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Marula Oil for Skin: The Natural Way to Beautiful Skin

Medically reviewed by:
 Dr. Lucy Chen, MD – Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Lucy Chen, MD – Board-Certified Dermatologist

Dr. Lucy Chen, MD, is a highly regarded board-certified dermatologist with a wealth of expertise in skin health, surgical dermatology, and cosmetic dermatology. She is known for her commitment to patient care and her dedication to advancing the field of dermatology. Her journey is marked by academic excellence, specialized training, and a genuine dedication to […]

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By: Christina Davies
Updated on: April 05, 2024
Marula oil for skin, cracked skin, acne prone skin, african seed oils

When it comes to skincare, nature has provided us with a plethora of gifts, and one such gem is Marula oil. Derived from the nuts of the Marula fruit, this golden-hued oil has been cherished for centuries by the indigenous people of Africa for its nourishing and healing properties.

In recent years, it has gained widespread popularity in the beauty industry due to its incredible benefits for the skin. In this article, we will explore the wonders of Marula oil and how it can transform your skincare routine.

What is Marula Oil?

Marula oil, scientifically known as Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, is a luxurious and sought-after natural oil derived from the kernels of the Marula fruit. The Marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea) is native to the southern regions of Africa and has been deeply valued by local communities for centuries. Traditionally, the Marula fruit, with its sweet and tart flavor, has been used in culinary dishes and beverages.

However, the oil extracted from the Marula kernels has gained international attention for its remarkable skincare benefits. Marula oil is rich in antioxidants, essential fatty and amino acids,, and vitamins, making it an ideal moisturizer and rejuvenator for the skin. It is known for its fast-absorbing properties and ability to hydrate and nourish the skin without leaving a greasy residue.

Moreover, Marula oil is believed to possess anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which make it effective in soothing skin irritations and promoting overall skin health. Due to its versatility and potency, Marula oil is a key ingredient in various beauty products like facial serums, moisturizers, and hair treatments.

The Marvelous Benefits of Marula Oil

1) Deep Hydration and Moisturization

Marula oil’s rich composition of essential fatty acids, including omega-9 oleic acid and omega-6 linoleic fatty acid alone, is vital in maintaining the skin’s natural barrier. These nutrients help prevent trans-epidermal water loss, retaining moisture within the skin layers.

“The fatty acid composition of marula oil is very similar to our own native epidermis,” says Dr. Chen. “The presence of oleic acid and palmitic acid can impact our top layer of skin by maintaining moisturization and occlusion. ”

The result is deeply hydrated, nourished, and supple skin. Marula oil can help combat dryness, flakiness, and rough patches, leaving your skin smooth and rejuvenated.

2) Antioxidant Powerhouse

One of the most remarkable aspects of Marula oil for the face is its impressive antioxidant profile. It is packed with vitamins E and C, two potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in the skin. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage skin cells, leading to premature aging, fine lines, and wrinkles. Using Marula oil regularly can bolster your skin’s defense against oxidative stress, helping maintain a youthful and radiant complexion.

3) Anti-Inflammatory and Soothing Properties

Marula oil’s anti-inflammatory properties make it an excellent choice for soothing irritated or sensitive skin. It can help reduce redness, itchiness, and inflammation associated with eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. The oil’s gentle and calming effects promote skin healing, relieving those with reactive skin types.

4) Non-Comedogenic and Lightweight

Marula oil is non-comedogenic, unlike some heavier oils, which won’t clog your pores or exacerbate acne. Its light texture absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving no greasy residue behind. This makes it suitable for all skin types, including oily and acne-prone. Marula oil can help regulate oil production, balance the skin, and reduce the occurrence of breakouts.

5) Improved Skin Elasticity

The high concentration of essential fatty acids in Marula oil contributes to its ability to enhance skin elasticity. As we age, collagen and elastin production declines, leading to sagging skin and loss of firmness. Marula oil can stimulate collagen synthesis and improve skin elasticity, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and promoting a more youthful, toned complexion.

