Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Using Tamanu Oil For Beleaguered Hair and Scalp

Tamanu oil (one name in a very, very long list of other names) is made from the nuts of Calophyllum inophyllum or Calophyllum tacamahaca tree, which originates in Polynesia but is found throughout Southeast Asia, in Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, South India, Sri Lanka, and the Melanesian and Polynesian Islands.

In recent months the antioxidant-rich oil made from this newly-lauded superplant has been praised by beauty editors and dermatologists alike for its ability to combat dry, itchy scalp and the kind of UV damage that often results when the crown of the head is exposed to the sun. (Ever get a scalp burn on your part? Yeah, us too.)

Photo: Andreana Bitsis

Tamanu oil’s antibacterial properties can help with flaking and dandruff, while the oil’s high omega fatty acid count promotes healthy cellular growth– a function enhanced by tamanu oil’s naturally-occuring concentrations of calophyllolide (an anti-inflammatory), lactone (an antibiotic), and coumarins (another anti-inflammatory agent).

While some naturopathic research suggests that tamanu oil can also be used for treating blemishes, fading stretch marks, treating ingrown hairs, healing rashes, and soothing dry skin, its benefits for hair, scalp, and preventing UV damage are the best documented. Look for it in shampoos and after-sun products, or buy extra virgin Tamanu oil and mix your own remedies. Just be sure to remember that, like any concentrated natural product, a little goes a long way.

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