Tamanu Oil Uses And Benefits For The Skin

If you frequent stores that sell organic products like essential oils and such, chances are you've come across Tamanu oil. You might be unsure what it is exactly and what it can do. Sure, it's not as well-known as other oils you likely use daily. But this lesser-known yet powerful oil has been used for centuries by Polynesians for its effectiveness on various skin conditions like eczema and acne. So, let's get to know more about Tamanu oil and its many benefits.

What Is Tamanu Oil?

Tamanu is extracted from the fruit of the Tamanu nut tree (Calophyllum inophyllum), also known as laurelwood. The Tamanu nut tree is native to Southeast Asia and Polynesia. Asian, African, and Pacific Islander cultures are known to use Tamanu oil. It's used on the skin to treat acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and keloids, to name a few.


It's long been believed that Tamanu oil has tons of benefits, from the hair to the skin. While some claims may be anecdotal, research has proven some of them to be true.

Two studies have proven that tamanu oil is both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. One of them is a 2015 study that looked at Tamanu oil made from five different parts of the South Pacific and discovered that it was effective against bacteria. One of which is the strain P. acnes, which causes acne. Another study also proves Tamanu's wound-healing properties and promoting skin regeneration. The study shows that Tamanu oil helps produce collagen and glycosaminoglycan (GAG), two crucial components in the healing of scars. 

Tamanu oil makes for a good moisturizer as well. That's because it is an emollient, meaning it fills in microcracks in the skin to make it soft. In addition, it is high in fatty acids such as oleic and linoleic acid that reinforce our skin's moisture barrier, locking in the moisture.

Additionally, Tamanu oil supports healthy skin aging. It is rich in antioxidants to fight damage from free radicals. And the collagen and GAG it helps produce are not just beneficial for healing scars. These two also aid in preventing wrinkles and dark spots. Furthermore, a 2009 study found that Tamanu oil can absorb UV light and stop 85% of damage caused by UV radiation.

Other conditions that Tamanu oil is effective for are the following:

  • Eczema
  • Athlete's foot
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Sunburn
  • Hair loss
  • Insect bites
  • Cold sores

How To Use It

The many benefits that Tamanu oil brings make it an ideal ingredient for products like moisturizers or face and body oils. If you're the type to make your own body or skin care products, you can mix Tamanu oil into your homemade cream, face masks, or even shampoo. You can even mix it with other oils like jojoba or lavender for more nutrients to absorb through your skin.

Still, it's better to err on the side of caution when you're planning to use Tamanu oil. Avoid using it if you are allergic to tree nuts. Also, never forget to use a carrier oil to dilute the oil before applying it on yourself or mixing it with your homemade skincare products.

Tamanu Oil Uses

Want to add Tamanu oil-infused products to your body and skincare repertoire? Then check out Island Essence's bestselling Tamanu Nut Maui Miracle Healing Oil and the Tamanu Nut Healing Soap and witness the nourishing power of Tamanu oil!