Argan oil is often marketed as a restorative or ‘deep conditioning’ hair oil – but rich in natural antioxidants, fatty acids, and polyphenols, argan oil is used in cooking, supplementation, and skincare.
Argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the argan tree, grown in Morocco.
Many people may be surprised to know that argan oil is often consumed as a culinary oil, similar in flavor profile to pumpkin seed oil. Argan oil is considered “heart-healthy,” as a polyunsaturated fat with many ascribed benefits reminiscent of olive oil, as it has a lower PUFA content than more inflammatory oils like canola, soybean, and corn.
Primarily, most people are probably familiar with argan as a hair care oil – but skincare has increasingly utilized the natural benefits of argan oil in countless productions, which has led to Morocco boosting the production of the oil for export.
Argan Oil as A Secret Skincare Weapon
Some dermatologists will opt to recommend argan over other skin oils as they boast a higher omega-3 fatty acid content, which may help increase collagen production, in addition to the high antioxidant and phenol content naturally present in the oil. Argan may be a more nurturing choice for the skin when compared to oils like grapeseed, apricot, coconut, or almond. Studies show an increase in skin elasticity and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles after a period of prolonged topical use. The benefits were further enhanced by including the consumption of argan oil in addition to topical application.
Along with containing omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, argan oil is also high in vitamin E content, vitamin A content, and plant sterols.
Oleic acid, the primary fatty acid in argan oil, is the same fatty acid that gives olive oil many of the “heart healthy” benefits it is renowned for. CoQ10 and melatonin are naturally present in small quantities which play a role in the overall capacity of argan to nourish and heal.
Ways to Easily Use Argan Oil for Better Skin and Hair
Scars and Acne: As a skincare oil, argan is non-comedogenic like jojoba and sea buckthorn, which means it won’t clog your pores while still providing your skin with naturally derived moisture. This can help balance and reduce natural oil production – the high vitamin E content and antioxidants also work to reduce the appearance of scars (or prevent scarring) by promoting new cell growth and collagen production. This can help with acne scars, wound scarring, or hyperpigmentation.
Stronger Hair, Dandruff, and Dry Scalp: Argan oil’s high phenol and omega-3 fatty acid content can help reduce the appearance of split end by strengthening hair follicles and promoting healthy hair growth – use argan oil in conjunction with castor oil as a nourishing deep conditioning treatment applied directly to the scalp, and then rinse in 1-2 hours (or at least 30 minutes). Argan oil is deeply moisturizing and boasts antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it the perfect hair oil to treat dandruff or a dry, flaking scalp.
Anti-Aging Moisturizer and Skin Treatment: Help seal in moisture with the use of argan oil as a nighttime or daytime moisturizer, with the major nourishing boost of tocopherols and fatty acids. Those worried about overproduction of oil can rest easy with argan as the topical application of argan oil was associated with reduced sebum production and a less oily complexion. This is a skincare oil that is anti-inflammatory, which can help soothe irritated skin or those suffering from skin conditions like acne and eczema. That being said, skincare oils are not exactly “moisturizers,” but more like a barrier to help lock in moisture. This means it is always best to apply argan oil (or any skincare oil) over moist or slightly damp skin, or after your moisturizer to lock in the hydrating ingredients.