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  • Writer's pictureCancerPal

Tamanu Oil - nature's remedy for scars

Some cancer treatments require surgery and any type of surgery will leave a scar. A scar is a mark on the skin after a wound or injury has healed. Most scars fade with time and become less obvious, but if you're worried about the appearance of your scars, Tamanu Oil has been recommended to help reduce the appearance of unsightly scarring.


What is Tamanu Oil?

Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil, more commonly known as Tamanu Oil is a fatty nut oil that is extracted from seeds that grow on a tropical evergreen called a tamanu nut tree which is native to Southeast Asia.

Tamanu Oil's extraordinary properties have resulted in it being called 'Green Gold' and Calophyllum Inophyllum actually means 'beautiful leaf' from the Greek 'kalos' meaning 'beautiful' and 'phullon' meaning 'leaf'.

Tamanu oil has been used medicinally for hundreds of years by certain Asian, African, and Pacific Island cultures and it is now gaining recognition for its wide range of benefits, including improving the appearance of scars (and wrinkles - bonus!).

Chemical make-up of Tamanu Oil

Tamanu Oil is a rich, luxurious oil that has a higher fatty acid content than many other oils. In brief, fatty acids helps hydrate the skin and lock in moisture which helps strengthen the skin’s natural barrier. The main fatty acids in Tamanu Oil are:

  • Alpha-linoleic acid

  • Oleic acid

  • Linoleic acid

  • Palmitic acid

  • Arachidonic acid

  • Stearic acid

Linoleic Acides (Omega-6) are known to:

  • Moisturise hair and promote its growth

  • Facilitate wound healing

  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils

  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties

  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks

  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair

  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin

  • Help slow the look of aging by sustaining skin elasticity and softness

Oleic Acids (Omega-9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair

  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair

  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines

  • Eliminate dandruff and support hair growth

  • Boost immunity

  • Exhibit antioxidant properties

  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

Palmitic Acid is known to:

  • Have emollient properties

  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue

  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid

Stearic Acid is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that eliminate dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin

  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil

  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time

  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy

  • Have exceptional cleansing properties

  • Soften skin

Benefits of Tamanu Oil

Tamanu Oil has been used in the traditional medicinal practices of the Pacific Islands for centuries to soothe and effectively eliminate various skin conditions. It was applied topically to soothe scrapes, cuts, burns and sunburns, blisters, scars, stings and bites, dry skin, psoriasis, acne, eczema, and sores.

Polynesian communities discovered the oil’s effectiveness in encouraging the development of new body tissue and realised that it could also help to diminish the look of skin contusions and discoloration. The women of Polynesia began using Tamanu Oil to promote skin health and clarity.

Then in the early 19th Century a young French nun called Sister Marie-Suzanne had reportedly used Tamanu Oil to great effect in treating some of the awful symptoms of leprosy including severe painful nerve inflammation. Word of the oil spread quickly and in 1918 French researchers began to investigate its effects for potential topical use. The scientists were impressed by its incredible cicatrising effects meaning that it had the ability to regenerate the skin giving it great potential for the treatment of a range of serious skin conditions.

Used topically, Tamanu Oil offers a host of benefits for people struggling with skin conditions. Tamanu Oil facilitates the growth of newer skin and leaves the skin feeling smoother and softer. It soothes, repairs and diminishes redness, scars, stretch marks, irritation, itchiness, dryness, and peeling. It can also prevent blemishes from forming, and it protects against the harsh effects of the elements.

1. Tamanu Oil is a brilliant moisturiser

Because of Tamanu Oil's rich fatty acid content, it is especially beneficial for addressing dry skin.

Many of these essential fatty acids are found naturally in our bodies and have powerful moisturising abilities.

Tamanu oil also has a unique ability to penetrate more deeply than other oils, reaching all three layers of the skin - epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis, making it a highly effective moisturiser which helps to promote the regeneration of healthy skin cells.

