So, one of the best Tamanu oil skin benefits is to treat acne and its scars.
- Another great piece of news is that Tamanu has a good sun protection factor (SPF). Low concentrations of Calophyllum oil absorbed 85% of UV rays. It also protected the cells against free radicals damage, oxidative stress, and DNA damage. The oil was tested on the skin around the eyes and it caused no eye irritation. The SPF the researchers established for Tamanu oil is 18 – 22. So far, the best carriers with SPF (8) were Coconut and Olive. You can see how Tamanu is king among natural UV filters.
So, if you want to use Tamanu oil for skin, it has all the benefits you need. It is:
- Analgesic (pain reliever).
- UV filter.
All these effects of Tamanu are strong. The oil gives you everything you need for a beautiful skin.
Some of the most common skin problems include:
- Infections, wounds and lesions, and sun damage.
The latter causes premature aging, thus early wrinkles. Let’s see what exactly are the skin benefits of Tamanu and how can you too enjoy its benefits.
Best Tamanu Oil Skin Benefits
As far as the pore-clogging (comedogenicity) effect goes, Tamanu has a rating of 2. The scale ranges from 0 to 5, where 5 is very comedogenic, clogs the pores, and causes acne. Tamanu oil is mildly comedogenic.
I have a combination skin type and I too struggle with acne from time to time. I have used a 2 rated oil and had no problems whatsoever.
My point is that Tamanu is a good oil that I would use. It has too many benefits to overlook it.
I’ve divided the uses and benefits of Tamanu oil for skin care into face and body. This would make it easier to understand how best to use the oil.
Tamanu Oil for Face
Acne is an inflammatory skin disease. It has many causes, but the main culprit is inflammation. If the immune system fights any kind of inflammation in the body, it becomes weaker.
Inflammation can also increase the production of sebum. Thus, bacteria that live on the skin can enter a blocked pore and feed off the sebum and dead skin cells. That’s when the pore gets inflamed and painful, and you get acne.
You can use Tamanu oil for face and acne because it’s a very powerful anti-inflammatory.
It can also keep the skin hydrated because the oily skin needs hydration too. The oil can regulate the sebum production and kill acne-causing bacteria.
I’ve seen a few before and after pictures of people who’ve used Tamanu oil. The before Tamanu oil treatment picture showed a lot of redness and acne-affected skin. The after Tamanu oil treatment showed clear skin.
I think it’s safe to say that Tamanu oil is great for acne and the complexion.
Tamanu is a great antioxidant. It can fight and counteract the damaging effects of oxidative stress and sunrays. This activity prevents the apparition of premature aging signs like fine lines.
Tamanu oil also benefits some wrinkle types and can improve their appearance. The oil can also boost collagen production.
Try to combine Tamanu with a good anti-aging essential oil. The resulting serum will improve the aspect of your skin considerably.
Eczema is a disease characterized by a dry, red, and itchy skin. As we know, Tamanu is a vegetable oil full of beneficial fatty acids.
These acids nourish the skin on a deep level and prevent water loss. It forms a protective barrier on the superior level of the skin (epidermis). All these things contribute to a healthier-looking skin.
Being anti-inflammatory and analgesic, it can also soothe the pain and itching. In other words, Tamanu oil is great for eczema.
Hyperpigmentation and scars.
Chronic or long-term inflammation causes the skin to darken its color in the affected area.
That is why you’re left with those scars once the acne goes away. That is also why you’re left with an ugly scar after a deep or infected wound.
Traditionally, native women use Tamanu to brighten their complexion. This means that Tamanu oil is great for hyperpigmentation and scars, in general.
Also known as adult or rosacea acne, this is a common chronic skin condition. Medical professionals assume that it’s a circulation and inflammatory problem.
Long sun exposures are also considered a big problem. They usually make rosacea worse. Ironically, small and progressive sun exposures can actually make it better.
Using Tamanu oil for rosacea can improve the microcirculation in the skin. It can also counteract the UV damage and decrease the inflammation.
Any visible sign on the face is considered an imperfection. Brown or sun spots, acne, wounds, scars, etc. can all be improved with Tamanu.
As you’ve already seen, the Tamanu oil skin benefits go beyond the usual recommendations. You can use it to smoothen the skin, brighten it, and protect it from further external damage.
The skin becomes dry when it loses water. It may be because you’re not drinking enough fluids, or it may be because of dry air.
Applying Tamanu oil on the face prevents that water loss. It also feeds it nutrients and essential fatty acids. Repeated use of the product can restore your skin to a more fuller aspect.
The benefits of organic Tamanu oil expand to the eye area too. While it’s not recommended to use essential oils around the eyes, a carrier oil is safe.
Tamanu oil was tested and found non-irritant for the sensitive skin around the eyes. With its circulatory and brightening effects, Tamanu oil can also be used for dark circles.
Among its traditional uses, women use Tamanu for stretch marks too. The oil can stimulate collagen production and stretch marks lack collagen fibers. Sometimes there’s also inflammation involved, which makes the oil a good remedy.
