Argan Oil: Everything You Need to Know

Published January 10th, 2022 by Erik Rivera
Fact Checked by

Argan oil 101 | How is it made | Uses | Benefits | Side effects

Argan oil is an oil that comes from the kernels of the argan tree, which is native to Morocco. The argan tree's fruit has a very hard shell, but inside it contains a nut surrounded by flesh. Inside the nut, there are three kernels that are rich in argan oil. Organic argan oil can be used for cooking, cosmetic products, and even in your hair. It also benefits various different skin conditions like acne and eczema. Please read on to figure out if it is right for you.

What is argan oil?

Argan oil is a natural plant-based oil that comes from the nut of argan trees. Because argan oil can be expensive to produce, it is mainly produced in Morocco and other parts of North Africa where argan trees are abundant. Argan oil contains mostly fatty acids which are supposed to nourish, moisturize and rejuvenate the skin and as a natural hair treatment. The consumption of argan oil is normal in Morocco as it is used in cooking and it has also been used for medicinal purposes too.

How is argan oil made?

The process of making pure argan oil is very time-consuming and labor-intensive. The first step is to harvest the argan fruits, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size and age of the tree. Once the argan fruits are harvested, they are left in the open air to dry. When fully dry, the pulp is separated from the nut and the nut is cracked to obtain the oil-rich kernels. There have been no successful attempts to automate this process so it is still all done by hand. The kernels are then roasted, and after cooling the argan oil is squeezed out from the ground kernels using a press or millstone to create the oil.

The oil is allowed to rest for a while so all the solids settle on the bottom. It is then filtered to the desired clarity. The argan pulp collected after this process can be used as livestock feed and fertilizer in Morocco where it grows wild in great abundance along roadsides, riverbanks, and other marginal lands. It should be noted that the argan oil used for cosmetics skips the roasting process as the nutty smell and flavor is not necessary for the product.

What are the uses of argan oil?

The most popular use of argan oil is as a beauty product. Argan oil is said to be beneficial for the skin in many ways by moisturizing, rejuvenating, and preventing signs of aging. It is also used as a hair treatment to make hair softer, smoother, and shinier. It is also used for dry hair and to promote hair growth. Some people even use it as a cooking ingredient in their dishes. In its native Morocco, the consumption of argan oil is used as a dip for bread or is sprinkled on couscous or pasta.

Argan oil is also used as a topical treatment for certain skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. There have been no proven studies that argan oil can actually treat these conditions though many people claim to experience great results with it after trying the oil on themselves or their pets.

What are the benefits of argan oil?

There are many benefits of using argan oil. It can serve as a multipurpose product, which is beneficial for people with busy lifestyles who do not have the time to apply different beauty products on themselves throughout their day.

Argan oil has antioxidant properties that may help protect certain skin cells from harm and damage caused by free radicals in the environment. The antioxidants in argan oil are said to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles when used regularly, according to some. It also claims to be anti-inflammatory, which could help soothe certain skin conditions and is thought to help moisturize dry skin.

The fatty acids present in argan oil have been known by researchers to be able to penetrate deep into the hair follicle through a process called "bio-adhesion." This is said to help improve the condition of the hair, making it softer, smoother, and less prone to breakage.

It also contains fatty acids which can help to moisturize and lubricate the skin. The fatty acids also contain vitamin A which is said to be good for treating acne by unclogging pores and reducing inflammation caused by redness, swelling, and pain. It is thought that argan oil also helps to heal wounds or burns too.

Are the benefits of argan oil verified by science?

Most of the benefits of argan oil are anecdotal. There have been some studies but mostly on animals so peer-reviewed studies on humans are needed to verify most of the claims. If you are uncertain whether you should consume or use argan oil, please talk to your doctor, healthcare provider, nutritionist, or dermatologist depending on how you intend to use it.

Are there adverse effects of using argan oil?

The use of argan oil is generally safe. There have been no reported adverse effects from the cosmetic application of argan oil on humans or animals though there are some reports that it could cause irritation to those with sensitive skin, particularly if you have a nut allergy.

Where can I get argan oil?

Argan oil can be purchased at most drugstores, supermarkets, and local beauty supply stores. Most of the brick and mortar stores only carry argan oil in beauty products, usually shampoo. If you would like to buy argan oil by itself or for cooking, it is also available online on many websites that you can purchase it from. It's important when buying argan oil for cooking to use only culinary argan oil as the cosmetic argan oil for hair usually has not roasted the nuts to impart a more nutty scent and flavor.

Summary

Argan oil is an oil from a tree native to Morocco that is used for cooking and beauty products. As a beauty product, it is a natural oil that has many benefits for the skin, hair, and body. Some of the benefits include anticancer and antiaging as well as moisturizing and healing properties among others. More studies on humans need to be done to verify these claims. There are no known adverse effects to using argan oil, but people with sensitive skin should use caution if they have a nut allergy. Thank you for reading our article, should you have any further questions regarding argan oil please talk to your doctor, dermatologist, or nutritionist depending on your intended usage.

References and Sources:

doi.org

ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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