Argan oil is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree that is unique to Morocco. It is extracted from a tree called Argania Spinosa. Argan trees are being planted for the last 125 years and they can survive for another 300 years. These trees are known to be endangered and are thus protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage of Humanity. The residents of Morocco use argan oil for consumption and cosmetic purposes. Argan oil is also famously known as Moroccan Oil.
This oil is quite rare due to its small supply and limited growing area. It is traditionally produced by hand wherein after the pulp is separated from the nuts, they are laid out in the sun to dry. These nuts are then cracked open to take the seeds out after which, they are roasted which provides richness to the oil. A little water is added to the seeds and then crushed to form a thick paste from which the oil is extracted, by hand.
Uses of Argan Oil for Skin
- It can be used as a skin exfoliator
- It helps to prevent stretch marks
- It is also helpful in soothing razor burns and bumps on the skin
- It is used to moisturize the skin
- Dry feet and cracking heels can be treated with regular use of argan oil
- It is a natural anti-ager
- It helps in toning the skin
- It is used for the treatment of pimples and acne.
- Skin infection can be protected and healed with the help of argan oil
- It gives protection to skin from components that cause itchiness
- It helps in the treatment of bug bites
Uses of argan oil for hair
- It enables the elimination of dandruff and dry scalp from hair
- It helps in increasing the length of hair
- It protects hair from heat
- It is useful to tame frizzy hair
- It treats dry and brittle hair
- It protects hair from chemicals when in the swimming pool
- It helps in the treatment of hair loss
- It helps repair split ends
- It helps in thickening eyelashes
Uses of argan oil for health
- It helps to stabilize blood sugar levels in the body
- It increases an enzyme called pepsin that helps in facilitating digestion
- It helps in the reduction of cholesterol in the body
- It helps to boost cardiovascular health
- It provides powerful anti-oxidant action to the body
- It helps in treating arthritis
- It helps in treating eczema or psoriasis
- It has anti-inflammatory properties that help the body
- Argan oil helps to boost the immune system
20 Home remedies of argan oil
- Apply argan oil, though sparingly, on the face as a night cream to help in moisturizing the skin and to remove wrinkles.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and a couple of drops of argan oil and apply this on areas of the face that are dry and acne-prone, this helps to exfoliate the skin. Brown sugar helps the skin to absorb the nutrients of the oil. This method also works on elbows.
- On a section of hair, apply a generous amount of argan oil from root to tip. Continue this process for the rest of the hair. After that, massage the root area in a circular motion and leave it on for 1-3 hours. Wash it off with a mild shampoo. This is said to treat damaged hair. On excessively damaged hair, leave the oil on the hair overnight.
- Another method to treat damaged hair is the hot oil treatment. The hot oil treatment involves applying oil on sections of hair from root to tip and repeating this for all other parts after which, a hot towel (towel dipped in hot water) should be wrapped around the head until the towel cools down to room temperature.
- To help treat eczema, apply a few drops of argan oil on affected areas as a leave-in oil overnight or right after bathing. Depending on the severity of the situation, this can be repeated many times during the day.
- Using argan oil as a leave-in conditioner, it can be used to tame frizzy hair and give it a nice shine, making it soft. A drop of the oil should be spread throughout the hair with the palms, focusing well towards the end of the hair and a little less than a drop should be spread well through the scalp.
- Lightly apply some argan oil on the acne affected parts of the skin and gently wipe it off with a tissue after 30 mins. Depending on the seriousness of the situation, this process can be used twice a day as well.
- Another way to treat acne and its scars are by mixing equal parts of argan oil and tea tree oil and applying them to the affected areas. Leave it on for 10 mins and rinse it off with lukewarm water.
- Gently massage a few drops of warm argan oil on the stretch marks on the skin for 5-10 mins. Leave it on for 30 mins and rinse it off with lukewarm water. Continue this process daily till the marks fade.
- Before blow-drying hair, apply a few drops of the oil with the palm of the hands and then use a brush or a comb to evenly distribute it throughout the head, from roots to tips. This provides a coat to the hair to protect it from heat damage.
- To help heal dry lips, apply some cucumber slices to the lips for 30 seconds, to provide moisture and then gently massage 1-2 drops of argan oil onto the lips to lock in the moisture.
- Massage a few drops of pure argan oil onto the hands and nail cuticles daily as a habit to avoid hangnails, thus strengthening them.
- In the case of weak or brittle nails, dip the fingers in a mixture of lemon juice and argan oil, in equal parts, for 10-15 mins and rinse it off with warm water and pat dry.