Wounds and Infections.
Very deep and open wounds should be kept clean and aired in the first couple days.
Afterward, once it starts to close a bit on its own, you can apply Tamanu oil to speed up healing. It’ll boost the collagen production and protect against bacterial infections.
There is no mystery here, Tamanu oil has a proven SPF factor of 18 – 22. It can protect from 85% of the sun damage and oxidative stress damage.
It can be worn in a very thin layer when you go out in the summer. If you stay longer, though, you should apply it more often or use a higher SPF lotion.
Tamanu Oil for Body
Heavy legs syndrome.
Heavy legs are due to poor circulation. Working long hours standing or sitting in the same position is usually a big cause.
You can always apply a Tamanu oil blend to ease up the tension in the muscles. That will also improve the circulation to the area.
The most affected are the legs, which are tougher to soothe on the go. When you get home, however, you can take lots of pleasant measures.
Varicose veins are weakened and broken blood vessels. Because the oil of Tamanu is a tonic and stimulant, it makes a great treatment option.
Make yourself a simple varicose veins blend and apply it regularly, until it all looks better. You will find recipes and details about varicose veins on the legs and face on my blog.
Calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) oil can keep the blood vessels strong and elastic. This prevents circulation problems.
Also, it can stimulate the blood circulation by warming up the area. More blood means more oxygen and nutrients to the cells, which is always good.
Hemorrhoids are also due to a bad circulation. There are stages of development in hemorrhoids, but the mildest forms are treatable.
For that, you can use Tamanu oil blends and, of course, monitor your lifestyle and eating habits. You can read more about hemorrhoids and natural remedies here.
Some extra benefits and uses of Tamanu oil include:
- Hair care. If you want to use Tamanu oil for hair, it will become shinier and stronger. The oil can also soothe itching and prevent dandruff formation.
- Nail care. Tamanu can keep your nails strong and healthy-looking. It can also prevent and treat fungal infections of the nails.
How to Use Tamanu Oil for Skin & Hair Benefits
When we’re talking about essential oils, it’s simple. They must always be mixed with a carrier oil before skin application.
In this case, though, Tamanu is a carrier oil. Normally, they are very safe to use pure and undiluted, directly to the skin.
But Tamanu oil is a special case. You can apply it undiluted, but only occasionally.
If you plan on using Tamanu for a long period of time, you must mix it with another carrier oil.
The oil is very strong and also has a rubefacient effect. This means that it will irritate the skin a bit to stimulate microcirculation. This effect warms up the area and turns it red.
From time to time, that’s not a problem. It’s why only occasional undiluted applications are allowed.
You can mix Tamanu oil with vegetable butter (Shea, Cocoa, etc.). You can also use Coconut oil, Jojoba, Argan, Olive, Almond, etc.
Also, being a carrier oil, a small amount will cover a large skin area. Therefore, using a lot of Tamanu is really not necessary.
You could mix 20% Tamanu oil with a more penetrant carrier oil like Macadamia or Hazelnut. By the way, these are all great carriers for acne skin.
This will decrease the rubefacient effect and prevent any potential irritation. A mix of Tamanu oil and another easily absorbed carrier will make the whole blend easier to absorb.
Tamanu Oil Beauty Recipes
And now, for the best part of the article: the beauty recipes I promised you in the introduction.
You know what the oil is about and what its skin benefits are. Wouldn’t you like to give it a try? I bet you do, so I will get straight to blends.
Nourishing and Soothing Tamanu Oil Skin Care Blend
- Tamanu oil: ½ Oz (15ml)
- Calendula oil: ½ Oz (15ml)
- Frankincense essential oil: 5 drops
- Helichrysum essential oil: 3 drops
Give the blend a good shake before each use. Apply on the affected skin. You can use this Tamanu blend for wounds, redness, and irritation. You can also use it for painful eczema or rosacea, etc.
Purifying Anti-Acne Tamanu Oil Recipe
- Tamanu oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
- Palmarosa essential oil: 3 drops
- Tea Tree essential oil: 3 drops
Shake the blend and apply on a clean, damp face. Use a very small amount and massage it in until fully absorbed. You should give it at least half an hour before going to bed.
Anti Dark Circles Tamanu Remedy
- Aloe Vera gel: 5 ml
- Tamanu oil: 1 ml
- Cocoa butter: 0.5 ml
Use a dropper or a scale to measure these small quantities. The blend must not be too strong so it’s important to follow these guidelines.
Melt the butter over some heated steam and then mix it with the other ingredients. Apply a small amount of this gel-like blend around the eyes, every night. If you get red or watery eyes, stop using the blend.
Cuticles and Nails Tamanu Oil Blend (10 ml Roll-On)
- Lemon essential oil: 8 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 2 drops
- Tamanu oil to fill the rollerball bottle
Give it a good shake and apply on the nails and cuticles every day or week when you do your manicure. If you go to a salon for a manicure, use the blend before going there.
