Imagine a fruit so nutritious that goats will climb trees just to eat them! Inside that little fruit, is the little nut that gives us argan oil. (1)
For generations, natives of the argan woodlands in Morocco have pressed the nut to extract this precious oil, to use argan oil benefits as a dietary supplement; for wound treatment and rash relief; and to nourish skin and hair. These slow-growing trees are so revered that in 1998 the argan forest was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. (2a)
What is argan oil? It’s a rare oil that is high in both oleic (omega 9 monounsaturated nonessential) and linoleic (omega 6 unsaturated) fatty acids, both of which aid acne-prone skin (which is usually deficient in linoleic acid in the subum). (2b) Depending on its sourcing, argan oil contains about 35–40 percent linoleic acid and 42–48 percent oleic acid. While linoleic acid will reduce inflammation and acne and increase skin moisturization levels, oleic acid can improve the skin’s permeability and assist other ingredients penetrate the skin more easily. (2c)
In addition, when judged by how much it clogs pores (comedogenic rating), argan oil rates out as a zero, as in it does not clog pores. (2d) These are just some of the reasons why argan oil has become a popular carrier oil for acne sufferers and others.
Argan Oil Benefits Throughout History
Produced from the kernels of the argan tree (Argania spinosa L.), this plant oil is exclusive to Morocco but historically argan oil use was not. People throughout the world have taken advantage of the many argan oil benefits to help treat skin infections, bug bites and skin rashes. And now it is used by men and women all over the world seeking an effective, all-natural moisturizer for skin and hair. (3)
One of the main reasons that argan oil is so therapeutic is because it’s rich with vitamin A and vitamin E. However, Moroccan argan oil is also packed with antioxidants, omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid. Research shows that when applied to skin, argan oil benefits include easing inflammation while moisturizing the skin. (4)
When applied externally, trocopherol from the vitamin E helps to boost cell production while promoting healthy skin and hair. This is why cosmetic companies are including it in their high-end anti-aging, hair and skin care products.
The good news is that to get argan oil benefits you don’t have to purchase luxury hair and skin care products. You can purchase just the oil, making it a versatile addition to your beauty routine. Although 100 percent argan oil can be expensive, just a drop or two will nourish hair and skin throughout the day.
Top 12 Argan Oil Benefits
Here are 12 ways that you can incorporate this all-natural oil into your daily beauty regimen.
1. Nighttime Moisturizer
Argan oil absorbs quickly and does not leave an oily residue. After cleansing your skin with an all-natural cleanser, pour a single drop into your palm to warm. Apply in a circular motion to your face and neck.
In the winter months, or in dryer climates, you may need a second drop but remember to use sparingly. This oil is gentle and safe to use around your eyes.
Apply one drop to your face, using a tapping motion, from the bridge of your nose to your temple and back again. Then apply a drop beneath your eyes with the same gentle tapping. The vitamin A and vitamin E can help to reduce fine wrinkles and keep this delicate area moisturized. Plus, a 2015 study shows argan oil benefits also include anti-aging effects. (5)
2. Skin Toner
Skin toning is an important step in your skin care routine. For an all-over glow, add 2–4 drops to 8 ounces of your favorite toner, or better yet, make your own chemical-free, all-natural toner at home.
Simply pour 1 cup of boiling water over a green tea bag and let steep for 7–10 minutes. Remove the tea bag and allow to come to room temperature. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil (orange, lemon or tea tree are great) and 2–4 drops of argan oil and seal in a jar. Use morning and night after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Do-it-yourself exfoliators are not difficult to make and are significantly less expensive than what you can purchase in the store.
To experience the argan oil benefits while exfoliating, just mix 1 tablespoon of brown sugar with a couple of drops of argan oil in your hand. Rub into your face in a circular motion for two to four minutes; pay special attention to acne-prone areas and areas that are dry. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while giving you a younger, fresher complexion. With the aid of the brown sugar, the argan oil’s nutrients are more readily absorbed into your skin.
Use this exfoliator for more than just your face. If you have dry elbows or heels (or during an at-home pedicure), mix up a bit more to massage the dry and dead skin away.
4. Acne Remedy
Great news for anyone who is suffering from acne — argan oil has been proven to reduce sebum levels in individuals with oily skin. (6) Women who have never had acne before are finding in that in their 30s and 40s this pesky condition arises, and it is often difficult to treat.
Chemical creams can be expensive and, in the long run, truly do more harm than good. Argan oil’s high linoleic acid content helps to reduce inflammation caused by acne (not to mention rashes, infections and bug bites) while helping to soothe damaged skin cells.
If you are using argan oil as your moisturizer, but are still fighting acne, consider adding argan oil to your list of home remedies for acne. Place a drop in the palm of your hand and lightly dab a bit extra into problem areas. To fight stubborn or persistent white heads, be sure to make the toner above, using a couple of drops of tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil complements the argan oil benefits beautifully with its rich antioxidant content and inherent antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. (7) Together, they can help fight stubborn acne while reducing the inflammation and scarring.