2. Tamanu Oil can soothe skin irritation

Tamanu Oil has been scientifically proven to have antibacterial and antifungal effects and is ideal for soothing irritated patches of skin on the feet, hands, extremities and in areas that are prone to bacterial infection, such as the underarms.

Tamanu oil is also a very effective anti-inflammatory oil, helping with skin conditions such as acne, rashes, and other irritations such as insect bites, sores, and eczema.

3. Tamanu Oil can promote wound healing

Studies have shown that Tamanu Oil has wound healing and skin regeneration properties. It's been shown to promote cell proliferation and the production of collagen and glycosaminoglycans, also known as GAGs, the latter are polysaccharides that are essential for creating and maintaining healthy collagen and elastin). More collagen and more GAGs help both with wound healing - it's what makes tamanu oil a good option for healing scars, as well as smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

4. Tamanu Oil offers antioxidant and anti-UV properties

Tamanu Oil is packed full of potent antioxidants which help to protect the skin from damaging (and aging) free radicals caused by exposure to environmental factors such as sun and pollution. Research shows that Tamanu Oil also has the capacity to absorb UV light - 85% of damage induced by UV-radiations was shown to be inhibited with just1% of tamanu oil.

Can Tamanu Oil help reduce the appearance of scars?

Tamanu Oil has been anecdotally and scientifically proven to help reduce the appearance of scarring.

Tamanu oil has been used to successfully treat scars in a hospital setting. Studies have shown that Tamanu Oil has wound-healing and skin regeneration properties which can also help reduce scarring.

Tamanu oil also contains beta-caryophyllene, a component that has been studied for its ability to help heal wounds and reduce scarring.

Tamanu Oil can also help with older scars

Studies have found that Tamanu Oil improves the appearance of aged scars as the oil possesses a unique capacity, known as cicatrisation, to promote the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and the growth of healthy skin healing burns, cuts, cracks and scratches.

A significant improvement in the appearance of scars after six (6) weeks of Tamanu Oil use was observed visually. This improvement continued through to Week 9 of the study. The overall size of the scars consistently decreased throughout the study. The length of scars was reduced by an average of 0.28 cm, and the width by an average of 0.12 cm.

(International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 2002, 24, 1^8 A. C. Dweck and T. Meadowsy)

Tamanu Oil emulsion was also used on hospital patients in studies to treat resistant and postsurgical wounds. Tamanu Oil was shown to improve healing and led to significantly less scarring.

How to use Tamanu Oil

Tamanu Oil can be safely applied to the affected areas of the skin without any adverse effects for most people. Some people have reported sensitivity so please read the precautions section below.

Tamanu Oil should be applied directly to the skin after cleansing. Tamanu Oil is well absorbed into the skin but it can take some time to fully absorb.

At first, you may want to apply Tamanu Oil up to 4 times each day but many people recommend using it twice a day especially as you start to see the results.

Side effects and precautions of Tamanu Oil

Tamanu Oil may cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have sensitive skin or you are concerned about a reaction, do a patch test before applying it everywhere to make sure you don’t have a reaction. Apply a small amount to the inside of your wrist or elbow twice a day for 7 days. If your skin becomes itchy, irritated, red, swollen, or has bumps, don’t use it anywhere else.

If you are allergic to nuts, we do not recommend using Tamanu Oil as it comes from the nuts of the Tamanu Tree.

Although Tamanu Oil has been shown to help with wound healing, we would advise against Tamanu Oil in open wounds without seeking advice from your medical team.

Where to buy Tamanu Oil

Wen buying Tamanu Oil, make sure that you are buying the best quality product that you can find. Many companies selling ‘pure’ Tamanu Oil dilute it with olive oil or some other type of oil.

CancerPal sells 100% pure Tamanu Oil from MooGoo which is a reputable company whose ingredient policy we trust. If you haven't head of MooGoo they are a fabulous brand and their ingredient philosophy is 'to make effective products using healthy ingredients, that we are comfortable using on ourselves and our loved ones'.


CancerPal stocks Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil (100%) from MooGoo, as well as a range of other products that can help with the appearance of scarring in the Scar section of our product MarketPlace.


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