The Benefits and How to Use It

If I were to ask you to list the first few fruits that come to mind, would a plum even be one of them? Probably not, especially when it comes to your beauty routine (I mean, watermelon skincare is dominating right now). But if you’ve been sleeping on plums, let this be your wake-up call, because plums are that fruit, y’all. Full of benefits for your hair and your skin, plum oil (aka prunus domestic seed oil) is one natural beauty ingredient you absolutely want to check out next time you’re looking to restock your skincare supply, so take notes as you dive into the below.

Meet the experts:

  • Macrene AlexiadesMD, is a board-certified dermatologist and the founder of the clean beauty brand Macrene Actives.
  • Michele GreenMD, is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in cosmetic dermatology.
  • Krupa Koestline is a clean cosmetic chemist and the founder of KKT Consultants.

    What is plum oil used for?

    Plum oil has antioxidant, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties that offer a wide range of benefits, from hydrating and regulating sebum production, to increase skin cell turnover and protecting against radical damageexplains board-certified dermatologist Michele Green, MD.

    To break all that down, plum oil is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E (all powerful antioxidants), and essential fatty acids, like oleic acid (which reduces the appearance of age spots, premature wrinkles, and fine lines) and linoleic acid (which helps protect the appearance of your skin). Clean cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline says because of plum oil’s superb skin penetration, excellent emolliency, and moisturizing properties (with no greasy residue), this light-textured, highly nutritious oil has a long history of use in both culinary and personal-care applications.

    Does plum oil clog pores?

    Thanks to its lightweight texture, non-greasy feel, and quick absorption, Koestline says it’s unlikely that plum oil will clog your pores. “Linoleic acid and oleic acid are actually great for acne-prone skin by balancing sebum production and encouraging normal skin exfoliation,” Koestline says. This balancing of the sebum, Dr. Green further explains, can help reduce excess oil, which is the main culprit behind acne.

    That said, everyone’s skin is different, and board-certified dermatologist Macrene Alexiades, MD, says if you’re acne-prone, you still might want to avoid using it, ya know, just in case. And, at the very least, test it first before going overboard with it all over your face. “Plum oil can benefit all skin types, even if you have oily, acne-prone skin, or sensitive skin—although, a few extra steps should be taken as with any new skincare product you seek to add to your skincare regimen,” says Dr. Green.

    How? With a good ol’ patch test. “A patch test should be conducted in the inner arm where you apply a dime-sized amount of product for 24 hours to see if you develop a reaction in the form of a rash, redness, and/or irritation,” says Dr. Green . If you notice an unwanted change or an increase of breakouts, plum oil just might not be for you. Maybe check out rosehip oil or jojoba oil instead?

    Is plum oil good for dry skin?

    Not only can plum oil benefit oily skin, but Dr. Green calls it a great skincare addition for all skin types, particularly mature and dry skin. “Plum oil contains many fatty acids and antioxidant vitamins, which offer hydration and anti-aging benefits,” Green explains. For instance, the vitamin E in plum oil can prevent free radical damage (a major contributor to wrinkles and age spots), and the vitamin A promotes cell turnover and collagen production. And remember all the fatty acids found in plum oil? As the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and vital components of our skin’s natural protective barrier, those fatty acids are essential for healthy, hydrated skin.

    How do I use plum oil on my face?

    I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you do not need an entire dropper’s worth of face oil for every application. The experts say a few drops will do, so don’t waste your precious product. If you’re using straight-up plum oil, Dr. Green says to apply it as you would a serum: morning and night, use clean hands to gently massage it into your skin before applying your moisturizer. Koestline also suggests adding a drop or two of facial oil into the moisturizer (rather than layering them on the skin) for a faster approach that works just as well.

    Is plum oil good for hair?

    Yup, all that good stuff in plum oil could benefit both your skin and your hair. Dr. Alexiades and Dr. Green say it’s especially great for dry, brittle hair. “If you have chemically treated hair or hair that has been damaged due to excess heat or harsh environmental conditions, plum oil is an excellent choice,” Dr. Green says. After you finish shampoo and conditioning your hair, Dr. Green recommends applying it to the ends of your damp hair to moisturize, protect against heat damage, and strengthen the hair and reduce the likelihood of split ends.

    But it’s not just about the hair strands—Dr. Alexiades notes that because it’s rich in linoleic acid and vitamin E, plum oil is great for moisturizing and treating scalps that are dry or irritated, like after chemical processing.

    Is plum oil better than argan oil?

    Plum oil isn’t nearly as popular as argan oil as far as a hair oil, but honestly, it should be. “Argan oil is typically deemed as the gold standard when it comes to hair oil and is similarly packed with vitamin E and fatty acids like oleic and linoleic acid,” Dr. Green explains. “Plum oil has an even higher concentration of linoleic and oleic fatty acids, which allows it to be even more effective in hydrating your hair.”

    The takeaway

    Basically, I’m sorry for everything I said about plums being plain. They’re actually the opposite. Plum oil is packed full of nourishing vitamins and fatty acids and has antioxidant, anti-aging, and anti-inflammatory properties. Next time your hair or skin could use a little lightweight hydration, plum oil is one under-the-radar ingredient definitely worth your attention.

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