The hunt to find the right hydration for your skin can be a challenge for everyone. If you got dry skin, a trick is to use a facial oil at the end of your skin care regimen.
But if you got oily skin, you might take off to the hills screaming “no more oil, no more shine”. But contrary to what it sounds, even if your skin is oily, it still needs hydration, nourishment, and protection. Even better, there’s a miracle ingredient that can also slow down ageing and balance your natural oils.
Did you guess what ingredient it is?
It’s made of hazelnuts. Did you now think of chocolate truffles, hazelnut butter, biscotti, gelato, and tarts? Right, but it’s hazelnut oil. This ingredient can help you get your skin goals, and reach optimal hydration levels and health potential.
Round, brown-skinned, and encased in a rust-coloured shell, hazelnuts are the fruits of the hazel tree. To be more precise, they are the nuts of any tree of the genus Corylus.
Sometimes, hazelnuts are referred to as filberts and cobnuts. The hazel tree is very hardy and hence can thrive in dry areas or cold climates.
The nuts are harvested in autumn. Mid to end autumn, when the nuts ripen, they fall to the ground, along with the leaves.
Did you know that hazelnuts are the sixth most popular nuts as measured by worldwide consumption? The rank is
- Peanut (ok, for the scientists and botanists of us, peanut is technically not a nut)
So, it’s not quite a staple but also not totally unknown and unloved. Yet, they once were a staple. Archaeologists can trace it back to almost 10,000 years ago in the diet of the hunter-gatherers.
The ancient Chinese (really ancient, around 2000 BC) thought hazelnuts were sacred food. But it isn’t just food. In Ancient Greece, around 40 AD, the physician Dioscorides noted that hazelnut could cure coughing, cold, and even baldness.
Hazel was used for firewood and to make charcoal. It probably was also construction material to make houses, fences, drying racks, and other necessities for daily life. Even the leaves were used as optional fodder for animal husbandry.
Properties and characteristics
A hazelnut is small and round, about 2 cm in diameter with a pointed tip. It’s cream-coloured with a thin dark brown skin that you can remove before eating. The skin tastes slightly bitter.
You can eat it raw but when you roast it, it tastes sweeter and deeper. The hazelnuts can also be ground into a paste. If you keep the hazelnuts unfrosted or as a paste, they tend go go rancid pretty quickly because of they have a high fat content. So it’s best to keep them in the fridge.
Hazelnut oil is extracted by pressing roasted hazelnuts. It’s a fragrant, nutty oil and so it’s used to add the extra oomph to dressings. It makes a great cooking oil with a more fragrant and deeper flavour than olive oil but without the saturated fat of butter.
In the beauty industry, hazelnut oil can be used much like argan oil – although it weighs less on your pockets. It’s similar to rice bran or marula oil in that it can be used to help with different issues. Moreover, you can not only use it on your skin but also on your hair.
It’s nutrient-dense oil, packed with many goodies. It’s rich in protein and unsaturated fat. To be precise, monounsaturated fatty acids. Nutritionists recommend this type of fatty acids because they’re the healthiest fats to consume for heart health. They can also help regulate cholesterol levels and blood sugar. Hazelnut oil is one of the most stable oils due to its high levels of vitamin E.
Why use it on your skin?
Hazelnut oil has long been popular in the food industry but it’s gaining traction in the cosmetics industry in the recent years as well. It’s known as a stable but non-greasy oil with excellent moisturising properties.
Actually, hazelnut oil can help both increase hydration and serve as an effective moisturiser. The high vitamin E and fatty acid content increase your skin’s outermost layer’s overall hydration. Vitamin E keeps your skin hydrated and it also helps improve your skin elasticity. Overall, it makes your skin look and feel firm and supple.
The fatty acids and vitamin E have another function: They also nourish and replenish the level of the fatty acid in your skin. Hence they strengthen your skin’s natural barrier but they also form a natural oil barrier that helps your skin retain water and avoid drying out.
First of all, hazelnut oil is non-comedogenic. This is what you should look for if you got oily or acne prone skin. This means it won’t make your skin congested and jam up your pores.
With its unique properties, hazelnut oil has been used for oily skin and to reduce the size of pores. The high amount of catechins and tannins (healthy flavonoids) present makes it a dry oil that feels non-greasy. This also helps balance the oils in your skin, cleanse and shrink pores, and remove bacteria.
Encourage collagen formation
Every time you read something about skin care and skin health, undoubtedly, you also hear something about collagen. This is because this protein is a primary building block for your muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, hair, and of course, skin.
In your skin, it’s responsible to give your skin structure. Or in other words, to keep it from sagging and drooping.
Now, as hazelnut oil is a rich source of vitamin E, it can help stimulate collagen production by reducing the enzyme, collagenase, that destroys it.
This is another way how hazelnut oil contributes to anti-ageing and maintaining your skin’s overall health.
Hazelnut oil contains vitamin E and other antioxidants such as catechins and tannins (healthy flavonoids). Wearing hazelnut oil can give your skin protection against environmental stressors.
It can reduce free radical damage that comes about when you’re exposed to the sun or environmental pollution such as cigarette smoke. Wearing hazelnut oil can protect your skin from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
To sum it up, using hazelnut oil can help you slow down premature ageing and ward off wrinkles due to loss of moisture and elasticity. Even folks with oily and acne prone skin can enjoy its benefits because it’s a balancing oil that wards off free radicals and encourages the production of collagen.
In general, hazelnut oil is considered safe. But, hazelnuts are known to cause an allergic reaction. Even if you aren’t allergic to tree nuts, it’s always sensible to first check and patch test before you use hazelnut oil.
When you’re looking for hazelnut oil, be sure to find an organic, high quality, and cold pressed oil so that you can get the most out of it.
Compared to some other plant oils, hazelnut doesn’t feel sticky or leave a greasy film on your skin. Combined with its balancing properties, it can do wonders for oily skin, leaving it visibly soft and supple. But all skin types can benefit from it. With regular use, over time, it will make your complexion appear more youthful and vibrant.