Ingredient highlight: apricot stone powder

Apricot kernel powder has been hailed as having an incredible range of benefits, from cancer treatment through to being immune boosting. Apricot powder benefits also extend confidently into skincare. It’s why we love our Cleansing Face Balm with Apricot Powder.

But apricot kernel or apricot seed powder in skincare products has also found itself in court. It was tossed out again, but a lot of myths still abound surrounding this incredible and humble ingredient. We decided it was time to shine a spotlight on apricot powder and explain why we are proud to include it as a key ingredient.

Apricot kernel powder benefits in skincare

Apricot kernel powder is made from the ground down seeds of the apricot. These kernels or seeds are rich in fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. In fact, over 50% of the kernel is oil. This is a wonderful combination of factors which makes it attractive as an emollient that also brings you the benefit of improved hydration.

It’s such an incredible natural product that it has been used as an exfoliating product since people started wanting to slough off skin cells and grime, realising it was the trick to radiant and smooth skin. Over time, skincare manufacturers got wind of this and would include it within scrubs and clays, as many still do. 

Although described as a powder, apricot kernel powder provides the grit-texture you are familiar with in all the best scrubs and exfoliating skincare. Combined with other ingredients, it makes for a delicately mild and natural exfoliating scrub that is suitable even for those with sensitive skin.

Exfoliation helps to unclog pores and removes dead skin and impurities from the surface of the skin. Without exfoliation, your complexion can look dull. With exfoliation, it will feel silky smooth and also appear more youthful and vibrant.

Vitamin and mineral rich

It’s not just the gentle exfoliating properties that make apricot seed powder so popular for skincare. Apricot stones are also packed full of Vitamin E. Vitamin E has the nickname ‘The Skin Vitamin’ because it is so closely linked to the health of your skin. It’s known to target free radicals and reduce oxidative stress. Left unchecked, free radicals can cause blemishes and the signs of aging, such as wrinkles and age spots. Vitamin E boosts elasticity helping to prevent these.

Apricot kernel powder is also rich in Vitamin B17. You tend to find Vitamin B17 in lots of different seeds and nuts, but apricot stones are up there as one of the most densely packed. Vitamin B17 has properties which are similar to immune boosters and anti-inflammatories. Again, this helps to eradicate free radicals and keep skin looking youthful and healthy.

As apricot kernels are over 50% oil, they are a rich source of essential fatty acids (oleic and linoleic), bringing your skin the benefits of moisturising. These oils are very easily absorbed by the skin, without leaving any greasy residue.

Lastly, of course, organic apricot powder will have been produced without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. For many, this is vitally important when choosing all-natural skincare.

So why do some people think apricot kernel powder is harmful?

There was a harmful rumour doing the rounds of a link between apricot kernels and cyanide, due to the presence of amygdalin in apricot seeds. However, there is only a risk when the kernels are consumed as a food, in vast quantities over a prolonged period of time. Amygdalin is also present in the seeds / kernels of many other well-known fruits, including apples, peaches, cherries, pears and plums.

For much more detail on this take a look HERE.

In recent years, apricot stone powder also received a bit of a bad rap after a lawsuit was brought against St. Ives Apricot Fresh Skin Scrub in 2017. It’s the gritty texture from apricot kernel powder which makes it a fantastic exfoliator and enables you to benefit from its oils and vitamin and mineral content. However, some users, as with any popular product, found it didn’t work for them. They claimed that the gritty texture actually damaged the skin, causing micro-tears and abrasions which in turn put them at risk of infection. The lawsuit was thrown out of court once properly reviewed.

The thing with the St. Ives Apricot Fresh Skin Scrub is that it has quite a cult following. Being relatively low cost and having been around for generations, it has a bit of a fan club. Therefore any lawsuit against it was going to become high profile, even if it turned out to be poorly founded, as in this instance.

Using exfoliating balms and lotions with apricot powder

Apricot kernel powder is one of those ingredients which is suitable for a very wide range of skin types. That’s why we’ve confidently made it the star ingredient in our Cleansing Face Balm and consider it suitable for all skin types.

It can be used every day to gently remove all traces of makeup, dirt, pollution and impurities. As with all of our skincare products, it is sustainable, vegan, cruelty-free and UK-made. In addition, our apricot powder comes from discarded stones from the apricot oil industry. It’s combined with blackcurrant seed for its calming properties, as well as sea buckthorn and blue tansy oils.

Use it as a first cleanse and then follow with one of our Chai Soaps. What’s more, our Balm has won the ‘Best Value’ product in the Women’s Running 2020 Product Awards, so you don’t just have to take our word for it.

We strongly believe in the benefits of apricot kernel powder, as do our customers who keep coming back for more of our cleansing balm. Try it for yourself and see why it’s so loved.