Avocado oil in skin care

Avocado oil in skin care

Avocado oil (Persea gratissima) is extracted from the pulp of avocados through multiple kinds of organic pressing processes.

It is used in skin care for its hydrating fatty acids, skin lightening properties, and antioxidant capabilities.

The unique fatty acid composition of avocado oil makes it useful and common in many skin and hair care products like these.

What kind of oil is avocado oil?

There are many different classifications of oils in skin care, and avocado oil falls into a couple of categories of them.

Avocado oil is primarily, but not exclusively, composed of unsaturated fatty acids, which means it could be classified as a "dry oil."

Though it is derived from plants, avocado oil is too thick to be considered an essential oil; it is instead considered a carrier oil by those classifications.

The active compounds in avocado oil are great for hydrating skin, aiding with ingredient absorption, and treating dark spots. Here are some of my favorite avocado oil products:

Active compounds of avocado oil

The most significant compound in avocado oil by concentration is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. (39)

Oleic acid creates tiny perforations on the skin which helps other ingredients sink in and absorb fully into the skin. Avocado oil has nearly as much oleic acid as olive oil does.

Avocado oil also contains significant concentrations of saturated palmitic acids. Palmitic acids are great for moisturizing the skin and give avocado oil some of its occlusive thickness. This fatty acid can also clog the pores of some particularly sensitive skin types.

Avocado oil even has desirable, anti-inflammatory linoleic fatty acids. Linoleic acid is great for soothing redness and is very good at hydrating the skin..

Antioxidant properties are associated with many of these and other active phenolic compounds like ferulic acid present in avocado oil.

Benefits of avocado oil


Because of its fatty acid composition, there are many possible benefits in using avocado oil in your skin care regimen.

The oleic acid in avocado oil works great in combination with ingredients like retinoids to help them absorb more quickly and deeper into the skin.

The moisturizing fatty acids in avocado oil are good for use with other hydrating and soothing ingredients in products like barrier repair moisturizers.

The overall structure of the oil makes it a good occlusive, meaning it could be used in treatments like skin slugging.

It does not contain comedogenic fatty acids like lauric acid, so it is not likely to clog the pores of sensitive skin.

Antioxidants, like those in avocado oil, are used in anti-aging regimens for eliminating free radicals on the skin. (33)

Side effects

Avocado oil does not have any notable potential side effects in skin care besides using it on the wrong skin types. (34)

If your skin is extremely dry, overuse of avocado oil can cause irritation and redness on applied areas due to its high concentration of oleic acid. Its low concentration of palmitic acid can also clog the pores of acne prone skin types.

Is it safe?

Avocado oil is extremely safe to use in skin care in terms of toxicity and odds of allergy.

The EWG rating for avocado oil is "1." There are no commonly associated concerns surrounding the use of avocado oil.

In skin care, most of the avocado oil used is organically processed because chemical processing removes many beneficial fatty acids. (33)

To find out if avocado oil is right for your skin, take our questionnaire and shop by your skin type!

Is avocado oil safe

For specific conditions

Avocado oil is an effective occlusive, moisturizer, and antioxidant used in many skin care products targeting specific conditions such as:


Avocado oil is safe for use in acne treatments because it is not particularly comedogenic,(12) however specific studies still need to be conducted regarding its effect on acne causing bacteria.

Oily skin types do not usually need to use many, if any, oils in their skin care routine.

Avocado oil might appear in acne products alongside natural antimicrobial ingredients like these five oils:

  1. Bergamot oil
  2. Coconut oil
  3. Jojoba oil
  4. Tea tree oil
  5. Marula oil

Many oils are not good to use on acne-prone skin, so shop by your skin type to help avoid acne breakouts!

Dry skin

Avocado is very commonly used in moisturizers for many skin types.

As an occlusive, many moisturizers benefit from its ability to inhibit transepidermal water loss.

Avocado oil has a high amount of hydrating fatty acids, but its high oleic acid concentration can damage extremely dry skin.

Extremely dry skin types should avoid products with high amounts of oleic acid because it can irritate the skin barrier. (29)

The best oils for dry skin have high linoleic acid concentrations and very low oleic acid.

Five of the best oils for dry skin are:

  1. Borage seed oil
  2. Evening primrose oil
  3. Grape seed oil
  4. Rosehip oil
  5. Sunflower oil

Dark spots

Another common use for avocado oil in skin care is as an ingredient in dark spot treatments, but should be combined with skin lighteners for best results.(34)

As avocado oil is primarily composed of unsaturated fatty acids, it has tyrosinase inhibiting functions that treat dark spots.