5. Stretch Mark Remedy
Argan oil can help prevent stretch marks by improving the elasticity of the skin. (8) Warm 2–3 drops of pure argan oil in the palms of your hands and gently rub into your stomach, hips, thighs or any other potential problem areas.
The vitamin A and vitamin E will help to rejuvenate the skin while moisturizing, making stretch marks less likely to form. If you already have stretch marks, start by massaging argan oil and brown sugar into the affected areas before your next bath. Rinse well and apply the oil to the affected areas prior to dressing.
6. Razor Bumps and Burn Treatment
Razor bumps and razor burn are uncomfortable and unsightly. Argan oil is an effective treatment to soothe the skin after shaving, both for men after shaving their beards and for women after shaving their legs.
Warm a drop or two of the oil in your hands and lightly massage into the affected area.
7. Whole-Body Moisturizer
You can also use argan oil as your whole-body moisturizer. Hopefully, you are already using an all-natural moisturizer (like coconut oil) on your body and avoiding the harsh hidden chemicals that are found in most lotions and moisturizers.
Add just a couple of drops of argan oil to your food-grade carrier oil of choice (coconut, olive, jojoba, sweet almond or sesame) to immediately reap all the benefits of this therapeutic natural oil. If you have dry patches on your heels, elbows or other areas, massage an extra drop into those areas for relief.
8. Leave-In Conditioner
Argan oil is not only beneficial to skin — it’s also great for hair. This non-greasy oil makes for the perfect leave-in conditioner that makes your hair easier to style while repairing those pesky split ends. Argan oil helps to tame frizz and fly-aways and protect against the heat of hair dryers, curlers and flat irons, all the while promoting body and a healthy shine.
There is some research that indicates argan oil can even promote hair growth, so be sure to rub it into your scalp too. Depending on the thickness, texture, condition and length of your hair, you may need anywhere from 1 drop to 3 drops.
Getting the right amount may take some practice. Start with a drop (or for short hair a ½ drop may do) and warm in your palms before raking your fingers through your hair, paying special attention to your ends. Once complete, add a ½ drop to your fingertips and massage into your scalp. Rub any excess into your face, neck or hands.
9. Overnight Deep Conditioning Treatment
If you have dry, brittle hair, once a week do an overnight deep conditioning treatment with argan oil. Warm 4–10 drops in your hands before massaging into your scalp. Continue applying all the way to the ends, twist and place a shower cap on top. Your natural body heat retained in the shower cap will help the oil to penetrate, while keeping your pillowcase free of oil. In the morning, wash your hair, rinsing until all residue is gone.
If you have dandruff or dry scalp, do an overnight treatment twice per week until the dandruff is gone. Continue with weekly treatments or as needed.
10. Lip Conditioner
Argan oil benefits more than just your skin and hair; it makes for a wonderful lip treatment or lip balm substitute! Rub in 1–2 drops and wipe away any excess.
This will not only relieve any cracked lips, but also keep your lips soft, smooth and conditioned. Keep argan oil handy during the winter to prevent chapped lips.
11. Nail & Cuticle Treatment
Now, let’s talk about how this can help your nails! Argan oil’s non-greasy moisture is an ideal treatment for cuticles and nails. Remove all polish from fingernails and toenails and rinse thoroughly.
Dot a fraction of a drop directly onto each nail, one at a time, and rub into the nail bed and cuticle. Leave on until all nails have been treated.
Wash and rinse thoroughly and then apply polish as desired. The oil will not only help to condition your nails, but it will also help keep your cuticles moisturized so you don’t develop painful hangnails.
12. Foot Treatment
If you have dry, cracking skin on your feet or heels, rub 2 drops into your feet, paying special attention to the problem areas. Depending on how dry your skin is, you may need to apply a couple of more drops to fully moisturize the area.
Cover with a pair of cozy socks to give the oil a chance to soak in. Leave the socks on for at least 20 minutes, and preferably overnight. Use a warm washcloth to remove the residual oil from the soles of your feet.
Buying & Storing Argan Oil
As you can see, argan oil is easy to incorporate into your morning and evening beauty routine. To enjoy all the argan oil benefits, use it daily to treat dry skin and scalp, as a styling product, to keep wrinkles at bay, and to treat acne. It increases the hydration of your skin and hair, resulting in a more rejuvenated and healthy appearance. (9)
It’s important to buy high-quality oil. A low-quality oil will not give you the same argan oil benefits as it will not have the same concentration of nutrients. When selecting the oil, look for 100 percent pure, organic, cold-pressed, unfiltered and non-deodorized argan oil.
A good, pure argan oil will be more expensive, but when you look at the number of products (eye creams, moisturizers, lotions, hair styling products, etc.) you can replace it with, it’s worth every penny.
Keep bottles out of direct sunlight and sealed tight. It is recommended to use the oil within six months of opening for optimal benefit. Start with a small bottle and keep track of how long it lasts as the quality can degrade over time.
Argan Oil Side Effects
Be mindful when using argan oil if you have any nut allergies. While not technically a tree nut, it is a stone fruit and the oils come from the nut. You can always test the oil on the inside of your arm first to make sure that you don’t have an allergic reaction.
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