Morocco is a beautiful country and, as if you needed another reason to love it, let us introduce you to Argan oil. If you’re a beauty junkie, you’ve likely heard of (and tried) Moroccan oil. But, have you heard of Argan oil? If not, you’re not alone. Moroccan oil is simply the Americanized name for Argan oil.
Argan oil is derived from the nut inside the little fruit grown from the Argan tree (Argania spinosa) in the Argan Forests of Morocco. The oil has been lauded for centuries for wound treatment and rash relief, as well as nourishment for skin and hair. It dates back as far as 600 BC, when the Phoenicians used it for healing purposes, as well as beauty enhancement.
While expensive, it’s worth it, as Argan oil can be used both cosmetically and in cooking to improve everything from your skin and hair’s appearance to the health of your heart.
Here’s everything you need to know about this “liquid gold.”
1.) Rich In Vitamins
Not only is Argan oil is filled with vitamins A, C and E, it’s also loaded with antioxidants, linoleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids. When applied to the skin, it can help boost skin cell production, resulting in healthier looking skin.
Argan oil is high in both oleic (omega 9 monounsaturated nonessential) and linoleic (omega 6 unsaturated) fatty acids. Linoleic acid helps to reduce inflammation in the skin and increase moisture levels, and oleic acid helps improve the skin’s permeability. Additionally, when looking at the comedogenic rating of Argan oil (or, how easily it clogs pores), Argan oil rates as a zero.
2.) Keeps Your Skin Hydrated
Argan oil helps ensure that the skin stays hydrated and healthy. In 2007, the Department of Dermatology at the Medical University of Vienna’s General Hospital in Austria conducted a study on skin health. One group used Argan oil as part of their daily skin care routine for 30 days, while the other group used a placebo. At the end of the study, the group that had used Argan oil had significantly improved skin hydration when compared to the placebo group.
Moisture loss is one of the key reasons for skin aging; when skin is hydrated, it loses less collagen and is protected from the elements like sun, heat, cold and wind. Thus, by helping the skin retain more moisture, Argan oil helps combat the signs of aging.
3.) Helps to Fight the Signs of Aging
As Argan oil contains high levels of fatty acids (it’s comprised of roughly 80% fatty acids), it works wonders to erase the signs of premature aging such as crows feet and wrinkles. Argan oil has even been shown to fade age spots, as well as reduce the depth and severity of wrinkles.
It can be used as a toner or moisturizer. For toner usage, simply add a few drops to your favorite toner, or make your own by seeping 1 cup of green tea, adding a drop or two of your favorite essential oil, and then 2-4 drops of Argan oil. To use as a moisturizer, either add a drop to your favorite moisturizer or apply oil directly to skin.
4.) Can Benefit Common Skin Ailments
Argan oil is the “miracle oil” for pretty much every skin condition, from acne to eczema.
Studies have shown that Argan oil lowers sebum levels in those with oily skin, helping to reduce greasiness and improve overall appearance. It reduces acne-induced inflammation, and can also aid in scar-prevention.
Eczema is a common skin condition characterized by inflammation, and dry, itchy patches. Argan oil has been shown to reduce rashes and itchiness. It hydrates the skin so it better performs its barrier function, which in turn reduces rashes and itchiness, and minimizes eczema flare-ups.
5.) Lowers Cholesterol Levels
If you’re looking for ways to improve your overall heart health, you can incorporate yoga into your daily routine, as well as more heart-healthy foods into your diet such as coldwater fish, avocados, and even dark chocolate. Argan oil is also a heart-healthy supplement.
As we mentioned above, Argan oil isn’t just topical, but can also be used in cooking. When used as a substitute for other less-healthy oils, it can help reduce bad cholesterol levels. Argan oil has a unique combination of plant sterols (schottenol and spinasterol). These actually block the absorption of bad cholesterol from inside the intestinal tract, which in turn lead to better heart health.
6.) Aids in Your Overall Hair Health
Just as Argan oil keeps your skin hydrated, it keeps your hair hydrated by coating the hair shaft and sealing in moisture.
Argan oil can make hair less prone to breakage from brushing and styling, and also protect against heat damage. It helps to repair split ends, increase shine, and create an overall healthy appearance. It can also combat hair loss by promoting new growth. Argan oil can be rubbed into the scalp before bed, or applied to the ends of your hair before styling.
7.) Strengthens Nails
Due to its high levels of vitamin-E, Argan oil helps promote strong, healthy nails. Additionally, thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities, it can help stave off nail and skin infections.
Argan oil is also a great cuticle softener, which can help to prevent hangnails. To ensure overall nail health, simple rub the oil into your nail beds and leave overnight. Use the excess oil to coat your hands so they stay nice and moisturized as well.
8.) Helps Prevent Stretch Marks
This oil improves the elasticity of the skin, which can help to prevent stretch marks. Vitamins A and E help rejuvenate the skin while moisturizing it, making stretch marks less likely to form.
To use, simply warm 2-3 drops of pure Argan oil in the palms of your hands and rub on your stomach, hips, thighs, or other potential problems areas.
While there are many plants with healing properties, Argan oil tops our list.
Do you have a favorite natural beauty product? Tell us about it in the comments.