Tamanu oil may benefit the skin and hair due to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties. However, more research is required.

Tamanu oil is a nut oil from the seeds of the tamanu tree, Calophyllum inophyllum, which is native to Asia, Africa, and Pacific countries.

People have traditionally used tamanu oil for their hair and to treat various skin conditions.

This article looks at the potential benefits of tamanu oil for skin and hair, the research behind it, its safety, and how to use it.

A person using a pipette to apply tamanu oil to their hands -1.Share on Pinterest
Haus Klaus/Stocksy

Tamanu oil may help the following skin conditions.


Tamanu oil has antimicrobial properties, which may be beneficial in helping to deal with acne.

A 2021 article notes that tamanu oil may inhibit the growth of certain bacteria involved in acne, including Propionibacterium acnes, Propionibacterium granulosum, and Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Tamanu oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce skin inflammation, which occurs with acne.

Scarring and wound healing

According to a 2018 review, tamanu oil may help promote wound healing. The oil may support healing in keratinocytes, cells in the skin’s outer layer, and fibroblast cells, which form part of connective tissue.

Research has found that tamanu oil promotes faster wound healing in cells than vitamin C treatment.

Tamanu oil has also been shown to increase collagen production, which may help with wound or scar healing.

Skin infections

Tamanu oil has antifungal properties and may have stronger antifungal effects than fluconazole, a prescription antifungal drug.

Tamanu oil may help inhibit certain bacteria involved in skin infections, such as erythrasma, including:

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Bacillus cereus
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis
  • Staphylococcus haemolyticus
  • Corynebacterium minutissimum


According to a 2021 article, evidence suggests tamanu oil may be a beneficial treatment for eczema. This may be due to several properties of the oil, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory: Tamanu oil may inhibit the inflammatory process, although no specific evidence exists of its effects on eczema-related inflammation.
  • Antimicrobial: Tamanu oil has antimicrobial properties and may help to protect skin barrier function, which eczema impairs.
  • Wound healing: Eczema may impair wound healing. Tamanu oil may help support and speed up the wound healing process and improve the skin barrier.
  • Antioxidant: Oxidative stress, which causes inflammation, may contribute to eczema. Tamanu oil has antioxidant properties, which may help to treat eczema symptoms.

Researchers require further evidence to understand the full effects of tamanu oil on eczema and if it could be a potential medical treatment.

Traditional uses of tamanu oil include hair care and scalp care.

Anecdotal reports suggest it may promote hair growth and help make hair stronger and longer. It can also help to reduce scalp irritation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is little scientific evidence to support this.

Those considering using tamanu oil for a skin condition may benefit from carrying out a patch test first. This includes using the oil on a small area of skin, such as on the arm, twice a day for 7 to 10 days. If no irritation occurs, it may be safe to continue using the product.

People should avoid applying tamanu to open wounds or onto broken skin.

If desired, a person can dilute tamanu oil with another carrier oil, such as jojoba or sweet almond oil, before applying it to the skin.

Traditional use of tamanu oil includes massaging the oil into the scalp and hair. A person can try applying a few drops of tamanu oil to the ends of the hair or massaging the oil into the scalp and combing it through the hair.

How long before a person might see the benefits of tamanu oil?

The benefits of tamanu oil may depend on the type of condition people are trying to treat or the results they want to achieve.

There is little evidence of the direct effects of tamanu oil on specific skin conditions or for hair care, or how long any benefits may take to show.

Tamanu oil comes from the nut of the tamanu tree, so people with a tree nut allergy may need to avoid using tamanu oil or any products containing it.

Tamanu oil may cause skin irritation, such as contact dermatitis. This is an allergic reaction that can occur with skin care ingredients and can cause itchy, inflamed, and swollen skin.

Tamanu oil is a nut oil that people have traditionally used to treat a range of skin conditions and for hair and scalp care.

The potential benefits of tamanu oil may be due to its various properties, including anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and wound-healing properties.

Researchers still require further evidence to know the exact effects of tamanu oil and how best to use it for skin or hair conditions.