Argan oil has been popping up everywhere lately, especially in the cosmetic/beauty industry, but many people do not know what argan oil is, what its properties are, and how it could benefit various aspects of daily life.
Argan oil is a nourishing plant oil. It is derived from kernels that are found in the fruit of the argan tree native to Morocco.
Morrocans have been using this oil for centuries, but it has recently made its way around the world to be used by others as well.
The oil is packed with healthy fats and nutrients, such as oleic acid (omega 9), linoleic acid (omega 6), vitamin E, and antioxidants that can have enormous benefits when used in a variety of ways.
1. Prevents Stretch Marks
Many people claim that using argan oil on stretching skin, either during pregnancy or weight loss, can prevent or reduce the occurrence of stretch marks.
This is likely due to the fact that argan oil is known to improve elasticity of skin and reduce inflammation.
Massaging pure argan oil into the affected area may help skin to stretch without causing the unsightly marks.
In a more broad sense, argan oil makes a great general moisturizer anywhere on the body.
Due to the high levels of oleic and linoleic fatty acids in the oil, argan oil helps skin to retain its moisture very well and is often included in lotions, creams, and other moisturizers.
Perhaps even more effective, though, is massaging the oil into the skin in its pure form to get all the possible benefits without any added chemicals.
Similarly to how argan oil works to prevent stretch marks, argan oil can also be used to reduce signs of aging by improving moisture and elasticity of the skin.
When skin is more elastic, it bounces back from any stress or changes in tension instead of forming wrinkles, and when skin is moisturized, it keeps an even, balanced skin tone more easily.
These anti-aging effects can be harnessed by consuming the oil with food, as a supplement, or by simply massaging a small amount into the desired area before going to sleep at night.
4. Promotes Healing
Argan oil is known to have antibacterial properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and is also known to help with tissue repair.
Each of these properties plays an important role in the oil’s ability to help the body heal.
An experiment done on rats has shown significant improvement in the healing of second degree burns by massaging oil onto the burn.
Argan oil can help to prevent overgrowth of bacteria which may be stunting the healing process.
It also can reduce inflammation of the area, lessening the pain and irritation many wounds cause.
In addition, argan oil’s ability to help with tissue repair can help the body to repair itself and heal wounds significantly faster.
Simply massaging a small amount of the oil onto the affected area can promote a faster, less painful healing process.
5. Prevents Hair Damage
Argan oil has been shown to have a protective effect on the hair. The fatty acids work to seal the cuticle of the hair, which is the outer portion that leads to split ends when it is damaged.
Sealing this cuticle protects the hair from harsh environmental conditions, heat, and other potential harms.
Combing just a couple drops of the oil through hair strands is enough to cause this effect, and the oil has even been proven to work better than commercial hair conditioners.
6. Protects Hair Color
Argan oil also helps retain artificial hair color in people who dye their hair. In a similar way to how it protects the hair from damage, sealing in the hair cuticle helps it to retain its pigment and moisture.
This can be great news for those who regularly dye their hair, as that can be expensive and short-lasting.
Combing a few drops of argan oil through the hair can help make the hair color last significantly longer and maintain its vibrancy for a longer period of time.
7. Helps with Razor Burn
The anti-inflammatory properties as well as the help repairing tissue damage makes argan oil a great treatment or preventative method for razor burn or razor bumps.
The oil helps reduce inflammation and repair micro tears in the skin resulting from shaving.
It also helps to lock in essential moisture and nourish the vulnerable skin. Massaging a small amount of the oil into the skin after shaving can reduce that painful itch and help keep skin looking smooth and soft.
8. Prevents Hangnails
Argan oil can help to prevent the painful hangnails we all know and hate. By massaging just a fraction of a drop of the oil into the nail beds, the oil penetrates into the skin and locks in essential moisture.
This moisture softens the cuticle and keeps it from cracking, the process of which causes hangnails.
This can be great to keep nails looking their best and being as healthy and as pain-free as possible.
1. Heart Healthy
When ingested, either in a supplement or as a cooking oil, argan oil can have positive effects on the heart.
The oleic fatty acids have similar effects to avocado oil and olive oil, as they are good at increasing antioxidant levels in the blood, which are great for the heart.
