Argan Oil: Beauty and Therapeutic Uses
Beauty and Therapeutic Uses of Argan Oil
We all want better looking skin, hair and nail. Who doesn’t? The Berber women of Morocco have long found a natural way to promote that—Argan oil, harvested from nuts that grow in their native soil. They slather argan oil on their skin, hair, nails and even on their babies. Argan oil is supposed to have restorative and rejuvenating qualities, coaxing glow out of dull skin, reducing the appearances of wrinkles and adding shine to lackluster hair. They need no expensive moisturizer or hair-revitalizing shampoos. All their beauty needs are met by the use of argan oil—nature’s solution to harsh and dry semi-arid desert conditions. While the French and the Europeans have known this for a while, the therapeutic and beauty uses of argan oil is just making inroads into the rest of the world. Argan oil is now used extensively in cosmetic and beauty products and there are reasons for this.
Argan Oil Tree
Without the tree, there will be no oil
Argan trees, specifically Argania spinosa, grow in the southwestern part of Morocco. The squat gnarly looking trees thrive in the desert heat and they date back some 25,000 years ago. Once they covered North Africa, today, they are considered endangered and have come under the protection of UNESCO. Their deep root systems enable the trees to survive the severe weather conditions. When nature is subjected to extreme weather conditions, they tend to produce potent nutrients as is the case with argan nuts. The nuts look like a cross between a walnut and almond was first reported by explorer Leo Africanus in 1510.
The Magic is in the oil
The oil is extracted from the nuts by cracking the nuts between two stones by hand. It’s very labor intensive and it takes a few days to extract one liter of pure argan oil. Raw argan oil is used for beauty and therapeutic purposes whereas the oil from roasted argan nuts is used for cooking.
Often referred to as liquid gold, it is, perhaps not without basis. Argan oil is reputedly loaded with skin-beneficial nutrients, hydrating essential fatty acids, potent antioxidants to fight cellular damage and polyphenols that are three times higher than vitamin E.
An analysis of the pure Moroccan argan oil reveals the following components:
Vitamin F is made up of two essential fatty acids: linoleic acid (or omega-3 fatty acid) and alpha-linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acids). They are responsible for a number of health functions including generating healthy cell membranes, synthesis of tissue lipids, regulating cholesterol levels, boosting immune system and promoting normal growth and development. In terms of skin health, vitamin F brings about cell regeneration to give suppleness and a more youthful appearance. By that token, it will treat wrinkles, dryness and premature aging skin.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known to neutralize free radicals that can damage cells and cause a number of health problems including skin inflammation, cardiovascular diseases and various types of cancer. Vitamin E not only offers ultraviolet radiation protection, it is anti-inflammatory and promotes cutaneous micro-circulation—all beneficial for good skin.
Phenols are plants metabolites found richly in tea, coffee, berries and various brightly-colored fruits. They act as antioxidants and exert anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. They aid blood circulation and activates vitamin C. Given these characteristics, it is no wonder than argan oil is often used to treat acne, scars and psoriasis.
Squalene is a natural organic compound found primarily in shark liver oil and in certain plant sources such as amaranth seeds, wheat germ, rice bran, olives and argan oil. Squalene is a component of the skin surface lipids and helps the skin stay healthy and supple.
Rich moisturizer for skin
If you’re wondering how you can use argan oil, here are a few suggestions.
Moisturizes and Nourishes Skin
Skin battle harsh elements every day and age is no friend either. With time and the ravages of time, skin can become dry and dull—a good canvas for wrinkles, scowls and furrows Argan oil is naturally rich in skin-replenishing nutrients. It boosts the natural phenols and tocophenols found in the skin to reduce wrinkles and fine lines.
Argan oil is easily absorbed and does not leave an oily, sticky feel. You can use argan oil before you put on your make-up. Under make-up, it serves to moisturize and since it has an inbuilt sun protection factor (depending on brand, it’s anywhere between 30 to 50 spf), it will also protect skin against sun radiation (the main course of photoaging). Use a drop of argan oil and mix it in with your regular moisturizer and apply to face. You can also use argan oil on its own. Add foundation if needed.
For a more satisfying, nourishing effect, apply argan oil solo on clean skin before you go to bed.
Argan Oil for Conditioning Hair
Conditions and Promotes Healthy Hair
Fact or myth—men are more attracted to women with beautiful healthy hair? According to studies, that’s a fact. If you’re looking to add more shine to dry and dull hair, allow argan oil to moisturize and nourish your hair. Simply coat hair with argan oil-start from the ends and work your way along the whole length of hair. If you’ve excessively dry damaged hair, massage argan oil into scalp. Cover with a towel and leave it on for 30 minutes. Allow the hydrating essential fatty acids to pamper and revitalize hair. Shampoo and rinse off after that.
Is your body tensed and stressed? Massaging your body after a shower or bath with argan oil can ease tensed muscles and seal in moisture. You can choose to mix argan oil with body lotion and then massage into skin or use pure argan oil with carrier oils. Since argan oil has anti-inflammatory properties, massaging the body with it or using it with other beneficial oils can also provide relief from sore joints and muscles. May provide pain relief from those suffering from rheumatism or arthritis.
Try this argan oil massage blend:
- ½ ounce of argan oil
- ½ ounce of jojoba oil
- ½ ounce of grapeseed oil
- 10 to 20 drops of ylang ylang essential oil (or essential oil of choice--different essential oil does different things)
Combine all the above and apply it directly to body, massaging into skin. If you’re sensitive to essential oil, try it on a small patch of skin before proceeding.
Other Uses and More
You can tap the anti-inflammatory characteristic of argan oil to treat various skin problems such as dry and inflamed skin, sunburn, acne, psoriasis, eczema and stretch marks.
Chapped lips or brittle nails? Slather a drop or two of argan oil on problem areas and allow the moisturizing power of argan oil to work its magic.
Read about the argan oil rage here:
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