Argan oil – where does it come from?
Argan oil is a natural oil harvested from the kernals of the argan tree, also known as Argania Spinosa (L.) usually found in Morocco. The seeds are often processed by dry- pressing and can be stored for up to 12-18 months. This means that argan oil for face and hair beauty can be kept in a cool and dry place for up to 18 months before spoilage. High grade argan oil is enhanced to help bring more benefits to human health.
Argan oil and skin – the kind of vitamins and nutrients found in argan oil
Argan oil is particularly keeping skin soft and supple, and can help repair frizzy and damaged hair. This is due to the rich fatty acids it contains, tocopherols and high vitamin E content.
Vitamin E and linoleic acid combines to help combat cell damage, and to help fight the ageing process.
Another bioactive ingredient found in argan oil is ferulic acid, a phenolic compound present in argan oil. Ferulic is an antioxidant which helps to prevent wrinkles and even fight cancer!
In the Journal of Clinical Interventions in Ageing (2015), a clinical study was conducted into 60 women who were postmenopausal. The group of women were divided into two groups: 30 received dietary argan oil; and the other 30 received olive oil.
It was found that after 60 years, the group of women who consumed and applied the dietary argan oil, it was evident that their skin elasticity improved a lot more than the control group who had been taking olive oil (both consumption and application).
The study therefore highlighted that consuming and applying the argan oil on a daily basis had improved the texture and appearance of the women’s skin. Argan oil is therefore beneficial for anti-ageing and combatting wrinkles if used consistently as part of one’s beauty routine.
Argan oil and hair health
Argan oil can help restore the shine to dull hair after hair has been subjected to damage, especially hair that has previously been treated by dyes or hair colourants. This is because oxidative dyes can damage hair.
As argan oil contains two main fatty acids: oleic acid and linoleic acid, it can help reduce protein loss and promote smooth flyaway hair, for healthier, shinier hair. Argan oil works by sealing in moisture to keep hair hydrated and lasts long after application to hair.
People who have a natural tendency to lose hair can also use argan oil, massage it on their hair and into their scalp to prevent hair loss. Argan oil can restore life to dull and lifeless hair, stimulate keratin production in hair follicles, as keratin is an important protein needed for hair growth, and can even be used to treat brittle finger nails.
Argan oil is good for stretch marks and scarring
Vitamin E, which is abundant in argan oil, can help protect your skin against cellular ageing, decrease inflammation, and where there’s scarring, help to reduce their appearance.
Argan oil and facial beauty
In some parts of northern Africa, the women have used argan oil as part of a long tradition which has helped the women keep their skin supple, retain and maintain their skin moisture and prevent the onset of wrinkles.
Other health benefits of argan oil
The high amount of unsaturated fatty acid in argan oil may be helpful in fighting atherosclerosis (Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries).
A study which fed argan oil to rats revealed that they had significantly lower blood pressure than the rats who had not been given a diet with argan oil included. This might indicate the potential health benefits for humans too.
Weighing up the quality of argan oil
Assessing the argan oil’s quality and factors to look out for:
- The source of the argan oil – whether it is sourced exclusively from natural sources based in Morocco.
- Whether the argan oil is 100% pure or whether it is diluted with other inferior ingredients?
- This process of diluting the purity of the argan oil is known as adulteration of the argan oil, which involves the addition of one substance to another to make it poorer in quality.
Reference: Boucetta at al. (2015). The effect of dietary and/or cosmetic argan oil on postmenopausal skin elasticity. Clinical Interventions in Ageing, 10, 339-349.