In addition, studies have shown that argan oil decreases the levels of LDL cholesterol, or bad cholesterol, in the blood.
Argan oil could be a great addition to anyone’s diet to provide heart health benefits.
2. May Help with Diabetes
Argan oil has also been shown to help with diabetes when consumed orally.
The high antioxidant levels in argan oil have caused lower insulin resistance and lower fasting blood sugar in mice, which is thought to translate to humans as well.
Incorporating the oil into your diet could help to prevent diabetes or help with pre-existing diabetes as well.
3. May Help with Cancer
Though not effective as the sole treatment, argan oil does have some beneficial effects on cancer cells.
Compounds in argan oil have been shown to not only inhibit cancer cell growth, but also to raise the rate of cell death in cancer cells.
The best way to try this is by taking argan oil as a supplement or incorporating the oil into your diet in order to get the beneficial compounds into the bloodstream.
The antibacterial properties of argan oil make it a great way to prevent infection.
However, one chooses to use the oil, whether orally or topically onto the skin, will determine which part of the body harnesses this benefit.
Argan oil is not a very harsh antibacterial, so it does not typically do damage to the good bacteria we all have living in and on us.
Instead, it is a subtle way to prevent overgrowth of bacteria and keep microbes at healthy levels.
5. May Help with High Blood Pressure
The unsaturated fatty acids in argan oil make it effective at reducing high blood pressure and keeping a healthy blood pressure stable.
Unsaturated plant oils have been known to have this effect, and the high concentrations of the effective compounds make argan oil a great option compared to other oils.
6. Great Carrier Oil
Argan oil works to increase absorbency of the skin. While this helps with moisturization, it also helps for other health reasons as well.
Using the oil as a carrier oil for other treatments and oils such as essential oils can compound the effects of each product.
The argan oil will help essential oils (or whatever else you would like to use) absorb to maximize the benefit of both of the products.
7. Provides UV Protection
Argan oil can be used to protect skin from damage due to ultraviolet radiation. The oil contains carotenoids, which are known to protect the skin.
This is not to be used instead of sunblock but using the oil as a general moisturizer would provide this benefit among all of the other ones as well.
8. Topical Anti-Inflammatory
When people get wounds or injuries, one of the body’s reactions is to become inflamed.
Inflammation is what causes a lot of itchiness, swelling, and irritation.
Argan oil has anti-inflammatory properties to it, making it a great treatment to massage into the area and reduce inflammation along with all of the unwanted sensations that come with it.
Although it could be assumed that all argan oil is the same, different oils can vary significantly.
There are two grades of argan oil. Culinary argan oil usually uses roasted kernels to give it more of a warm nutty flavor.
This would be the kind of oil you would want to use if you are going to be cooking with it or drizzling it over foods like pasta or salad.
Cosmetic grade argan oil is used more in skin and hair care products.
This kind of oil does not use roasted kernels, and may have some additives, although it can also be found in its pure form.
Although both of these grades offer the same benefits, it is advised to only use each for its intended purpose.
Before using argan oil, it is very important to make sure you are not allergic to it.
A common way to test for an allergic reaction before using the product is to spread a small amount of the product onto your inner arm and wait a while to make sure there is no adverse reaction.
It is also important to be mindful if you have a tree nut allergy.
Argan kernels are not technically tree nuts, but since the oil does come from the kernel, it could cause a reaction for those with nut allergies.
Argan oil does not have many side effects, as it is a very natural and beneficial oil, but it does contain a form of vitamin E called tocopherols, which have the possibility of interacting with anticoagulant medications.
It is unknown whether there is enough of this compound to cause an interaction, but it is important to be aware of the possibility before using the oil.
Top 12 Argan Oil Benefits for Skin & Hair, Dr, Josh Axe, Accessed January 2020, https://draxe.com/beauty/argan-oil-benefits-skin-hair/
The effect of dietary and/or cosmetic argan oil on postmenopausal skin elasticity, Clinical Intereventions in Aging, NIH, Accessed January 2020 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25673976
Argon Oil, All Med Review, Accessed January 2020, http://www.altmedrev.com/archive/publications/16/3/275.pdf