May 2


Camellia Seed Oil

The flowering shrub Camellia belongs to the Theaceae botanical family that also produces green and black teas, which is why skincare formulators prize camellia seed oil; we'll get to this shortly.

Originally native to China and Japan, the beauty of Camellias and its relationship to tea represent over 220 species; with many more varieties and a crazy number of flower forms, the plants now grow globally.

So, while the tea of Camellia sinensis gives its leaves for cups of tea, the seeds of C. sinensis and other varieties provide us with oil. Oil for our skin, and why it is prized for the skin, has similar properties that make tea a stimulating drink. Tannins in leaves and seeds make an oil that can stimulate circulation in the skin.

Tannins are astringent compounds that affect the body's tissues through constriction, tightening, and toning. They calm overly active oils from the sebaceous glands and reduce oil production. The oil feels dry, not oily, on the skin and absorbs well.

Camellia seed oils have little color or scent, so they are ideal carrier oils for aromatherapists to use with essential oils. The monounsaturated fatty acids in the oil ensure a good shelf life and protective qualities for the skin.

In addition to its astringent properties, camellia seed oil generously offers vitamin E alpha-tocopherol, increasing the antioxidant properties of the oil that protect the skin's tissues from environmental harm.

Plant sterols aid in calming redness in the skin, a sign of inflammation, as do phenolic acids in the oils, Ellagic acid, Gallic acid, Ellagitannins, and Catechins. These are a complex mix of compounds that have antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory actions.

Camellia seed oil has many skincare benefits, and the plant's storied history adds to the richness of including the oil in formulations to protect and care for the skin.

Have you worked with camellia seed oil? Leave a question or a comment below.


antioxidants, astringent, camellia, tannins

About the author 

Susan Parker

I'm Susan M Parker, author, teacher and researcher. My life is steeped in the lipid oils, carrier oils, plant butters. Since publishing my book Power of the Seed in 2014 I have been teaching and sharing my work with the botanical and lipid oils with students from around the world.

    • Hi Susana, No, two very different plants.The tee tree essential oil’s botanical name is Melaleuca alternifolia, of the Myrtle family and native to Australia. The Camellia plant is the Theaceae botanical family that is the source of the green and black teas. These originated in China and Japan and are not aromatic plants where as tee tree is highly aromatic.

  • I love camellia seed oil and use it all the time in my facial care products. Your book, The Power of the Seed, was a game changer for me as an herbalist. I had never thought of carrier oils contributing nutrition and goodness in and of themselves. I was able to do a deep dive and find highly nutritious oils that had long shelf lives, were great for infusing herbs, and have a superb skin feel. Everyone making skincare products needs to buy this book!

    • Wendy thanks for the call out for the book. I’m so glad it helped you as an herbalist, as that was my path to the carriers too.

  • I will be using camellia seed oil soon with rosehip oil for my case study on mosquito bite scars. Hoping for a good outcome.

  • It’s very amazing! I’ve never heard about this oil! Great. Thank you for information. But where can I get this oil?

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