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The benefits of Marula oil on the skin

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

I fist saw what Marula oil could do for the skin when I bumped into a friend of mine who I hadn't seen for a while. Her skin was looking amazing. I was like, seriously, what are you using on your skin? Her skin was radiant and smooth, almost like a baby's. She said, Marula oil.

I had never heard of this stuff before, but as soon as she told me about it I ran to the store as fast as I could to get some.

I was amazed at it's power so I researched everything I could about this African nut oil and I was wowed beyond belief. I learned that it is so gentle it can be used on babies and pregnant women and even ingested.

The Marula nut was fondly referred to as “The Food of Kings,” and it is from this nut that the revered “Miracle Oil” continues to be cold pressed. With potent and protective properties as well as an aroma that is both floral and pleasantly nutty, Marula Carrier Oil is characterized as a tonic with healthful effects that have earned it nicknames like “The Elixir of Youth” and “The African Beauty Secret.”

"Marula oil has been used in Africa for thousands of years and it has numerous uses. "It has great cultural significance in traditional rituals and is given as a gift as a token of respect. Marula oil is also given as a gift to mothers who have just given birth so that it can be used topically and orally by both the mother and her newborn. Among the Zulu people, t

he Marula tree symbolizes women’s fertility, softness, and tenderness, and newborn girls are welcomed into the world with traditional Marula ceremonies." 2 If it is suitable for babies then it can be used on any skin type I thought. It also made me realize if there was this special nut oil that was great for the skin there had to be other powerful ones that did other things, so I began researching more.

The main chemical constituents of Marula Carrier Oil are Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Linoleic Acid, and Arachidonic Acid. Used cosmetically or topically in general,

Marula Oil is known for its antioxidant activity, which supports skin health, repairs damage caused by pollutants, and delays the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration.

Being a light and non-comedogenic oil that exhibits anti-microbial properties,

Marula Oil is reputed to calm acne-prone skin and to reduce other blemishes as well as scarring.

Its deeply hydrating qualities are known to prevent skin from losing moisture, thereby softening, nourishing, and protecting the skin, which ultimately revitalizes and rejuvenates the complexion.

Marula Carrier Oil is reputed to enhance elasticity and firmness by boosting collagen production, and it is also reputed to facilitate the healing of irritation, inflammation, redness, and chapping, especially in association with sunburned skin and conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis

"The soothing oil from the Marula tree is used by rural people all over southern Africa as an emollient when massaged onto the face, feet, and hands. It is used across the region to treat cracked, dry, or damaged skin. Zulu women used Marula oil as a beauty treatment for cracked skin on the hands, feet, and lips. It is still widely used by the Tsonga people of South Africa and Mozambique as a baby oil and moisturizer for women’s skin. Anecdotal evidence suggests that rural pregnant women apply it to prevent stretch marks. In north central Namibia, Owambo women use it as a moisturizing lotion, which is applied to the whole body, especially for the bride during wedding ceremonies. It is also mixed with millet grains for use as a traditional body scrub and skin exfoliator. Marula oil has been mixed with red ochre and smeared on women’s hairand bodies for ornamentation. It’s also used to repel insects and moisturize the skin during the dry season." 1

"Marula oil has a clear, pale, yellowish-pink color and a pleasant nutty aroma. The oil is prized for its nutritional, antioxidant, free radical scavenging and moisturizing properties. Marula oil contains a large proportion of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and natural antioxidants. It can be classified as a high-oleic acid (7080%) with relatively low tocopherol content. The stability of the oil is therefore attributed to its particular fatty acid composition. Recent studies have suggested that some of the minor components in the oil, such as sterols, may contribute to this important anti-oxidant property. Marula oil contains a similar fatty acid composition to olive oil and may be as stable to oxidation. The oxidative stability exhibited by this oil could explain its use as a traditional food preservative, and its equally exceptional resistance to oxidative rancidity. Flavonoids may also contribute to the antioxidant activity.

Depending on the extraction process used, Marula oil has been shown to have good free radical scavenging properties attributed to a non triglyceride fraction . Research into the identification of this fraction is ongoing." 2

"Containing high proportions of oleic acid as well as 4% to 7% linoleic fatty acid, Marula oil is easily absorbed, making the oil potentially useful for topical application.

Marula oil has also been shown to improve skin hydration and smoothness, and it also reduces redness.

Preliminary tests to investigate the commercial potential of Marula oil as an ingredient in cosmetic formulations have been successfully carried out. In vitro tests included skin hydration, transepidermal water loss, and “increase in skin smoothness with Marula oil performing significantly well.” internet source


  1. Palmer E, Pitman N. Sclerocarya Hochs. In: Trees of Southern Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Balkema;1972:226–246.

  2. Hutchings A, Scott AH, Lewis G, Cunningham A. Zulu Medicinal Plants: An Inventory. Cape Town, South Africa: University of Natal Press; 1996.

  3. Botelle A. A History of Marula Use in North-central Namibia. Windhoek, Namibia: Eudafano Women’s Co-operative Ltd. and the Center for Research information action in Africa (CRIAA) and the South African Development Company (SA-DC); 2001.

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