What Is Tamanu Oil and Can It Effectively Treat Acne Scars?

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People who have nut allergies should avoid tamanu oil because it’s derived from a tree nut. And while many of the voices on TikTok have vouched for the ingredient as a treatment for rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema, Dr. Gohara strongly advises anyone with any sort of skin sensitivity — eczema, rosacea, perioral dermatitis proclivity, psoriasis, for example — to steer clear of it because it’s a nut oil and can therefore be a bit more sensitizing than other skin-care oils.

Is tamanu oil comedogenic?

At this point we don’t have enough information to determine if tamanu oil is comedogenic or not, which means consumers should use care, advises Robinson.

Dr. Murphy-Rose believes it likely has the potential to clog pores, as is the case with many oil-based products. Dr. Gohara reminds us, however, that nothing has to be comedogenic if applied in small amounts. “Anything that contains oils or fatty acids or has a barrier repair function — even an ingredient as highly touted and recommended as ceramides — is going to be too hydrating and comedogenic when overused,” she says. “As long as those types of products are applied in small amounts, they have potential to be noncomedogenic.”

If you’re interested in incorporating tamanu oil into your routine but worried it might clog your pores, consider introducing the ingredient into your regimen slowly. Start with one or two days a week, once a day, and see how you fare. If you don’t break out, it means you can apply it more frequently.

How to use tamanu oil

Tamanu oil is most often found in its original form, as an oil, on its own or combined with other fatty and/or essential oils. However, it can also be mixed into serums, creams, and lotions for the skin and hair, says Dr. Murphy-Rose. Incorporating tamanu oil into your routine requires you answer two simple questions: Where do you want to use it (face or body)? And, depending on which area you choose, are you a fan of using pure oils? If the answer to the second question is no, you’ll want to look for a cream, lotion, or serum that includes tamanu oil on its ingredients list.

When tamanu oil is incorporated into a formula — like the Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate or Shea Moisture Tamanu Oil & Shea Butter Lotion — just follow the rules of application order for any serum or cream. But if you’re interested in trying pure tamanu oil, the best way to use it is as an occlusive layer over your moisturizer, which creates a protective barrier on the skin. This way, moisture is locked into the skin while simultaneously drawing in moisture from its surroundings, explains Dr. Gohara.

Best tamanu oil products

Unlike some other buzzy ingredients, tamanu oil is still relatively limited on the skin-care scene. We sifted through what is out there and got a couple of recommendations from the pros.

Living Libations

Living Libations Best Skin Ever Sea Buckthorn Face Oil

Violets Are Blue

Violets Are Blue Visible Light Brightening & Repair Serum

Koestline’s top two picks combine tamanu oil with some of the industry’s much-loved oils: She likes the Living Libations Best Skin Ever Face Oil because it has zero fillers — only plant-based oils like sea buckthorn and jojoba — and feels nourishing on the skin; the lightweight Violets Are Blue Visible Light Brightening and Repair Serum also includes sea buckthorn oil, which is high in vitamin C, and absorbs quickly into the skin, she explains.


Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate Face Oil

Honest Beauty

Honest Beauty Organic Beauty Facial Oil

For products you can easily add to your existing beauty routine, look no further than Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate and the Honestly Beauty Organic Beauty Facial Oil. The latter has been an Allure favorite since it launched in 2017, when it was originally called the Everything Organic Facial Oil, probably because, in addition to tamanu oil, it boasts an extensive list of fruit and seed oils like apricot, avocado, jojoba, and sunflower. Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate also combines tamanu oil with sunflower oil and ginger root extract, creating an antioxidant-heavy blend that helps leave your skin looking radiant and refreshed.

Krave Beauty

KraveBeauty 100% Cold-Pressed Tamanu Oil

US Organic

US Organic Tamanu Oil

Pure tamanu oil can be used on its own or mixed with your favorite face cream or body lotion (after you’ve done a patch test to make sure your skin won’t react, of course). The US Organic Tamanu Oil is cold-pressed, certified USDA organic, unrefined, and can be used for cosmetic purposes. The 100% Cold-Pressed Tamanu Oil from Krave Beauty comes in a dropper bottle that makes it easy to mix in your face cream or body lotion, apply it as a spot treatment on targeted areas, or dispense enough to slather all over your face post-moisturizer, as a final step before bed.

RMS Beauty

RMS Beauty Body Oil


SheaMoisture 100% Tamanu Oil & Shea Butter Extra Dry Skin Body Lotion

The fatty acids in tamanu oil make it beneficial for your skin from the neck down too. We recommend RMS Beauty Body Oil, which is a nongreasy formula that’s full of nourishing oils like jojoba seed, coconut, and buriti fruit, as well as good-for-your-skin plant extracts such as olive, turmeric root, and licorice root. If a body lotion is more your thing, Shea Moisture combines its hero ingredient (shea butter) with 100% tamanu oil and aloe vera for a formula that leaves even the driest skin feeling soft, coddled, and soothed.

A final word

If we had to give tamanu oil a skin-care report card, it would receive an evaluation of “shows promise.” The research that’s out there, albeit limited, shows that there might be some merit to what people are saying on TikTok about the ingredient, but until we have more information, we can’t say for sure. “It’s fair to say that it may have anti-inflammatory properties and it’s possible that it has antibacterial properties,” says Dr. Gohara. “We live in a world of Western medicine, but Eastern medicine is legit. There are so many plants that are medicinal. I don’t want to diss tamanu oil — it might be legit; I just want to see the science behind it first.”

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