What Is Karanja Oil And How Can Your Beauty Routine Benefit From It?

There are a plethora of skin and hair care ingredients that you may know and love, from vitamin C to retinoids. However, there is also a world of products that may be lesser known yet can have incredible benefits for your skin and hair. Turns out, an up-and-coming beauty star called karanja oil is just one such ingredient.

Karanja is a traditional oil derived from a tree of the same name, sometimes referred to as a pognam or Indian beech (via Feedipedia). Many people point to karanja's use in Ayurvedic practices as evidence of its benefits. WebMD explains that Ayurvedic medicine takes a holistic approach to wellness, based on a belief in the balance of mind, body, and soul for overall health. A staple in Ayurvedic medicine because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, karanja has a history of use for indigestion, appetite loss, leprosy, ulcers, bone health, and more (via Netmeds). As beauty enthusiasts will be keen to note, it's also revered for its benefits to skin and hair. So how can karanja support your beauty routine, and how should you incorporate it?

Benefits of karanja oil

In Ancient India, karanja oil was often used to treat skin irritation because of its calming effects. But it seems like this may just be the tip of the iceberg. "Using it on the skin can provide a wide range of benefits, including natural protection, added suppleness, as well as moisture and firmness," cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Jason Emer, M.D., tells Popsugar. Additionally, karanja oil is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and offers antioxidant UV protection. Dr. Emer says, "As the antioxidants absorb the ultraviolet rays, karanja oil increases photo protection while decreasing damage to skin."

The antioxidants and essential compounds in karanja oil can help boost hair health as well. Dermatologist Michele Green, M.D., tells Byrdie that karanja can help with scalp irritation and dandruff. Its astringent and antifungal properties may support your scalp's natural barrier, keeping it soothed and protected. And as Netmeds points out, this can offer defense against nasty scalp infections. 

How to use karanja oil

As board-certified dermatologist Dr. Geeta Yadav, M.D., explains to Byrdie, using pure karanja oil can be a bit too heavy for those with fine hair or oily skin. You may also run the risk of experiencing an allergic reaction or skin irritation by using it directly in oil form. Therefore, Dr. Yadav recommends using products that are formulated with karanja oil instead. For example, the cult-favorite custom hair products from Prose sometimes use karanja in conditioners, leave-in conditioners, and curl creams.

Using products that already contain karanja makes it easy to apply on the skin and hair daily or as needed. If you prefer a DIY approach, you can also try mixing karanja with other ingredients such as neem oil, coconut oil, or hibiscus extract (via The Health Site). While modern advancements have a lot to offer for skin and hair, so do traditional botanicals. So don't overlook the potential of karanja as your next favorite beauty hack!