Almonds contain approximately 54% oil, of which 78% is mono-unsaturated oleic acid, an omega-9 fat, and 17% is omega-6 polyunsaturated essential fatty acid. Super-unsaturated omega-3 fats are negligible in almonds. The oil is good for application to the skin as an emollient, because it is more stable (does not become rancid) than those oils that have a higher content of essential fatty acids, and because it has a pleasant aroma. It is a mild, lightweight oil that can be used as a substitute for olive oil.
"Oleum Amygdalae", the fixed oil, is prepared from either variety of almond and is a glyceryl oleate, with a slight odour and a nutty taste. It is almost insoluble in alcohol but readily soluble in chloroform or ether. Sweet almond oil is obtained from the dried kernel of sweet almonds. This oil has been traditionally used by massage therapists to lubricate the skin during a massage session.
Almond oil is also used as a wood conditioner of certain woodwind instruments such as the oboe and clarinet.
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