Argan Oil originated on Morocco’s Haha Coast and is derived from the fruit of the native Argan tree. It has been used for at least 3,000 years and played an integral part in the lives of the Berber people. The wood is used as fuel, the fruit as animal feed and the oil from the kernel is used as a healing skin treatment and a beauty aid.
It is also one of the main ingredients in locally blended amlou, a nut butter blended together with Argan oil, honey, and almonds, all of which grow locally. Due to its deep, penetrating nature of the skin, the primary use of Argan Oil was to protect the skin from the ultra-dry climate of its native land.
One of the primary causes of aging skin is the loss of elastin and collagen. One study of nightly use of Argan Oil found that its use as part of a nightly skin routine significantly increased overall skin elasticity. Rich in antioxidants and vitamin E, it has the ability to increase skin elasticity whilst replenishing with collagen by encouraging remodelling of the skin’s dermal layer.
Another cause of aging is the epidermal loss of water, which increases with age. Argan Oil is composed of unsaturated fatty acids which helps to reinforce the skin barrier, locking in water and keeping the skin supple with an increased water content.
It also helps to prevent wrinkles due to the high vitamin E content – the tocopherols and fatty acids present in the oil help to protect the skin from oxidative stress, environmental pollutants and UV radiation. This improves overall skin elasticity and reinforces the skin’s cellular structure, helping to prevent wrinkles and giving skin a fuller, brighter appearance.
The high linolenic acid content of Argan Oil helps to fortify and strengthen the skin barrier which in turn keeps out irritants and acne causing bacteria. It also encourages healthy skin cell turnover which prevents clogged pores and hair follicles.
It is also rich in oleic acid which promotes healthy sebum production, meaning Argan Oil can help dry skin produce more natural oils. In oily skin it decreases the overproduction of sebum and doesn’t clog the pores. It has a “comedogenic” rating of zero – oils with a higher comedogenic rating can clog pores and trigger acne outbreaks.
Lastly, Argan Oil soothes and relieves inflammation, reducing the swelling and pain of acne affected skin. Its natural antioxidant content helps to heal and repair acne scars, restoring the skin to its original look.
All of the above properties in Argan Oil make it a highly effective oil to diminish stretch marks. Its multi-faceted approach means it can reduce stretch marks by encouraging healthy skin growth, improving skin elasticity and keeping the skin hydrated.
Argan Oil serves as a wonderful hair conditioner or oil treatment, leaving hair soft, shiny and manageable. Its molecules are smaller than other oils, making it easier to penetrate the hair cuticles and sealing the moisture deep within. It is best applied to clean wet hair and left for at least 20 minutes – wearing a shower cap during this time will further help to lock in the moisture.
A few drops can also be applied to wet hair before styling to boost shine and reduce frizziness. Because Argan Oil is so easily absorbed into the hair, it doesn’t leave a greasy residue like heavier oils such as coconut or olive.
The fatty acids in Argan Oil, together with its high vitamin E content help to protect the hair and scalp from heat damage. Again, just a couple of drops applied before blow drying, straightening or curling will protect and nourish the hair from the damaging effects of the heat.
Dandruff / Itchy Scalp
The anti-inflammatory action of Argan Oil coupled with its comedogenic action allows it to gently nourish the scalp without clogging the hair follicles. Rubbing a few drops massaged into the scalp before bedtime and washed out in the morning will stimulate the blood circulation and prevent dandruff causing build-up, leaving the scalp feeling soothed and hydrated.
Encourages Hair Growth
Argan Oil is rich in phenols that are extremely stimulating to the scalp, thus encouraging new hair growth. Massaging this oil daily into the scalp will boost blood flow to the area and open the pores. It can also be used together with other natural hair loss treatments as it is known to enhance their effects.
Argan Oil can be used as a light, non greasy facial moisturiser. A little goes a long way - 2 to 3 drops should be sufficient for the entire face. It can also be added to hydrolats to make a refreshing skin toner or used as an ingredient in a hydrating facial mask.
For hair, Argan Oil can be massaged into the scalp as a leave in conditioner, an overnight hair treatment and as a hair serum to promote shine and control frizz.
Argan Oil also makes an excellent carrier oil for massage and bath oils.
With an impressive life span of up to 200 years, the Argan tree has been able to survive and adapt to the arid Moroccan climate due to its ability to attract atmospheric moisture at night. It then stores the water and gradually returns it to the earth, down to its roots that can stretch up to 30 metres into the earth in their search for water. In extreme weather, the Argan tree drops its leaves and enters a state of hibernation, only emerging when the percentage of humidity in the environment increases.
Argan Oil has been used by the native Berber tribes for time immemorial. One of its first uses was to feed oil lamps due to the high luminosity it gives off. The cosmetic and nutritional values of Argan Oil were soon after discovered and it was quickly incorporated into the lives of the people.
One of the most endearing sights is of the goats who climb the Argan tree in their quest for its delicious fruit. The locals then retrieve the nuts from the goats' droppings, and the cracking of the nuts is an ancient technique that has been mastered over the centuries and passed down through the generations.
Argan Oil contains: tocopherols (vitamin E), phenols, carotenes, squalene, and fatty acids, (80% unsaturated fatty acids). The main natural phenols in Argan Oil are caffeic acid, oleuropein, vanillic acid, tyrosol, catechol, resorcinol, (−)-epicatechin and (+)-catechin.
Keep away from eyes. Not to be ingested.