What is Argan Oil?
Argan oil is very popular oil, used for a wide range of skincare and hair care products. As it can only be produced from the Argan tree, located solely in Morocco, it is not very easy to come by. Due to its rarity and the fact that it can be so beneficial to the skin and hair, Argan oil is a popular choice for all sorts of anti-aging products to keep skin and hair looking youthful and healthy.
Argan oil is as effective as it is thanks to containing both oleic and linoleic essential fatty acids. These are known as omega-9 and omega-6 fatty acids respectively and both are known to aid acne-prone skin. Studies have found that acne-prone skin tends to lack omega-6 fatty acids in the sebum. By applying it to the skin to be absorbed, the skin should clear up.
Depending upon where it has been sourced from, Argan oil is known to contain between 35 and 40 percent linoleic acid with another 42 to 48 percent being oleic acid. Linoleic acid aids in a reduction of acne and inflammation while also increasing skin moisture. Oleic acid, on the other hand, works by improving the permeability of the skin to allow other ingredients to soak into the skin easier.
This oil, produced with kernels from the Argan tree, might be exclusive to Morocco, but historically, it has been used far beyond that. Around the world, people have turned to Argan oil's benefits for skin infections, rashes, and bug bites. Today, it's commonly used by both men and women to moisturize the skin and hair. These effects come from its content of vitamins and minerals. Argan oil is known to contain:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin E
- Omega-6 fatty acids
- Omega-9 fatty acids
Research shows that application to the skin allows Argan oil to ease levels of inflammation while simultaneously moisturizing. This is because the tocopherol present in vitamin E aids in improving cell production, which in turn encourages healthy skin and hair growth that inspires so many cosmetic producers to include it in their high-end products.
Traditionally, this oil has been used heavily by the Moroccan Berber tribe for both medicinal and healing properties. They used it as skin protection against the harsh and dry desert climate thanks to its hydrating and protecting properties. As time passed, it also became commonly used in food as well as on the body. Today, you will commonly see Argan oil in all sorts of different treatments and cosmetic products for the skin, the hair, and the lips. It is commonly used in shampoos, conditioners, or even on its own.
How is Argan Oil Produced?
Argan oil comes from the kernels inside the nuts grown on Argan trees. These trees are found almost exclusively in southwestern Morocco, acting as a sort of natural wall to prevent the desert from continuing to advance. The roots allow these trees to protect against soil erosion that would allow for the spread of desert while also working to protect water resources. These trees are known to be valuable to the environment, and the Moroccan Argan forest has even been deemed a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco in order to protect it.
To produce the oil, the fruit of the Argan tree must first be harvested. Inside the fruit is a nut, and inside the nut, a kernel. These kernels are harvested by removing the outer flesh and cracking the shells. Those kernels must then be cold-pressed, as heat will alter the nutrient content and can change how it works. To cold-press, the kernels are ground with low heat to create a paste. That paste is then further pressed to create the oil.
It takes roughly 30kg of Argan fruit to yield 2-2.5kg of kernels. Those kernels can then produce just 1 litre of oil. The process to do so is also time-consuming, taking 1-2 days when manually extracted. Thanks to both the scarcity and the effort necessary to process it, Argan oil is considered expensive, even nicknamed "liquid gold" thanks to this.
All oils vary in weight and absorption rate, which is why you can't simply sub out different oils for each other in skincare products. Argan oil is known to have small molecules, allowing it to absorb rapidly into the skin and hair. It is mid-weight, making it neither too heavy nor too light to be effective in products.
Argan Oil as a Moisturizer
Argan oil is primarily used as a skin moisturizer, playing an important role in many soaps, lotions, and hair conditioners thanks to its high vitamin E content. Vitamin E is a very important fat-soluble antioxidant that aids in water retention for the skin, allowing it to feel nice and hydrated. Plus, linoleic acid aids in reducing inflammation, soothing skin, and improving moisture levels.
