Macadamia nut oil may be utilized in cooking as a substitute for vegetable oils or incorporated into beauty products to promote hair and skin health. Since its consistency is similar to that of natural body oils, macadamia nut oil is easily absorbed by the skin and hair. Although the healthful compounds of macadamia nut oil sustain hair health, it is prudent to first consult with your health-care adviser or dermatologist prior to using macadamia nut oil as a topical treatment, because allergic reactions may occur.
Each strand of hair is protected by overlapping layers of cuticle to maintain moisture and prevent hair damage. However, when those cuticle layers are stressed by environmental or biological factors, they separate. The separation of cuticle layers results in brittle hair and breakage. According to Macadamia Natural Oil, a site about hair care, macadamia nut oil helps to prevent against hair breakage by penetrating the scalp and hair follicles to improve hair strength and elasticity.
African American women or women with curly hair may be especially prone to frizz, which is a haphazard mass of frazzled tufts. The appearance of frizz may increase in humid weather or through incorrect application of beauty products. The essential fatty acids and vitamin compounds found in macadamia nut oil help to eliminate frizz by coating the hair shaft with nourishing oils.
PDR Health, a site committed to health education, reports that several factors may contribute to dry hair or skin. Such factors include hot showers, certain beauty treatments, dry living environments or age. The body naturally produces a compound known as palmitoleic acid, which has anti-aging properties, to offset those factors by replenishing lost moisture in the skin and hair. With age, however, the amount of palmitoleic acid produced decreases. Consumption of omega-7, an essential fatty acid that is found in macadamia nut oil, helps to restore palmitoleic acid in the body for skin and hair hydration.
Absorption of Free Radicals
A study published in the January 2010 edition of "Food Chemistry" notes that macadamia nut oil contains antioxidants, such as vitamin E and squalene, which protect the skin, hair and cellular structures from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals not only damage the body on a cellular level, but they may also alter DNA. Antioxidants serve to neutralize the free radicals to prevent certain types of cancers, such as prostate, cervical, lung or breast cancer, slow signs of aging and promote overall health.