What is Argan Oil?
Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L.) that is endemic to Morocco. In Morocco, argan oil is used to dip bread in at breakfast or to drizzle on couscous or pasta. It is also used for cosmetic purposes.One of the main reasons that argan oil is so therapeutic is because it’s rich with vitamin A and vitamin E. However, Moroccan argan oil is also packed with antioxidants, omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid. Research shows that when applied to skin, argan oil benefits include easing inflammation while moisturizing the skin.
Benefits of Argan Oil
Here are 10 ways that you can incorporate this all-natural oil into your daily beauty regimen.
1. Night Time Moisturizer
Argan oil absorbs quickly and does not leave an oily residue. After cleansing your skin with an all-natural cleanser, pour a single drop into your palm to warm. Apply in a circular motion to your face and neck.
In the winter months, or in dryer climates, you may need a second drop but remember to use sparingly. This oil is gentle and safe to use around your eyes.
Apply one drop to your face, using a tapping motion, from the bridge of your nose to your temple and back again. Then apply a drop beneath your eyes with the same gentle tapping. The vitamin A and vitamin E can help to reduce fine wrinkles and keep this delicate area moisturized. Plus, a 2015 study shows argan oil benefits also include anti-aging effects.
2. Skin Toner
Skin toning is an important step in your skin care routine. For an all-over glow, add 2–4 drops to 8 ounces of your favorite toner, or better yet, make your own chemical-free, all-natural toner at home.
Simply pour 1 cup of boiling water over a green tea bag and let steep for 7–10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and allow to come to room temperature. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil (orange, lemon or tea tree are great) and 2–4 drops of argan oil and seal in a jar. Use morning and night after cleansing and before moisturizing.
3. Has Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The various phenolic compounds in argan oil are likely responsible for most of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capacities. Argan oil is rich in vitamin E, or tocopherol, a fat-soluble vitamin that serves as a potent antioxidant to reduce the damaging effects of free radicals.Other compounds present in argan oil, such as CoQ10, melatonin and plant sterols, also play a role in its antioxidant capacity.A recent study revealed a significant reduction in inflammatory markers in mice fed argan oil prior to exposure to a highly inflammatory liver toxin, compared to the control group.
Additionally, some research indicates that argan oil can also be applied directly to your skin to reduce inflammation caused by injuries or infections.Although these results are encouraging, more research is needed to understand how argan oil can be used medicinally in humans to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
4. May Have Anticancer Effects
Argan oil may slow the growth and reproduction of certain cancer cells.One test-tube study applied polyphenolic compounds from argan oil to prostate cancer cells. The extract inhibited cancer cell growth by 50% compared to the control group.
In another test-tube study, a pharmaceutical-grade mixture of argan oil and vitamin E increased the rate of cell death on breast and colon cancer cell samples.Although this preliminary research is intriguing, more research is needed to determine whether argan oil could be used to treat cancer in humans.
Do-it-yourself exfoliators are not difficult to make and are significantly less expensive than what you can purchase in the store.To experience the argan oil benefits while exfoliating, just mix 1 tablespoon of brown sugar with a couple of drops of argan oil in your hand. Rub into your face in a circular motion for two to four minutes; pay special attention to acne-prone areas and areas that are dry. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while giving you a younger, fresher complexion. With the aid of the brown sugar, the argan oil’s nutrients are more readily absorbed into your skin.
Use this exfoliator for more than just your face. If you have dry elbows or heels (or during an at-home pedicure), mix up a bit more to massage the dry and dead skin away.
6. May Promote Wound Healing
Argan oil may accelerate the wound healing process.One animal study revealed a significant increase in wound healing in rats given argan oil on their second-degree burns twice daily for 14 days.Although this data doesn’t prove anything with certainty, it does indicate a possible role for argan oil in wound healing and tissue repair.
7. May Moisturize Skin and Hair
The oleic and linoleic acids that make up the majority of argan oil’s fat content are vital nutrients for maintaining healthy skin and hair.Argan oil is often directly administered to skin and hair but may also be effective when ingested.
In one study, both oral and topical applications of argan oil improved the moisture content of the skin in postmenopausal women.Although there isn’t any research on the specific use of argan oil for hair health, some studies indicate that other plant oils with a comparable nutritional profile may reduce split ends and other types of hair damage.
8. Often Used to Treat and Prevent Stretch Marks
Argan oil is frequently used to prevent and reduce stretch marks, although no research has been conducted to prove its efficacy.In fact, there is no strong evidence that any kind of topical treatment is an effective tool for stretch mark reduction.However, research does indicate that argan oil may help reduce inflammation and improve the elasticity of skin — which could be why so many people report success in using it for stretch marks.
9. For Cooking
If you’re interested in using argan oil with food, look for varieties specifically marketed for cooking, or make sure you’re buying 100% pure argan oil.Argan oil marketed for cosmetic purposes may be mixed with other ingredients that you shouldn’t ingest.Traditionally, argan oil is used for dipping bread or drizzling on couscous or vegetables. It can also be lightly heated, but it is not appropriate for high-heat dishes as it can easily burn.
10. For Hair
You can apply argan oil directly to damp or dry hair to improve moisture, reduce breakage, or reduce frizz.It is also sometimes included in shampoos or conditioners.If it’s your first time using it, start with a small amount to see how your hair responds. If you have naturally oily roots, apply argan only to the ends of your hair to avoid greasy-looking hair.