A carrier oil, almond oil is generally used as a base for incorporating scents or essential oils for massage or aromatherapy. Face and body creams often contain almond oil because it has emollient and moisturizing properties. High in mono and polyunsaturated fats, almond oil contains Vitamins A, B and E. For those who cannot use almond oil, though, alternatives do exist for use in both aromatherapy and cooking.
Why Use An Alternative?
Those with peanut or almond allergies shouldn't use almond oil. In addition, bitter almond oil contains monounsaturated fatty acids and toxic substances, such as amygdalin, benzaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide. Because of hydrogen cyanide's poisonous nature, oil made from bitter almonds should only be used externally.
Alternatives for Aromatherapy
The most preferred oil for aromatherapy, sweet almond oil can be used as a base oil for adding aromatherapy. Valerie Ann Worwood, author of "The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy" also recommends apricot kernel oil, avocado pear oil and grape seed oil among others. Apricot kernel oil---known for its effectiveness in treating extremely dry skin---can be used proportionally to almond oil. Avocado pear oil comes from oil extracted from the avocado pear and is beneficial for all skin types, especially those that are dry and dehydrated. Avocado pear oil should be used as an addition to another base oil. Grape seed oil---like almond oil and apricot kernel oil---is another base oil that can be used at 100%, with no need for additions or dilutions. For all skin types, grape seed oil contains vitamins, minerals and protein.
Alternatives for Cooking
Along with almond oil, olive, canola and safflower oils work well for cooking. While canola oil works best for higher temperatures, olive oil works well in salad dressings and for coating raw ingredients. Olive oil also contains phytochemicals that help reduce the risk of cancer. Rich in polyunsaturated fats and low in saturated fats, safflower oil's bland flavor works well for all-purpose cooking.