Our travels through the higher reaches of Kullu and further Spiti valley, have been filled with discoveries of simplicity and rituals of self-care. Do you know a local dish called Phemar is prepared using apricot oil mixed with roasted barley flour, salted tea, and sugar and served to guests in marriage ceremonies? We witnessed one such local wedding in progress during our quest of searching for the best Apricot oil and it’s an experience that we will always cherish.
Traditionally, Apricot oil is extracted by pahadis using a curved stone called Ton-tsig, having a cup-shaped groove (now called cold-pressed technique in modern skincare terminology!). The Apricot oil extracted from the bitter kernels has cosmetics, religious, and medicinal values. It produces a superior quality of oil with a distinct smell. The pahadis use the by-products obtained in various ways. The oilseed cake from sweet kernels is edible, while bitter kernels are boiled with local dishes such as Thupka and Chan.
Apricot, scientifically known as Prunus armeniaca, is a small fruit found in the Himalayas. Apricot oil, also known as Gutti ka tel or Khubani oil, is obtained from its kernels. Since ancient times, it has been used in traditional medicines, including Ayurveda, due to its enormous health benefits. In the 17th century, apricot kernel oil was used to treat ulcers and tumours in England. Chinese medicines also used apricot kernels to treat bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. The people of Hunza Valley use apricot kernel oil as the Holy Grail of the Hunza cuisine due to its enormous health benefits. It is used as one of the major ingredients of most of the local dishes.
In pahadi regions, apricot is broadly classified into two main categories according to the taste of its kernel. The fruit with a sweet kernel is called Ngarmo (meaning sweet), and the fruit with a bitter kernel is called Khante (meaning bitter). The oil extracted from the sweet kernel is used for edible purposes in its original form or with walnut oil.
Apricot oil is light and non-sticky in texture, which means it can easily penetrate the skin and heal it. This wonder oil exhibits antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-ageing, emollient, antiseptic, and healing properties when applied topically (applied on skin and hair).
Let's dive into the benefits of apricot oil for skincare.
It contains Oleic acid, Linoleic acid, Vitamin A, C, and E and is used in skin and hair care because of its hydrating, rejuvenating, softening, and nourishing properties. Due to its Vata balancing properties, this skin-nourishing oil helps delay ageing issues like wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and dullness. It is suitable for healing irritable or sensitive skin due to its 'Ropan' or healing properties.
The miraculous benefits of apricot oil for skin and hair care include:
- Moisturize the skin: Apricot oil penetrates deep into the skin to keep it hydrated and prevent moisture loss. It is used in various cosmetics because of its emollient (softening and soothing the skin) properties. Being a rich source of fatty acids (oleic and linoleic acids) and vitamin A, it strengthens the skin barrier, improves skin texture, keeps the skin nourished, and helps restore damaged skin.
- Brighten the skin: The abundance of antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E in apricot oil boosts the turnover of the skin cells, gives an even tone, and promotes a brighter complexion. The presence of triglycerides and phenolic compounds in apricot oil prevents the damage caused by free radicals and stimulates collagen production.
- Dewy glow: Vitamin A, C, and E work in conjunction to promote the skin's natural glow. Because of this fantastic property, it is used in many beauty products. Apricot oil is a good carrier oil that means other essential oils like Jasmine, Lavender, Rose, and Chamomile can be easily added to it, thus, making it the best option for use in aromatherapy and massage oils.
- For acne and inflammation: When apricot oil is applied topically, it soothes and heals the skin. It may also reduce the inflammation associated with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
- Reduce ageing signs: Apricot oil boosts circulation in the skin and slows down ageing. Vitamin A in the oil minimizes the fine lines, wrinkles and tightens the skin. Its antioxidant properties help protect the skin from UV damage. It also helps in reducing stretch marks after pregnancy.
- Under the eyes: When applied under the eyes, it heals the skin and diminishes dark circles, puffiness, and fine lines. It strengthens the skin around the eyes, making it appear healthy and nourished.
- To remove makeup: Instead of scrubbing the skin with harsh chemicals to remove makeup, use Apricot oil. It dissolves and removes oil from the skin and residues from oil-based makeup.
- Good for hair: Apricot oil possesses Snigdha (oily) property, thus helping reduce dryness of the scalp, prevent hair fall, and promote healthy hair growth. If the winter makes your hair dry, try apricot oil with coconut or olive oil for softer and shiny hair.
Because of its magnificent properties, it is used in many cosmetic products such as moisturizing creams, lip balms, or face scrubs. It is also used as a massage oil, baby oil, and UV protective agent. Manjishtha is another miracle herb that is a powerful anti-aging agent and used as an ingredient in conscious skincare products to target specific skin issues. Manjishtha is the core ingredient of Vilasa’s Age Defence Night Cream to fight blemishes. At VILASA, we use hand-picked apricots from the wilderness of the Himalayas and make 100% natural, cold-pressed, single-origin oil. Our product is paraben and sulphate-free, and suitable for all skin types.
An expression of unconditional love – like the sacred bond between the mother & the child. Vilasa’s Apricot Oil is as effective for adults as it is as a massage oil for babies. Spend some “us-time” to ignite that pure love and care.
To conclude, if you are concerned about skin ageing and looking for an excellent anti-ageing product, or want to have glowing skin, add magical Apricot Oil to your skincare regime and be ready to embrace a sense of beauty inside and outside.