Argan oil is a plant based oil made from kernels of argan tree that is native to Morocco. The kernels are ground and pressed to express pure, unfiltered argan oil, followed by decanting and filtering to yield a clearer oil. It is used in culinary as well as cosmetic and hair preparations. It is widely sold as a pure oil which can be directly put into use on the skin or consumed. It is a part of a variety of cosmetic products like shampoos, soaps and conditioners. Cold-pressing is the preferred method of oil extractions as the heat and chemical-free process preserves and retains the beneficial lipids and limits irritating by products.
Skin is the largest organ of the body. It needs the right balance of nutrients to carry out its essential function of acting as a barrier that protects the rest of the body from the environment. It is important to feed the skin well from the inside to help keep it looking, working and feeling good. Vitamins are essential for the optimum functioning of body and some of the important functions of vitamins involve good skin health. Vitamin deficiencies can cause adverse effects on the skin and hamper skin function. Antioxidant-rich foods, well-balanced diet and a low stress environment are vital in having good skin health
Argan oil has been traditionally used for topical application as well as orally to improve the health of skin, hair and nails. It contains a number of several beneficial properties and nutrients that form a powerful combination to improve skin health. Argan oil falls in the middle of the spectrum amongst oils – it is neither too heavy, nor too light, making it perfect to use on for all skin types. It has a unique luxurious feel to it because of its golden tinge, nutty aroma and a pleasantly light texture. It is often referred to as the ‘liquid gold’. It is packed with omega fatty acids, Vitamin E and linoleic acids, which work to lightly moisturize the skin, soften dry patches and reduce acne. Oleic acid can help other active ingredients better absorb and penetrate the skin, while linoleic acid can help increase skin moisture through ceramide synthesis. It is essentially protective and nourishing superfood for the skin.
Benefits of argan oil for skin include :
- Protection from sun damage : A study was carried out in Morocco on the use of argan oil for protection against sun. The study showed that the antioxidant activity in argan oil helped in protecting the skin from free radical damage caused by the sun. This prevented sun burn and hyperpigmentation due to UV exposure. In the long run, this could help in preventing the onset of certain types of skin cancers. Argan oil contains tocopherols – Vitamin E compounds, more than that in olive oil, that can inhibit or reduce the production of excess pigments from scars
- Moisturizes skin : It is one of the most commonly used moisturizer. It is one of the component of many body lotions, soaps and hair conditioners. It can be used as a topical application or taken orally with daily supplements for a moisturizing effect. Argan oil contains a lot of Vitamin E, which helps to maintain cell structure and improve water retention in the skin, thus sealing in the hydration inside the skin
- Treats many skin conditions : Argan oil contains many components that have healing properties including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This helps to alleviate symptoms of inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis – autoimmune condition that causes thick, scaly and red patches on the skin. and rosacea. For best results, pure argan oil can be directly applied to affected areas by psoriasis
- Helps in treating acne : Acne is the result of excess sebum production caused by hormonal imbalance. Adding more oil is probably not what people would resort to, while battling oily and acne-prone skin. But argan oil has been known to have anti-sebum effects, which can help in regulating sebum production and release on the skin. Not only does Vitamin E in argan oil act as a major anti-inflammatory agent for reactive skin, but it also helps in controlling the skin’s oil production by balancing the sebum levels. This is useful in treating several different types of acne and promotes smoother complexion with fewer breakouts
- Treats skin infections : Argan oil has both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Because of this, it can be safely used to treat and prevent bacterial and fungal skin infections
- Aids in wound healing : The perfect combination of antioxidants and Vitamin E found in argan oil can be very useful in wound healing. Argan oil supplements can be taken regularly for this benefit throughout the body
- Soothes atopic dermatitis : Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition that presents with itchy and red skin. Studies have shown that applying argan oil on the affected area can help relieve the symptoms. Vitamin E and the oil’s innate anti-inflammatory properties can cause this soothing effect on atopic dermatitis
- Anti-aging effects : Argan oil has been used as a natural anti-aging agent since many years. Research claims that a combination of oral and cosmetic argan oil leads to significant increase in skin elasticity and thus induce its anti-aging effect, especially in post-menopausal women
- Reduces skin’s oiliness : Some people are born with an oiler skin than others. Unlike coconut oil and olive oil, argan oil is on the lower end of comedogenic scale. Argan oil has sebum reducing ability, which can help in decreasing the skin’s total sebum production and reduce oiliness of the skin
- Prevents and reduces stretch marks : Stretch marks are common during pregnancy, weight loss and old age. Argan oil containing creams can improve skin elasticity and this helped in preventing and treating stretch marks from the beginning
- Easy to use : Because argan oil is relatively light bodied, it sinks in and is absorbs rather quickly than other oils. This will cause the skin with a subtle glowy appearance than a oil slick.
Ways to use Argan oil for the face :
- Moisturizer : Few drops of argan oil can be directly applied over the face, just like any other commercial moisturizer
- Hydrating toner : Drops of argan oil on a cotton pad can be mixed with the toner for cleansing the skin
- Serum : Adding drops of argan oil to the serum and let it soak in before the other skincare routine
When picking up argan oil for skin, it is recommended to reach out for the 100% pure, cold-pressed argan oil. To avail is maximum benefits, is best to be as pure as any other added ingredients in it make it less effective. It is expensive because of the method of its extraction and scare availability of the fruit. One can make it if the oil is pure, if it is amber coloured, gets applied smoothly and absorbed into the skin easily. It may be best to start with a very small quantity to ensure no adverse effects.
Argan oil is generally considered as safe without any adverse side effects. However, some people with tree nut allergies can irritate the skin and cause rash to form on the skin. To avoid this, patch test is recommended in which it should be tested on a small, easily hidden patch of the skin to make sure it does not irritate the skin.
When consumed orally, argan oil can cause gastrointestinal disturbances including nausea, flatulence or diarrhea. It may occasionally cause loss of appetite or bloating.
Overall, argan oil is safe for most people to use either topically or for oral consumption. It has many powerful skin benefits due to its healing properties and abundant nutrients which make it a very diverse oil to be used. It can be a part of one’s routine skin care product.