- For treating feet and heels with dry skin or cracking skin, 2-4 drops of argan oil should be rubbed on the problem areas and covered with a pair of socks. Wipe it off after leaving it for 30 mins, allowing the oil to soak in.
- Apply a bit of argan oil under the eyes every night before going to bed as it leads to a reduction of dark circles and under-eye wrinkles.
- Take a few drops of argan oil and massage the roots of the hair and move to the tips. Starting from one side and working all throughout the scalp, ending it with a 10-15 mins massage of the whole scalp can help reduce hair fall to a great extent.
- Argan oil can be used as a body lotion by applying a bit on wet skin, letting it seep in for about 15-20 mins and then wipe it with a towel. It makes the skin soft and smooth.
- To get a bright and glowing face, mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 drops of argan oil, 2 teaspoons of Greek yoghurt and 1 tablespoon honey. Apply this paste to a clean dry face and leave it for 10 mins. Rinse it off with warm water.
- To treat oily skin, mix this oil and jojoba oil in a ratio of 3:1 and apply it on the face. Leave it on for 15 mins and wash it off with warm water
- For longer and healthier eyelashes, apply one drop on the lashes and use a clean mascara wand to brush it and evenly spread the oil.
Ways to distinguish between pure and impure argan oil.
- Pure argan oil is golden yellow in colour and it is smooth. When applied on the skin, it gets easily absorbed. The authentic oil is cloudy so, if the oil is thick or watery, it is highly refined and is not pure.
- Argan oil has a hint of a nutty scent. Strong smelling oil indicates that it may have become rancid. Fragrant argan oil could also be used for culinary purposes. Odourless argan oil is also suspicious of being impure and one must take care.
- Authentic argan oil is usually sold in dark glass bottles as the sun is capable of destroying some of the properties argan oil is used for. If the oil is sold in plastic or clear glass bottles, it is a cause for concern whether the oil is pure.
- 100% pure argan oil is handled with care as the nutrients need to be kept intact. As a result, there is bound to be some sediment on the floor of the bottle of pure argan oil. If there is no sediment in the oil, there is a chance that the oil is impure or over-refined.
Precautions and side-effects
- Purchase pure argan oil as impure argan oil can lead to allergic reactions.
- The oil should be stored in dark coloured bottles, stainless steel or aluminium containers.
- Avoid using scented argan oil, the purest form usually only has a hint of a nutty smell and no other fragrance.
- Store in a cool and dark place.
- When using argan oil for hair, avoid applying too much pressure by keeping the hair tight in ponytails or braids.
- Keep it away from high temperature and heat.
Argan oil hardly has any side effects. Only a handful have ever faced some sort of effect from this oil.
- Those having nut allergies should be aware as there have been cases of a reaction. A patch test can be done to eliminate doubt, where a person can apply the oil onto the inside of the arm and wipe it in 10 mins to notice anything.
- Some may get rashes and itchiness on applying the oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Does argan oil provide UV protection?
Answer: Argan oil does provide protection from UV rays but only to an extent. It is advisable to apply sunscreen in addition to argan oil as the sun rays are quite strong exposing ultraviolet rays as well.
Question: Does argan oil have an expiration date?
Answer: If stored properly, i.e. dark bottles and in a cold, dark place, argan oil can last for up to 2-2.5 years.
Question: What are the main components of argan oil?
Answer: Argan oil contains vitamin E, vitamin A, unsaturated fatty acids like Omega 3 and Omega 6, phenols among other anti-oxidants.
Question: How does a person remove excess oil from the hair?
Answer: Doing the hot oil treatment will take some time to get used to, so to remove the excess oil, wash the hair with a mild shampoo and warm water.
Question: Is argan oil safe to use during pregnancy?
Answer: Yes, argan oil is quite safe to use for a pregnant woman. It helps in enhancing the elasticity of the skin and avoiding stretch marks.
Question: Can one use argan oil if they have a tree nut allergy?
Answer: Argan oil is formed from the extracts of tree nuts and if using this causes irritation or discomfort, it is better to stop using it immediately and consult a doctor.
Question: How does argan oil help in reducing the appearance of stretch marks?
Answer: Stretch marks occur when the dermal collagen and elastin in the skin stretches beyond capacity and the fibres separate. Vitamin E, Sterols and fatty acids help to keep the skin cells connected during the period of rapid growth, thus avoiding stretch marks.
Question: Does argan oil clog pores?
Answer: No, argan oil does not clog pores as it has the ability to get completely absorbed in the skin and assimilate.
Question: What components of argan oil provide antiseptic treatment?
Answer: Polyphenols are known to have antiseptic properties and squalene is known as a natural bactericide. These two compounds help reduce the possibility of infection in living tissues.