Everything You Need to Know About Tamanu Oil

What is tamanu oil?

If you’ve been inside a natural foods store or health shop, chances are you’ve seen tamanu oil before.

Tamanu oil is extracted from seeds that grow on a tropical evergreen called a tamanu nut tree. Tamanu oil and other parts of the tamanu nut tree have been used medicinally for hundreds of years by certain Asian, African, and Pacific Island cultures.

Tamanu oil benefits

Tamanu oil has long been believed to have a number of health and beauty benefits, from wound healing to healthier hair. While not every single claim you come across has been scientifically researched, many have.

Tamanu oil benefits for wrinkles

Tamanu oil is an active ingredient used in many skin care products, including anti-aging creams. The oil is rich in fatty acids, which can help keep skin moisturized. It also contains antioxidants, which fight against damage from free radicals.

The oil’s ability to promote collagen and GAG production also plays a role in anti-aging and skin regeneration.

Tamanu oil for dark spots

No evidence currently exists that shows tamanu oil can reduce the appearance of dark spots, though some people use it for that purpose.

Tamanu oil for dry skin

Skin dryness is a condition commonly treated with use of oils. Tamanu oil happens to have a high fat content, so it’s likely very moisturizing for the skin.

Tamanu oil for eczema

Research suggests tamanu oil may have anti-inflammatory properties.Bhalla TN, et al. (1980). Calophyllolide — a new nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent. https: //pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7203581/ And while there are people who have used tamanu oil to treat inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, more research is needed to understand its role.

Tamanu oil for fading stretch marks

As with acne scars, most people try to fade their stretch marks with moisturizing, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory treatments. While tamanu oil has these properties, there’s not enough research to know whether it has any effect.

Tamanu oil for hair

Researchers have not looked deeply into how tamanu oil affects the hair. It probably works as a moisturizer, though that’s not been proven. Anecdotal stories suggest it can be used to slow hair loss, but researchers have not proven this.

Tamanu oil for ingrown hairs

Ingrown hairs often become inflamed and irritated. Because tamanu oil has anti- inflammatory healing properties, it’s possible it could treat ingrown hairs. As a proven anti-inflammatory, it could have benefits. However, there’s no specific research on tamanu and ingrown hairs.

Tamanu oil for insect stings

Some people use tamanu oil to treat insect stings. But while tamanu oil does work as an anti-inflammatory, there’s no research yet into its effects on bug bites.

Tamanu oil for scars

Several studies have found that tamanu oil has a number of properties that can help skin wounds heal faster, reduce inflammation, and promote collagen production.

Tamanu oil for sunburns and other burns

Some people use tamanu oil to treat their sunburns and other burns. While research suggests tamanu oil has healing and antibacterial properties, there’s no clear understanding of its effects on burns.

Tamanu oil uses

Tamanu oil can be applied directly to the skin for health or cosmetic purposes. It can also be combined with creams, essential oils, and other ingredients to create your own face and hair masks, moisturizers, and shampoos and conditioners.

Side effects and precautions of tamanu oil

Tamanu oil product labels warn against swallowing the oil and allowing it to contact the eyes. Companies that sell tamanu oil also warn against using the oil in open wounds. If you have a large wound, be sure to seek treatment from a doctor.

Be aware that tamanu oil is considered a health supplement, and is therefore not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as being able to treat or cure any disease. In fact, the FDA has filed lawsuits against companies in Utah and Oregon that made claims of tamanu oil’s skin benefits.

Research suggests contact with tamanu oil may cause allergic reactions in some people. People allergic to tree nuts should avoid tamanu oil, since it’s derived from a kind of tree nut.

Alternatives to tamanu oil

Tamanu is a nut oil and not an essential oil, but the following essential oils are alternatives to tamanu oil. Which you choose depends on the effect you’re after. Be sure to use as directed, as some of these essential oils need to be diluted with a carrier oil before being applied to the skin to avoid irritation.

Here are three alternatives and what they can do.

  • Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil has been researched extensively. It has anti- inflammatory and antibacterial properties that make it effective for treating minor wounds, itching, and skin conditions, such as eczema and acne.
  • Argan oil. Also referred to as Moroccan oil, argan oil has been shown to offer many of the same benefits as tamanu oil, including wound healing, anti-aging effects, acne treatment, and UV protection. It’s also an effective moisturizer for skin and hair.
  • Castor oil. Castor oil is an inexpensive alternative with many of the same uses and benefits. It has antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects that can help treat fungal infections, minor skin irritation, and minor cuts and abrasions. It also moisturizes the hair and skin.

Where to buy tamanu oil

You can purchase tamanu oil in many natural food and beauty shops. You can also find it online on Amazon.


Tamanu oil has been used for centuries to treat many common skin conditions. Research suggests that tamanu oil does have some properties that would make it effective for treating wounds and other inflammatory skin conditions. Some people, including those with tree nut allergies, should not use tamanu oil.

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