Tamanu Oil Fun & Interesting Facts, Oil vs. Balm, and Safety Tips
I always find it interesting when I read about the plants that give us these incredible oils. Some of the facts are downright funny, while others are simply interesting.
Well, I’ve gathered some really nice things about Tamanu, so I’ll share them with you next:
- Tamanu is an imposing tropical evergreen tree in the Clusiaceae family. This plant family contains over 700 species.
- It grows in tropical areas near the water or on higher grounds, at the foothill of mountains.
- Tamanu or Calophyllum trees grow in South India, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The tree is popular and has a long history in Melanesian and Polynesian islands too. Tamanu trees grow in Vietnam, Myanmar, Tahiti, and Madagascar too.
- Tamanu oils have a long history and tradition in the Pacific and Indian oceans.
- Native people made canoes from the Calophyllum tree bark.
- High-quality Tamanu oils come from any of these countries. But more commonly, you’ll see Tamanu oils sourced from India, Tahiti or French Polynesia.
- Have you ever wondered why the name of Calophyllum as binomial? (Binomial is the botanical name of a plant.) It appears that the word has Greek roots. Calophyllum comes from the Kalos (beautiful) + phullon (leaves).
- Tamanu oil is cold-pressed manually from the fruits of the tree.
- Tamanu fruits look like green nuts, almost the size of an apricot. Some sources say it’s not edible, others say it is and that its taste resembles that of an apple.
- When these fruits ripen, they fall down and get hand-picked. Next, the kernels are laid out into the sun for 4 – 8 weeks. During this time, the kernels shrink and become sticky and oily. That’s when they’re hand-pressed by locals to extract a thick, yellow-green oil. The oil is then filtered manually so they can eliminate impurities and pulp.
- It is said that a team of 2 women and 4 men can gather about a hundred kilos of Tamanu fruits daily. This amount of fruits yields about 5 kilos of pure Tamanu oil.
- Tamanu oil is not very sensitive to oxidation or else said rancidity. If properly stored in cool, dry, and dark places, it can last up to 2 years (give or take).
Tamanu Oil vs. Tamanu Balm
You know what Tamanu oil is, but what is Tamanu balm? Tamanu balm is a mixture of Tamanu oil with wax and has a solid consistency.
- The first difference between the two is obviously the consistency. One is liquid, even though thick, and the other is solid. Tamanu oil thickens under 25 degrees Celsius (77F) and becomes solid under 14 C (57.2). The situation is very much like that of Coconut oil. A solid-turned Tamanu oil, however, is not a balm.
- The Tamanu balm is a bit weaker. Because of the wax mixture, it contains less active compounds. The wax dilutes some of the oil’s potency. This makes the Tamanu balm more suited for people with sensitive skin and for children. The balm is also easier to transport and there’s no fear of spilling. Tamanu balm is not appropriate for massage use because it’s too thick. The oil, though, is perfect for a massage blend.
When it comes to choosing between the balm and the oil, both Tamanu products can be used. It depends on your need and preference. Depending on the situation, you can also keep and use them both.
And since we’re comparing things, how about Tamanu oil vs. Rosehip oil? I would not compare them because they’re different oils. They have a few things in common but there are also differences.
They’re both great for the skin with problems and would work greatly combined together.
But, is Rosehip seed oil good for hyperpigmentation also? Although Rosehip oil may help, Tamanu oil is better. I would go for it or Sweet Almond oil.
Is Tamanu Oil Safe? (Tips & Precautions)
Calophyllum oil (and its skin benefits) are pretty safe. That is especially true when you use small and properly diluted quantities.
Under certain conditions, Tamanu oil could have some side effects. Check out these precautions and tips about the safe use of Tamanu oil for skin.
- It’s very important not to use it with anticoagulant medicines. The oil can make the blood more fluid, which can affect your treatment. The same goes for drugs that make the blood more fluid (like aspirin).
- Tamanu oil can cause some skin irritation. Especially when you use it for a long time, pure and undiluted. If you are prone to allergic reactions or you have a very sensitive skin, dilute this oil well first.
- Also, test it for allergic reactions the first time you buy it. Apply a small amount on the inside of your forearm and wait until the next day.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women must talk to their doctors first.
- Avoid ingesting Tamanu oil without medical guidance and approval. It can cause vertigo, nausea, and headaches among others.
After all these details, blends, and tips, we can safely say that Tamanu oil is a great skin care ingredient. It can purify, cleanse, and decrease inflammation. It can also relieve pain and counteract the damaging effects of UV rays and oxidative stress.
On a long-term, these effects are huge. This simple oil can help you look a lot younger.
The Tamanu oil skin benefits are undeniable. So far, the available studies support its traditional effects. This makes the oil even more sought after.
Have you ever tested or smelled Calophyllum oil? Were you satisfied with the results, or do you know someone who’s a fan? I’m looking forward to your comments and stories.