Tamanu Oil Skin Benefits

Shelia Swartz

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This world of ours is blessed (and cursed) with an endless variety of oils—many of which are used in beauty products that aim to solve the different kinds of skin problems that we suffer from. We have sunflower oil, olive oil, jojoba oil, rosehip oil, coconut oil, and more!

And not just that, we can even mix them together to create our own concoction that will increase the oils’ skin benefits, and that makes them even more amazing.

The usefulness of oils is infinite, which is why they are praised by skincare gurus all over the world.

We all know about the oils I listed previously, but today we are going to introduce an oil that’s not as popular as the others. We’re going to talk about Tamanu Oil and its benefits to our skin.

What Is Tamanu Oil?

The tamanu oil comes from the seeds of the tamanu nut tree. The oil is extracted and, along with the rest of the tree, can be made into medicine. This has been done for centuries in Asia, Africa, and other islands in the Pacific.

This oil is considered exotic in America; therefore, it is not yet a well-known ingredient in Western skincare products or medicine. But it is slowly climbing up the ranks as one of the best oils to use on your skin.

It is usually listed as Calophyllum inophyllum seed oil. The name means “beautiful leaf” in Greek—sounds romantic, right? Aside from that, it can also be listed as the following names:

  • Alexandrian laurel
  • Laurelwood oil
  • Kamani oil
  • Dilo oil
  • Beach Calophyllum oil

You might not know it, but maybe you’ve already been using tamanu oil in your skincare routine! This oil of many names also has many benefits for our skin. You know what they say…with many names, come many benefits.

I’m just kidding, nobody says that except for me, probably.

Tamanu Oil for Acne & Acne Scars

A study discovered that the tamanu oil had very strong antibacterial and wound-healing properties against acne-causing bacteria. Since the oil also has anti-inflammatory properties, it is tremendously beneficial to those who suffer from acne and acne scars.

In the medicine field, the oil is even used to treat scars on the body. This is all because of the acids that can be found within the tamanu oil’s formulation.

  • Stearic Acid – has cleansing properties and can soften skin as well as getting rid of dirt deep inside the skin
  • Oleic Acid – this fatty acid is a powerful moisturizer and is extremely beneficial to people with dry skin. It also has inflammatory benefits that can balance sensitive skin.
  • Linoleic Acid – can also help retain the skin’s moisture and protect the skin from environmental damage, therefore, strengthening the skin’s barrier

These are just a few chemicals that can be found in the tamanu oil. All of these are what makes the tamanu oil a great product for the skin. Truly a godsend for acne-prone and dry skin.

Tamanu Oil For Wrinkles, Aging?

Tamanu oil is frequently used as an ingredient in anti-aging creams. It is full of fatty acids that are super effective in moisturizing the skin. It moisturizes and protects the skin from UV rays that can age your skin prematurely.

The oil helps speed up the production of cells, collagen, and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) in the skin, which is necessary to maintain the skin’s young and smooth appearance. This is possible with the help of the lipid calophyllolide—a chemical that can only be found in the tamanu oil.

Let me remind you that this oil has been used for centuries in the Pacific, so there’s truly no doubt in its wonders. Polynesian women have been using this to heal scars, stretch marks, and even on babies to prevent diaper rashes.

We know now about tamanu oil’s benefits, but what are its downsides?

Drawbacks of the Tamanu Oil

Although the tamanu oil’s greatest power is in its moisturizing abilities, studies show that there is no solid proof that it can instantly cure your skin problems. The oil can definitely soothe and smoothen your skin, but if you have psoriasis—which is a condition that currently has no known cure—there is really no guarantee that it can solve your problem magically.

This can be said for most skincare products—there is no such thing as a magic potion for anything.

Oleic acid is one of the acids that can be found within the tamanu oil’s formula. The oil gets its moisturizing powers from this acid, but the bad side to this acid is that it is not comedogenic—meaning it can clog pores. It’s not too big of a problem though, because the tamanu oil’s formulation is more balanced compared to other oils that contain pore-clogging acids.

Tamanu oil has a rank of 2 on the comedogenic scale so it’s not likely to clog your pores. But if you do suffer from severe acne and oiliness, you might want to skip on this product.

Here’s another interesting thing about the tamanu oil: it is extremely taxing to extract the oil. To get a mere 2 pounds of the oil, you will need 45 pounds of tamanu fruit. That’s an insane ratio! This is the reason why some products that contain this oil are expensive. I can’t even imagine how long it must take to extract an entire bottle’s worth of tamanu oil.

Due to its price, there are sellers that try to make the oil extracting process easier, thus, lowering the quality of the product.

High-quality tamanu oil has a deep green color. If you see one that looks yellow, it means that the product has been chemically altered. If the product is black, it means that the tamanu nut has been burned to speed up the extraction.

Pay attention to the products you buy! If you’re going to be using this product on your face and body, you absolutely need the highest quality available.

The tamanu oil’s benefits make up for its price, but always keep in mind the downsides of the product. If you see any signs of an allergic reaction, stop using it immediately. Or, if your skin can handle it, just lower the dosage or mix it in with some other oils.

If you want to see for yourself the magic of tamanu oil, here are some products you should check out!


The tamanu oil is some kind of blessing from Mother Earth. Its soothing and hydrating powers are truly amazing, and it’s backed up by science and history.

If you have dry, aged, acne-prone, or scarred skin—this is the product for you. This oil with its many names is sure to take over the skincare world someday. It may not be as popular as the tea tree oil or the coconut oil, but it’s still just as good.

Flakiness, redness, sores, acne, and wrinkles—the tamanu oil can take care of it all. With great benefits like these, it’s worth a try. And if it doesn’t work for you, then you’ll have better luck with the next product. Skincare is like exploring a jungle, there is bound to be surprises (good and bad) along the way.

Nonetheless, I hope this “beautiful leaf” oil will yield beautiful results for you!

Photo of author

Shelia Swartz

Combination Skin Type | Shelia is part of the editorial team over at Beautypickup. She got into skincare because of acne, like most of us. She is super outgoing, she enjoys backpacking and adventuring in the wilds and loves surfing during the summer!

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