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Avocado oil and dry skin: what are its effects?

Characterised by a lack of suppleness and elasticity, dry skin is often prone to irritation and feelings of discomfort. To care for it, it is appropriate to apply nourishing and moisturising treatments. Is avocado vegetable oil among the recommended treatments?

Published February 12, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 6 min read

Dry Skin: How to Identify it?

A dry skin lacks hydration and nourishment, which is why it is particularly prone to irritations. This type of skin is also recognised by its roughness, dull appearance, lack of suppleness, tendency to flake, as well as the presence of tightness. In extreme cases, redness, cracks and fissures can appear. From a biological point of view, skin dryness is characterised by three factors:

  • An alteration in cellular cohesion : the synthesis of ceramides, lipids in the corneal layer that act as intercellular cement, is reduced in dry skin, which impacts the barrier function of the epidermis.

  • A deficiency in natural moisturising factors (NMF) : Natural Moisturising Factors (NMF) are a collection of hygroscopic substances (amino acids, carbohydrates, minerals...) located within the corneocytes of the epidermis. They retain water in the stratum corneum to ensure the hydration of the epidermis.

  • A deficiency in the production of fatty substances : the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands is insufficient in people with dry skin. This leads to a disruption of the hydrolipidic film. This is normally located on the surface of the epidermis and contributes to the maintenance of its hydration, as well as its protection against external aggressions such as wind, cold or pollution.

The benefits of avocado oil on dry skin.

Avocado oil is highly valued by those with dry skin, as it contains numerous active ingredients beneficial for this skin type.

  • Avocado oil stimulates the synthesis of ceramides.

    Avocado oil contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as linoleic acid. Belonging to the omega-6 family, this indirectly contributes to the formation of the skin barrier by triggering a cascade of biochemical reactions that ultimately lead to the stimulation of cellular renewal.

    It also plays a role in the process of ceramide synthesis in the stratum corneum. Indeed, ceramides result from an amidation reaction between a sphingoid base and a fatty acid. Those carrying a linoleic acid are referred to as acylceramides. Avocado oil thus helps to nourish the skin and strengthen its impermeable barrier, which also limits its dehydration, a major concern when one has dry skin.

  • Avocado oil restores the hydrolipidic film.

    As previously mentioned, the hydrolipidic film of dry skin is weakened, or even missing. Several active ingredients typically make up its composition, among which are mono-unsaturated fatty acids, such as oleic acid (omega-9) and palmitoleic acid (omega-7). However, avocado vegetable oil is rich in these compounds. Its topical application thus has beneficial properties for skin protection, as it allows to strengthen the hydrolipidic film.

    A study on humans has indeed demonstrated that avocado vegetable oil has a occlusive effect on the skin. In fact, the insensible water loss (IWL) was measured before and 30 minutes after the application of this botanical extract, and researchers observed a significant decrease in this IWL. This means that avocado vegetable oil has helped to protect the skin from dehydration.

  • Avocado oil is soothing.

    Often prone to irritation and itching, dry skin requires soothing care. Within avocado oil, we find sitosterols and campesterols, molecules belonging to the phytosterol family. These compounds have a anti-inflammatory activity and regulate certain inflammation processes. The application of avocado oil on the redness of dry skin is thus recommended and will have a soothing effect.

Avocado Oil: How to use it?

Avocado oil can be applied morning and evening to your face, avoiding the eyes, and to the areas of your body most prone to dryness, such as the hands, feet, elbows and knees. It can be used either undiluted or diluted.

  • Pure : Extract a few drops of avocado oil and apply them to your skin. Gently massage in a circular motion so that the oil is effectively absorbed. Avocado oil can notably be used as the final step in your routine, replacing your moisturiser. However, it should be noted that avocado oil is very rich and quite oily, which is why it may be preferable to apply it only in the evening. If used in the morning, it could give your skin a shiny and greasy appearance throughout the day.

  • Diluted in a cream : you can also use avocado oil in synergy with your moisturising cream. To do this, take a small amount of cream in the palm of your hand and add one or two drops of avocado oil. You can then apply the treatment by gently massaging it in and enjoy its nourishing benefits.


  • HAUSER M. & al. In vivo investigations on the penetration of various oils and their influence on the skin barrier. Skin Research and Technology (2012).

  • ORTIZ-VIEDMA J. & al. Avocado oil: characteristics, properties, and applications. Molecules (2019).

  • TAKAMORI K. & al. Mechanisms and management of itch in dry skin. Acta Dermatologies-Venereologica (2020).

  • POULIOT R. & al. α-linolenic acid and linoleic acid modulate the lipidome and the skin barrier of a tissue-engineered skin model. Acta Biomaterialia (2022).


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