6) Minimizes the Appearance of Scarring

Marula oil is also recognized for its ability to diminish the appearance of scars and stretch marks. The oil’s emollient properties promote cell regeneration and tissue repair, which can gradually fade scars over time. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory nature of Marula oil can help reduce redness and swelling around scar tissue.

7) Natural UV Protection

Marula oil contains a moderate amount of natural antioxidants and UV-absorbing compounds, providing some degree of sun protection. While it should not replace dedicated sunscreen, incorporating Marula oil into your skincare routine can offer an additional defense against harmful UV rays and environmental aggressors.

8) Anti-Aging Benefits

Beyond its antioxidant activity, Marula oil also contains phytosterols, which have been shown to promote collagen production and reduce collagen degradation.

“In studies, the breakdown of collagen, and elastin (another key component of the skin’s building blocks)  was inhibited by marula oil, by its effect on the enzymes collagenase and elastase,” says Dr. Chen.

These plant-derived compounds contribute to the oil’s anti-aging benefits, as they help to maintain the skin’s firmness and suppleness. By including Marula oil in your skincare regimen, you can help combat the signs of aging and keep your skin looking youthful for longer.

9) Enhances Skin Radiance

Marula oil has a natural ability to brighten and revitalize the complexion. Its light texture allows it to be easily absorbed into the skin, providing an instant glow without any greasy residue. Regular application of Marula oil can help even out skin tone, reduce dullness, and leave your skin looking radiant and rejuvenated.

10) Strengthens Skin Barrier

A healthy skin barrier is crucial for maintaining overall skin health and preventing skin concerns. Marula oil’s combination of fatty acids and antioxidants helps strengthen the skin’s natural barrier, which protects against environmental stressors and pollution. A fortified skin barrier can retain moisture more effectively and protect the skin from external aggressors, leading to a healthier and more resilient complexion.

Side Effects of Marula Oil

Marula oil is considered a safe cosmetic ingredient with minimal risk of side effects. However, like any skincare product, natural or synthetic, there is always a slight possibility of an allergic reaction, according to dermatologists. To mitigate this risk, conducting a patch test before applying marula oil or any product containing it on a larger area of the skin is advisable.

In case of any concerns or if you have a history of skin allergies, it is recommended to seek guidance from a dermatologist. They can provide personalized advice and determine if marula oil suits your skin type and condition.

Overall, marula oil is well-tolerated by most individuals and offers numerous benefits for the skin due to its rich nutrient content. However, cautious usage and attention to potential allergic reactions are always prudent when introducing new skincare products into your routine.

Incorporating Marula Oil into Your Skincare Routine

fatty acid composition, linoleic acid, anti aging properties,

1) Cleansing Oil:

One of the most effective ways to use Marula oil is as a natural cleansing oil. Contrary to what you might think, applying pure marula oil alone to your face can help remove dirt, makeup, and impurities without disrupting your skin’s natural balance. Marula oil has a lightweight, non-greasy texture that suits all skin types, including oily and acne-prone.

To use it as a cleanser, simply dispense a few drops of Marula oil onto a cotton pad and gently wipe your face, including the eye area, to dissolve makeup and impurities. Once your face is thoroughly cleansed, rinse with warm water or use a damp cloth to wipe away any remaining marula oil good behind. Your skin will feel clean, soft, and nourished without any traces of residue.

2) Daily Moisturizer:

Marula oil is an excellent daily moisturizer, especially for those with dry or dehydrated skin. After cleansing, apply a small amount of Marula oil to clean damp skin. The moisture from the water will help the oil spread evenly and absorb more effectively. Gently massage the oil onto your face and neck upward, allowing it to penetrate the skin.

Marula oil’s fast-absorbing nature ensures it won’t leave a greasy or heavy feeling on your skin. Instead, it will lock in moisture, keeping your skin hydrated throughout the day. Its emollient properties also help smooth out fine lines and improve skin elasticity, leaving your complexion youthful and radiant.