Argan oil may reduce fine lines and wrinkles
Beyond just protecting against sun damage, the omega fatty acids found in Argan oil aid in strengthening the tissues in the skin, allowing for wrinkle prevention. Women who have applied Argan oil to their skin while also consuming it orally have been found to improve their skin's hydration, which also aids in reducing ageing signs.
Using Argan oil for wrinkles or fine lines works thanks to the phytosterols and antioxidants it possesses. The antioxidants work to reduce damage caused by free radicals that naturally occur with your metabolism. Highly unstable, oxidants and free radicals increase signs of aging, including wrinkles, lines, and skin sagging.
The phytosterols present in Argan oil work by inhibiting the rate of collagen degradation that is caused by sun exposure and damage. New research suggests that phytosterols may also trigger your skin to produce more collagen, a protein that maintains firmness and youthful appearances in the skin. Because collagen decreases over time, it's essential you use products that help replenish these levels.
Will Argan Oil Clog Your Pores?
You may wonder if Argan oil is likely to clog your pores. After all, it's so easy to do so! Technically just about anything could clog your pores, especially if you have natural sensitivities. However, unlike many other oils, Argan oil is not comedogenic--meaning it isn't pore-clogging-- allowing you to rest assured that your pores will be spared. In fact, Argan oil also acts as a regulator for oil production to help prevent your skin from producing pore-clogging oil and reducing acne. Plus, the vitamin E and antioxidants also encourage healthy hair growth while taming frizz.
If you've dealt with oily, acne-prone skin, you might balk at the idea of adding more oil. However, according to a small study, regular topical application of Argan oil, defined as two times per day, for four weeks, was associated with a reduction in natural oils and a less shiny look to the skin, implying that it potentially reduces clogged pores and acne.
Argan Oil as a Skin Protector
Moroccan natives regularly used Argan oil for skin protection. Thanks to the antioxidants present in Argan oil, it can aid in protecting from sun-caused free radical damage. By preventing burns and hyperpigmentation in this manner, Argan oil may also aid in the prevention of skin cancers. You can choose to take Argan oil as an oral supplement or apply it directly to your skin to get these benefits.
Argan oil as a lip moisturizer
Thanks to its high levels of vitamins A and E, Argan oil has been used regularly as a natural moisturizer and conditioner for your lips. Whenever you struggle with flaky or chapped lips, using Argan oil can aid in the restoration of moisture and hydration to create soft, healthy lips. Using it overnight allows you to absorb all of the benefits without worrying about reapplication as you eat. It is a fantastic lip treatment.
It protects from sun damage
It’s important to protect our skin from the UV rays of the sun. Argan oil is enriched with vitamin E and acts as a protective blanket over your skin, which protects those UV rays from harming your skin. When you’re out in the sun, you hydrate your body with water right? So why wouldn’t you take time to hydrate your skin? It’s equally as important and will stop your skin from damaging. Don’t let the excitement of going out in the sun all day and having fun let your daily skin care routine slip. Take care of your skin and then have even more fun without having those inner doubts and fear of damaging your skin.
What is the Best Argan Oil?
As with using any products, you want to ensure that you have the best you can afford and Argan oil is no exception. When selecting Argan oil, you need to be careful to choose high-quality products. This is especially true because processing and refining oil may alter the quality it has. You should always choose cold-pressed oils. This extraction method is the best for oils as heat and chemicals used in other extraction methods can be harmful. This process aids in preserving beneficial lipids while also reducing any irritants.
How to Find the Best Argan Oil
Because Argan oil's quality can vary based upon the market and where you choose to buy it, you need to be wary as you select your own. Some may be cold-pressed while others are exposed to treatments or conditions that reduce the effectiveness of it. If you are purchasing pure Argan oil, you should always check out a few key elements to ensure that you're choosing an oil that is truly 100% pure.
- The label or ingredients should state "100% Argan Oil" or "100% Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil"
- The oil should smell mild and nutty, and the smell should disappear when applied to and absorbed by the skin
- The texture of the oil should be silky and smooth
In order to maximize the shelf life of your Argan oil so you can prevent contamination or spoiling, it is recommended you store your oil somewhere cool and dark with the lid closed tightly.