Argan oil is one of those ingredients that most people are aware of. It is most famous for its benefits to the hair and is a very common ingredient in products like shampoo and conditioner.
But did you know that you can also use argan oil for skin? If you want to start incorporating argan oil into your skin care routine, but aren’t sure where to start, keep reading below for six ways to use argan oil for skin.
What is Argan Oil?
Native to Morocco, the argan tree (Argania spinosa) produces a small, round fruit that contains a hard-shelled pit, which is encased in a layer of pulp. The kernel, which lies within the pulp, is where the beautiful argan oil is found.
Argan oil is usually extracted by hand, which is one of the reasons it is more expensive than some other oils. The kernels are ground and pressed so the oil can be extracted.
The traditional uses of argan oil have been as a wound healing oil, dietary oil and to help the hair look shiny and healthy. Argan oil has a nutty, rich flavour and scent, making it an appealing oil to douse your locks and skin in.
the good: Argan oil is mainly used to improve the appearance of your hair. However it also may help to support the skin’s natural barrier and improve the moisture content of the skin.
the not so good: As a plant-based oil, argan oil contains a number of different compounds. This complexity can increase the likelihood of irritation and sensitivity.
Who is it for? All skin types except those that have an identified allergy to it.
Synergetic ingredients: Works well with most ingredients.
Keep an eye on: If you have congestive skin, this ingredient may be something you want to use for your hair, rather than your skin.
What Are The Benefits Of Argan Oil?
Argan oil is made up of a number of different compounds such as nutrients, such as fatty acids, tocopherols, polyphenols, and more.
These fatty acids help to support natural barrier function of the skin and may possess soothing abilities to angry or irritated skin. Unlike the name suggests, these fatty acids aren’t like other acids you may be familiar with in skincare. They are generally non-irritating and actually provide the skin with a source of fat which is essential to helping to protect your skin from damage and irritation.
Argan oil is composed mostly of fatty acids but it also contains gamma-tocopherol which is a form of vitamin E. Vitamin E helps to scavenge free radicals, preventing the damage that they cause. Free radicals are unstable, highly reactive molecules that are produced by oxidative stress. They can contribute to signs of aging such as loss of elasticity, fine lines, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.
Polyphenols are also present in argan oil which are plant-based compounds that have been suggested to help support free radical scavenging and may help with mitigating the damage caused by UV rays. One of the most notable polyphenols is ferulic acid.
Six Ways To Use Argan Oil For Your Skin
1. Skin moisturizer
Argan oil can be used as a mositurizing oil. The fatty acids help to maintain the skin’s natural barrier and keep your skin hydrated. The skin’s natural barrier is made up of dead skin cells (they actually serve a purpose – don’t overexfoliate them), oils, ceramide, cholesterol and natural moisturizing factors. The skin barrier helps to protect the skin from bacteria, allergens and irritation as well as keeping in water that hydrates the skin.
Argan oil also contains an ingredient called squalane which is produced by the skin. Squalane helps to balance the skin’s natural oils and helps to add to the protection of the skin.
One of the main benefits of these oils and fatty acids is they help to prevent what is known as transepidermal water loss or TEWL. TEWL refers to when the skin loses water to the air in the form of vapour. This can contribute to dull skin, dryness, dehydration and the appearance of fine lines. TEWL most commonly occurs when the skin barrier is damaged or disrupted which can occur with overexfoliation, use of harsh products or with conditions such as eczema and dermatitis.
There is some evidence to suggest that argan oil may be soothing to the skin. This may be particularly useful when you are experiencing periods or irritation or when the skin is angry and inflamed from breakouts. This is in part one of the reasons argan oil was traditionally used to treat conditions such as eczema.
Argan oil is non-comedogenic which means that it is unlikely to clog your pores. This is great news if you are someone who experiences acne, in particular acne with disrupted skin barrier or irritation.
As argan oil contains many compounds that are similar to the skin’s natural oils, there is some research that suggests it may help to balance your oil production and support your skin barrier.
4. Oil Cleanser
Argan oil can be used as an oil cleanser or a first cleanser if you are double cleansing your skin. Argan oil is great for taking off makeup and dissolving oil based products.
Argan oil may help to reduce some of the visible signs of aging. Due to the presence of antioxidants, phyrosterols, fatty acids and squalane, argan oil may help to hydrate the skin and reduce the damage caused by free radicals and UV rays.
6. Carrier oil
Another way to use argan oil for skin is as a carrier oil. Carrier oils are used to dilute other oils like essential oils to make them safer and less irritating to the skin.
Is Argan Oil Good For Your Hair?
Argan oil helps to improve the appearance of your hair by coating the hair cuticle and improving the reflection of light. This gives the hair its shiny, healthy appearance. It may also help reduce the occurrence of split ends.
Is Argan Oil Good For Nails?
Argan oil may also help to improve the health of your cuticles and protect the skin from peeling and cracking.
Is Argan Oil Safe?
Argan oil is considered to be safe. However, as it is a plant-based ingredient, it is more complex than non-plantbased ingredients. This can increase the risk of irritation and sensitivity.
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel, a group responsible for the independent review of skincare ingredients has reviewed argan oil. They found the oil to be safe in its current uses and concentrations.
Lizard G, Filali-Zegzouti Y, Midaoui AE. Benefits of Argan Oil on Human Health-May 4-6 2017, Errachidia, Morocco. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(7):1383. Published 2017 Jun 28.
Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27.