3) Hydration Booster:

If you want to take your skincare routine to the next level, consider mixing a drop or two of Marula oil with your favorite moisturizer or hyaluronic acid serum. This simple step can provide an extra hydration boost and enhance your existing products’ effectiveness.

To create your custom hydrating blend, add a drop or two of Marula oil to the palm of your hand along with your regular moisturizer or serum. Mix them and apply the concoction to your face and neck. The Marula oil will act as a humectant, drawing moisture into your skin and sealing it in, resulting in a plumper and more supple complexion.

4) Night Treatment:

Utilizing Marula oil as a night treatment can be a game-changer for your skin. Before bed, pamper your face and neck with a generous amount of Marula oil. This allows the oil’s nourishing properties to work overnight, replenishing your skin and promoting a healthy complexion.

During the nighttime, when your skin is in repair mode, Marula oil can work magic by providing essential nutrients and moisture. The oil’s antioxidants also neutralize free radicals, harmful molecules that can damage the skin and accelerate aging. Using Marula oil regularly as a night treatment will make you wake up to smoother, more revitalized skin every morning.

Fast Facts

DefinitionMarula oil is a lightweight, fast-absorbing oil extracted from the Marula fruit’s kernels, found in Southern Africa.
Cosmetic UseIt is widely used in cosmetics and skin care products for its moisturizing and nourishing properties.
Impact on Skin TypesSuitable for all skin types, including dry, oily, sensitive, and combination skin.
Potential BenefitsIt hydrates and moisturizes the skin, Rich in antioxidants and fatty acids help protect and repair the skin barrier, It may reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and Non-comedogenic so that it won’t clog pores.
DrawbacksSome people may experience allergic reactions; a patch test is recommended before full use and It can be expensive compared to other oils.
Recommended Usage2-3 drops applied to the face and neck once or twice daily.
Compatibility withMarula oil generally works well with most skincare ingredients and can be incorporated into various skincare routines.
Other Ingredients: 
Precautions/RecommendBefore using it on your face, perform a patch test to check for any adverse reactions, Store the oil in a cool, dark place to prevent oxidation and Avoid applying excessive amounts as it may lead to greasiness.
Who Should UseSuitable for improving skin hydration and overall health.
How Often to UseIt can be used once or twice daily, depending on individual preferences and skin needs.
Works Well With– Hyaluronic Acid: Boosts hydration with Marula oil.
– Vitamin C: Enhances antioxidant effects and brightens the skin.
– Retinol: Combining with Marula oil may reduce potential irritation from retinol use.
Don’t Use WithNo known ingredients are incompatible with Marula oil. However, avoid using it if you are allergic or sensitive to other organic marula oil.


Q1: Is Marula oil suitable for all skin types? Yes, Marula oil is lightweight and non-comedogenic, making it suitable for all skin types, including oily skin and acne-prone.

Q2: Can Marula oil replace my daily moisturizer? Marula oil can be used as a daily moisturizer, especially for those with normal to dry skin. However, if you have specific skin concerns, it can be combined with your regular moisturizer for added benefits.

Q3: Can Marula oil help with stretch marks? While Marula oil may help improve skin elasticity, it is essential to note that it may not eliminate stretch marks. Regular use can contribute to smoother and more supple skin.

Q4: Is Marula oil sustainably sourced? Reputable brands ensure sustainable sourcing and ethical practices when obtaining Marula oil to protect the environment and support local communities.

Q5: Can Marula oil be used on sensitive skin? Yes, Marula oil’s soothing and anti-inflammatory properties make it a suitable choice for sensitive skin types, helping to calm and nourish irritated skin.


Marula oil, the secret beauty weapon of Africa, has now captured the attention of skincare enthusiasts worldwide. Its unparalleled ability to hydrate, protect, and rejuvenate the skin makes marula oil benefits it a must-have in your skincare arsenal. Embrace the wonders of Marula oil and unlock the beauty benefits of this natural elixir, revealing your skin’s radiant and youthful potential.



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