Argan Oil: The Moroccan Anti-Aging Elixir
Argan oil has become a popular ingredient in many skin care products in recent years. But what makes this oil produced from the nuts of the argan tree in Morocco so beneficial for your skin? Keep reading to find out why you should consider adding argan oil to your beauty routine.
A Bit of History
The argan tree (Argania spinosa) is native to Morocco and grows well in the semi-desert climate. For centuries, the Berber people of this region have been producing argan oil and using it for both culinary and cosmetic purposes. The labor-intensive process of extracting the oil from the hard-shelled argan nuts and kernels has made it an expensive commodity traditionally produced by Moroccan women’s cooperatives.
The Benefits of Argan Oil for Your Skin
So why has argan oil become such a coveted anti-aging ingredient? Here are some of the ways it can benefit your skin:
Argan oil is rich in fatty acids like oleic acid and linoleic acid. These make it an excellent emollient that can hydrate and soften skin. If you suffer from dry skin, argan oil may help restore moisture and give your skin a dewy, glowing look. It’s lightweight and absorbs quickly, making it a great moisturizer for both face and body.
One of the reasons argan oil is so valued for skin care is its anti-aging properties. It’s loaded with vitamin E, an antioxidant that can help protect skin cells from damage caused by free radicals. Argan oil also contains compounds like triterpenoids, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Regular application may help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles to keep your skin looking youthful.
The antioxidants and fatty acids in argan oil make it helpful for healing skin tissue. Argan oil has been traditionally used to treat skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Its anti-inflammatory properties may help calm irritation and redness. The vitamin E can also help fade acne scars and other marks on the skin.
Some early research suggests that argan oil may offer some protection against UV radiation from the sun. One study found that participants who consumed argan oil daily had increased resistance of skin cells to UV damage. While more research is needed, this indicates argan oil could potentially help prevent sunburns when applied topically as well.
As we age, skin tends to lose elasticity leading to sagging. But argan oil may help combat this effect. One study found postmenopausal women who applied argan oil to their skin daily for two months had improved skin elasticity. The results suggest argan oil can increase skin’s flexibility and ability to snap back.
Hydrating Hair Treatment
Not only does argan oil benefit skin – it can also give your hair some TLC! The fatty acids help hydrate and condition dry, damaged hair. Vitamin E may also help repair split ends. Try using a few drops of argan oil to tame frizz and add shine.
How to Use Argan Oil for Your Skin
Argan oil is very versatile – here are some tips for incorporating it into your daily beauty routine:
- Facial Moisturizer: After cleansing, warm 2-3 drops of argan oil in your hands and gently pat onto your face and neck. You can also add a couple drops to your regular moisturizer.
- Body Moisturizer: Smooth 3-5 drops of argan oil over damp skin after showering. Focus on extra dry areas like knees, elbows and heels.
- Overnight Treatment: Apply 4-5 drops of argan oil as the last step of your nighttime skincare routine to wake up to hydrated, glowing skin.
- Lip Treatment: Rub 1 drop of argan oil onto your lips to condition and soften.
- Cuticle Oil: Massage 1-2 drops of argan oil into each cuticle to moisturize and strengthen nails.
- Hair Treatment: Warm a few drops between your palms and work through the ends of damp or dry hair, avoiding roots. Leave in for 30 minutes then shampoo as normal.
- Shaving Oil: Apply argan oil before shaving legs or bikini area for a smooth shave that won’t leave skin dry or irritated.
- Makeup Remover: Gently massage argan oil onto your face to melt away makeup, then wipe off with a warm washcloth. Rinse and follow with your regular cleanser.
What to Look for in Argan Oil
With argan oil’s rise in popularity, there are a lot of options on the market. Here’s what to look for to ensure you’re getting pure, high-quality argan oil:
- 100% Argan Oil – Make sure the ingredient list only contains 100% pure argan oil and no added fillers or fragrances.
- Cold Pressed – Cold pressing is the preferred extraction method that keeps nutrients intact.
- Moroccan Origin – Authentic argan oil comes from the Argania spinosa tree in Morocco.
- Dark Glass Bottle – Argan oil is sensitive to light and air, so dark glass helps maintain purity.
- USDA Organic Certified – This ensures the argan kernels are grown without pesticides or chemicals.
- Fair Trade – Seek out ethically sourced argan oil that supports Moroccan women’s cooperatives.
DIY Argan Oil Face Masks
You can also reap the benefits of argan oil by making your own custom facial masks. Here are a couple nourishing recipes to try:
Soothing Argan Oat Mask
- 1 tablespoon argan oil
- 2 tablespoons plain oatmeal
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
Mix ingredients together into a paste. Apply to clean face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. The oats help exfoliate while the yogurt’s lactic acid gently smooths skin texture.
Hydrating Argan Honey Mask
- 1⁄2 tablespoon argan oil
- 1⁄2 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt
Stir ingredients together and apply a thick layer to your face. Allow to sit for 15-20 minutes then rinse off. Honey helps lock in moisture to combat dryness.
Potential Side Effects
When used topically, argan oil is generally well-tolerated with little risk of side effects. Very rarely, people may experience mild irritation or allergic reaction. To be safe, do a patch test on a small area of skin before applying it to your face.If ingesting argan oil, start with small amounts. Some people report upset stomach when consuming large amounts of argan oil. Introduce it into your diet gradually.
Rich in fatty acids, vitamin E and other nutrients, argan oil has proven anti-aging and skin-healing benefits. This natural moisturizer from Morocco can help hydrate skin, improve elasticity, fade scars, and give your complexion a youthful glow. Look for 100% pure, organic, cold pressed argan oil and incorporate it into your daily skincare routine. Your skin will thank you!