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Argan oil – Benefits for the skin

Argan oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree or Argania Spinosa found solely in Morocco, East Africa. It is tradiitonally known for its cardioprotective qualities and used in the treatment of skin infections (Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014)

It is extracted from the nut of the small round fruit.  The nut contains approximately 30%-50% oil depending on the way it is extracted.  To extract the kernels, the argan is first dried in the open air and then the fleshy pulp is removed and that pulp/flesh is used as animal feed.  Berber women crash the argan nut to extract the argan kernel by hand and then gently roast the kernels to make culinary argan oil.  Once coolded they grind and press the roasted kernels to express the unfiltered argan oil.  The remaining solid matter is pressed into a cake and used as food for cattle.

The argan often used in cosmetics is produced in the same way however the kernels are unroasted to avoid the nutty scent.   It is then left to rest for approximately 2 weeks to allow the sediment to fall to the bottom and the clear argan oil is further filtered until it reaches the desired quality.  Our argan oil is ultra filtered so that it has no nutty scent, sediment and a naturally long shelf life.

Close up of argan nuts in a row on a white background. Horizontal studio shot.

Fatty acid content and general properties

Oleic acid – 42%

Linoleic acid – 36%

Palmitic acid – 12%

Stearic acid – 6%

Linolenic acid – 0.5%

ANTI-OXIDANT 

Although argan oil is fairly high in unsaturated fatty acids, its rich tocopherol (vitamin e) content means that it has a fairly long shelf life, making it invaluable for use in cosmetics. It is also rich in phenolic acids which make it a good anti oxidant both internally  and externally.

A study this year found that Argan oil was effective at treating and aided healing in second degree burn victims

These results suggest argan oil is effective in healing experimentally created second-degree burns in rats. Prospective, randomized, controlled clinical studies are needed to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and effectiveness of this treatment modality for patients with second-degree burn wounds. (Avsar, U et al 2016)

PENETRATION ENHANCER

Recent research has found that argan oil acts as a delivery agent for other skin caring ingredients such as allantoin (Manca et al, 2016, Int J Pharm.)

DECREASES TRANS EPIDERMAL WATER LOSS (TEWL)

In 2014 Boucetta KQ et al studied Argan oils effects taken internally and externally, on skin hydration and TEWL in post menopausal woman. their study found that the consumption of argan oil led to a decrease in TEWL and an increase in water content. The application of argan oil also led to a significant decease in TEWL and increase in water content of the epidermis.  They concluded

”Our findings suggest that the daily consumption and application of argan oil have improved theskin hydration by restoring the barrier function and maintaining the water-holding capacity.’

ANTI AGEING AND SKIN ELASTICITY

Another study by Boucetta et al (2015) found that Argan oil both consumed and applied topically could have a benefitial effect on skin elasticity.  Again they tested the effects of argan oil on post menopausal women. It is known that the decrease in estrogen in post menopause brings about the disruption of skin functioning which causes a decliine in skin elasticity – one of the signs of skin ageing.  Their study of 60 postmenopausal woman who both injested and used argan topically found that argan oil significantly increased gross elasticity of the skin, net elasticity of the skin and biological elasticity of the skin. They concluded that daily consuption and or topical application of argan oil has an antiageing effect on the skin. (Clin Interv Aging. 2015)

Clearly there is a reason why Argan oil is a favourite of Berber woman and it has definitely grown in popularity all over the world.

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