Tyrosinase inhibitors are used to treat all kinds of hyperpigmentation like melasma or PIH.

Weak, natural tyrosinase inhibitors are best used in combination with other skin lightening ingredients like hexylresorcinol or licorice extract.


Natural ingredients with high amounts of antioxidants, like avocado oil, are used in many wrinkle and anti-aging products. (37)

Antioxidants eliminate free radicals on the skin which contribute to skin aging.

Avocado oil is most effective for anti-aging regimens when used alongside more potent anti-aging ingredients like retinoids.

Plant extracts like avocado oil are not typically powerful enough anti-aging ingredients to be used on their own.

Avocado oil vs coconut oil

Avocado oil vs coconut oil

Coconut oils are primarily composed of saturated fatty acids, while avocado oil is primarily composed of unsaturated fatty acids.

The unsaturated fatty acids in avocado oil are tyrosinase inhibiting, they slow the skin's production of melanin.

Avocado oil is less comedogenic,

The saturated fats in coconut oil are tyrosinase activating, they can assist in the production of melanin and increase the tanning of skin. (35)

Coconut oil does not contain a significant concentration of oleic acid, so it is safe for use on dry skin types.

However, coconut oil contains high concentrations of comedogenic lauric acids, which are great for eliminating bacteria but bad for acne-prone skin.

For hair care, coconut oil is generally used for its protective, heavy, and moisturizing qualities, while avocado oil is light and does not damage curls.

Coconut oil and avocado oil serve very different purposes in skin care based on their drastically different fatty acid compositions.


Which types of products contain avocado oil?

Avocado oil can be found in various product including but not limited to:

You can check out our full collection of avocado oil products here!

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Here are some of the best references on avocado and other oils in skin care:

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  2. Blank IH. Factors which influence the water content of the stratum corneum. J Invest Dermatol. 1952;18(6):433-40.
  3. Buraczewska I, Berne B, Lindberg M, Lodén M, Törmä H. Moisturizers change the mRNA expression of enzymes synthesizing skin barrier lipids. Arch Dermatol Res. 2009;301(8):587-94.
  4. Ye L, Mauro TM, Dang E, Wang G, Hu LZ, Yu C, et al. Topical applications of an emollient reduce circulating pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in chronically aged humans: a pilot clinical study. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019;33(11):2197-2201.
  5. Lowe AJ, Leung DYM, Tang MLK, Su JC, Allen KJ. The skin as a target for prevention of the atopic march. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2018;120(2):145-151.
  6. Yang M, Zhou M, Song L. A review of fatty acids influencing skin condition. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020;19(12):3199-3204.
  7. Spruit D. The interference of some substances with the water vapour loss of human skin. Dermatologica. 1971;142(2):89-92.
  8. Draelos Z. Moisturizers. In Atlas of Cosmetic Dermatology. Draelos Z, ed. New York, NY: Churchill Livingstone, 2000, p. 83.
  9. Wehr RF, Krochmal L. Considerations in selecting a moisturizer. Cutis. 1987;39(6):512-5.
  10. Kligman AM. Regression method for assessing the efficacy of moisturizers. Cosmet Toilet. 1978;93:27-35.
  11. Morrison D. Petrolatum. In Dry Skin and Moisturizers. Loden M, Maibach H, eds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2000, p. 251.
  12. American Academy of Dermatology Invitational Symposium on Comedogenicity. J Am Acad Dermatol. 1989;20(2 Pt 1):272-7.
  13. Schnuch A, Lessmann H, Geier J, Uter W. White petrolatum (Ph. Eur.) is virtually non-sensitizing. Analysis of IVDK data on 80 000 patients tested between 1992 and 2004 and short discussion of identification and designation of allergens. Contact Dermatitis. 2006;54(6):338-43.
  14. Tam CC, Elston DM. Allergic contact dermatitis caused by white petrolatum on damaged skin. Dermatitis. 2006;17(4):201-3.
  15. Ulrich G, Schmutz JL, Trechot P, Commun N, Barbaud A. Sensitization to petrolatum: an unusual cause of false-positive drug patch-tests. Allergy. 2004;59(9):1006-9.
  16. Harris I, Hoppe U. Lanolins. In Loden M, Maibach H, eds. Dry Skin and Moisturizers. Loden M, Maibach H, eds. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2000, p. 259.
  17. Proserpio G. Lanolides: emollients or moisturizers? Cosmet Toilet. 1978; 93:45-48.
  18. Kligman AM. The myth of lanolin allergy. Contact Dermatitis. 1998;39(3):103-7.
  19. Boonchai W, Iamtharachai P, Sunthonpalin P. Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from essential oils in aromatherapists. Contact Dermatitis. 2007;56(3):181-2.
  20. Bleasel N, Tate B, Rademaker M. Allergic contact dermatitis following exposure to essential oils. Australas J Dermatol. 2002;43(3):211-3.
  21. DiNardo JC. Is mineral oil comedogenic? J Cosmet Dermatol. 2005;4(1):2-3.
  22. Blanken R, van Vilsteren MJ, Tupker RA, Coenraads PJ. Effect of mineral oil and linoleic-acid-containing emulsions on the skin vapour loss of sodium-lauryl-sulphate-induced irritant skin reactions. Contact Dermatitis. 1989;20(2):93-7.
  23. Agero AL, Verallo-Rowell VM. A randomized double-blind controlled trial comparing extra virgin coconut oil with mineral oil as a moisturizer for mild to moderate xerosis. Dermatitis. 2004;15(3):109-16.
  24. Tolbert PE. Oils and cancer. Cancer Causes Control. 1997;8(3):386-405.
  25. Rawlings AV, Lombard KJ. A review on the extensive skin benefits of mineral oil. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2012;34(6):511-8.
  26. Boucetta KQ, Charrouf Z, Aguenaou H, Derouiche A, Bensouda Y. Does Argan oil have a moisturizing effect on the skin of postmenopausal women? Skin Res Technol. 2013;19(3):356-7.
  27. Darmstadt GL, Mao-Qiang M, Chi E, Saha SK, Ziboh VA, Black RE, et al. Impact of topical oils on the skin barrier: possible implications for neonatal health in developing countries. Acta Paediatr. 2002;91(5):546-54.
  28. Darmstadt GL, Saha SK, Ahmed AS, Chowdhury MA, Law PA, Ahmed S, et al. Effect of topical treatment with skin barrier-enhancing emollients on nosocomial infections in preterm infants in Bangladesh: a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2005;365(9464):1039-45.
  29. Berbis P, Hesse S, Privat Y. Essential fatty acids and the skin. Allerg Immunol (Paris). 1990;22(6):225-31.
  30. Williams HC. Evening primrose oil for atopic dermatitis. BMJ. 2003;327(7428):1358-9.
  31. Koca U, Süntar I, Akkol EK, Yilmazer D, Alper M. Wound repair potential of Olea europaea L. leaf extracts revealed by in vivo experimental models and comparative evaluation of the extracts’ antioxidant activity. J Med Food. 2011;14(1-2):140-6.
  32. Aburjai T, Natsheh FM. Plants used in cosmetics. Phytother Res. 2003;17(9):987-1000.
  33. Forero-Doria O., Flores M., Vergara C.E., Guzman L. Thermal analysis and antioxidant activity of oil extracted from pulp of ripe avocados. J. Therm. Anal. Calorim. 2017;130:959–966. doi: 10.1007/s10973-017-6488-9.
  34. Flores M, Saravia C, Vergara CE, Avila F, Valdés H, Ortiz-Viedma J. Avocado Oil: Characteristics, Properties, and Applications. Molecules. 2019 Jun 10;24(11):2172. doi: 10.3390/molecules24112172. PMID: 31185591; PMCID: PMC6600360.
  35. Chaikul, P., Manosroi, J., Manosroi, W., & Manosroi, A. (2012). Melanogenesis Enhancement of Saturated Fatty Acid Methyl Esters in B16F10 Melanoma Cel. Advanced Science Letters, 17(1), 251-256.
  36. Werman, M. J., Mokady, S., Ntmni, M. E., & Neeman, I. (1991). The effect of various avocado oils on skin collagen metabolism. Connective tissue research, 26(1-2), 1-10.
  37. Naeimifar, A., Ahmad Nasrollahi, S., Samadi, A., Talari, R., Sajad Ale?nabi, S., Massoud Hossini, A., & Firooz, A. (2020). Preparation and evaluation of anti?wrinkle cream containing saffron extract and avocado oil. Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 19(9), 2366-2373.
  38. Woolf, A., Wong, M., Eyres, L., McGhie, T., Lund, C., Olsson, S., ... & Requejo-Jackman, C. (2009). Avocado oil. In Gourmet and health-promoting specialty oils (pp. 73-125). AOCS Press.
  39. Ranade, Shruti & Thiagarajan, P.. (2015). A review on Persea Americana Mill. (Avocado)- Its fruit and oil. International Journal of PharmTech Research. 8. 72-77.

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