The Ultimate Guide to Argan Oil
- November 7, 2017
The Ultimate Guide to Argan Oil
The Ultimate Guide to Argan Oil
Argan Tree is lovingly called the “Tree of Life” in Morrocco, the place the botanical is native to. Did you know that the locals of the region use the oil extracted from the fruits of the tree to treat common ailments and as an essential part of their beauty regimen?
Interestingly enough, the oil of Argan is known as “Liquid Gold” which is hardly surprising considering its immense health benefits. The oil was also used in Berber folk practices to heal skin illnesses and rheumatism. It is also commonly included in many cosmetic formulations and possesses moisturizing properties.
Argan carrier oil is widely used on the hair and the skin and will enhance their texture, making them strong while keeping them well hydrated. It also has powerful conditioning properties. The great thing is that the oil does not leave any residue.
The oil can also heal irritated and inflamed skin and remove scarring. It balances the natural oil production on the skin and helps retain moisture.
Historical Background of Argan Oil
Argan is endemic to the Berber state in the southwestern part of Morocco. It is called the Argan tree or the ArganiaSpinosa tree and is lovingly termed the “tree of life”. The tree is said to trace its origins to the village called Argana and is known most for the “liquid gold” that it yields. The oil is extracted from the kernels of the fruits.
The oil was also used by Morocco’s Amazing communities and has been known to remove blemishes and heal rheumatic conditions. It is still used as a powerful ingredient in many pharmaceutical and cosmetic products.
Argan oil is said to have been used by the Phoenicians far back as in 1550 BCE. It was used to heal a number of conditions and was an essential component of many beauty formulations. It was used to condition the hair and the skin.
The Berbers of North Africa have been using Argan oil in a variety of contexts. The fruits of the tree find numerous uses. They are often preferred by the goats who feast upon them. They would often leave the hard nut behind that contained the kernel with the oil.
Leo Africanus, the explorer is believed to have discovered Argan Oil during his Morocco travels in 1510. The oil was then introduced to the European regions but it is believed that only the affluent could afford to purchase it.
Legends of the extraordinary beauty of the Berber women live on, and it is believed to be the magic of argan oil.
Argan carrier oil’s health benefits have been widely recognized in recent years by scientists. They have found that the oil is a treasure trove of antioxidants that help it rejuvenate the skin, hair, and the nails.
The oil helps keep the skin youthful and is an essential component of numerous cosmetic formulas. Today, this magical oil from Morocco is used across the globe and is a favorite of those who prefer natural ingredients over synthetic, and often harmful chemicals.
The Chemical Composition of Argan Carrier Oil
Argan oil traces its numerous health benefits, in large part, to the chemical compounds that constitute the elixir. In this section, we will see what these compounds are and how each of these adds to the powerful properties of this oil.
- Keeps the skin supple, radiant, and soft
- Helps maintain stronger, luscious, and thicker hair
- Reduces aging signs such as fine lines and premature wrinkles
- Removes dandruff and stimulates hair growth
- Promotes high immunity levels
- Antioxidant characteristics
- Removes joint pain and stiffness
- Promotes the growth of healthy hair
- Helps wounds heal faster
- Used as an emulsifier in quick-drying oil formulations and soaps.
- Has strong anti-inflammatory characteristics
- Removes acne and protects against their occurrence in the future
- Helps in maintaining moisture levels in the hair and the skin
- Keeps oils thinner in texture and consistency which makes them suitable for skin that is prone to acne
- Works as an emollient
- Makes the hair soft and does not leave any residue
- Considered a common saturated acid
- Cleanses the skin, removing all sweat, dirt, and sebum from the skin and the hair
- Powerful emulsifier that holds oil and water together
- Extends the shelf life of products
- Protects the skin and hair from damage
- Maintains the luster of hair and makes them stronger
- Cleanses the tissues and softens the skin
- Reduces inflammation
- Helps control the clotting of blood
- Removes joint pain and improves flexibility levels
- Considered an essential Omega-3 fatty acid
The oil is known to improve the texture and appearance of the skin when applied cosmetically and will also promote the growth of the hair. It is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids and will keep the skin hydrated and conditioned. It will also soften the tissues without leaving behind any residues.
The oil will make the skin smoother, firm, and soften it, making it more elastic. This also reduces the wrinkles on the skin, if any.
When applied to skin that is prone to acne, the oil reduces inflammation and will also soothe irritation. It will also help the skin retain moisture levels and will reduce scarring signs.
The oil removes stretch marks and promotes the growth of new tissues. This makes the skin supple and youthful. The oil can also be applied to the hair and helps keep frizziness at bay. It also makes hair shinier and makes hair manageable.
The oil also has numerous medicinal uses and is known to provide relief to skin that is damaged and irritated. It will also protect the skin from itchiness and dehydration. You can apply the oil to skin that is affected by exposure to the sun. It can treat sore skin too.
If you feel pain in the skin, the oil can come in handy as well. The oil helps skin tissues regenerate themselves. Argan oil also has powerful antimicrobial characteristics and will heal infected, cracked, sore, and burned skin.
It will balance the melanin and pH levels of the skin and protect it against harmful UV radiation. The oil, with its anti-inflammatory compounds, will relieve swelling and pain that are caused by arthritis. It will also heal other joint aches and pains.
The oil thus has a number of therapeutic uses. Let us summarize these now.
Medicinal: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-microbial, Analgesic, Regulating, Anti-fungal, Stimulating, Detoxicant, Tonic
Cosmetic: Regulating, Antioxidant, Anti-fungal, Detoxicant, Tonic
How is Argan Oil Cultivated?
The Argan tree is endemic to Morocco’s Haha Coast area. This region is along the Atlantic coast and is well-suited to the tree’s growth. The tree is thick, low, and broad and has leather-like leaves in terms of texture.
The branches have long thorns. Several attempts have been made to grow the tree in other regions across the world. However, most of them have failed.
The tree has deep, long root systems that are firm. The stems are tough too. The tree grows well in soils that are chalky and thin. Morocco’s arid environment where the temperature can reach 50 degrees Celsius helps the plant grow well. The stems and roots of the tree help check excessive water loss.
The tree is also resistant to winds and helps keep a check on soil erosion. The tree can survive well in difficult conditions and can live for well up to two and a half centuries.
The tree becomes mature after about 50 years and begins producing fruits. These fruits are yellow-green and house the kernels that are found in hard shells. The shells contain small seeds.
There are some 3 seeds in each kernel and the seeds yield the Argan oil.
The Process of Extraction of Argan Oil
The fruit of the Argan tree is round, conical, or oval and is small in size. Once it ripens, it will fall down from the tree. This typically happens in the summer months. The fruits are never picked.
The outer layer of the fruit has a thick peel that protects the pulp inside. This pulp secures the nut that has a hard shell. The nut accounts for about one-fourth of the weight of the fruit. It secures some 3 kernels that yield the oil.
The kernels produce oil varying from 30 to 50% based on the method used for extraction. About 30 kg of Argan nuts is used to yield 1 kg of oil.
Interestingly, the oil was initially extracted after goats would climb the Argan tree and feast on the fruits. The husks of the fruits would pass through the digestive systems of the goats and the kernel was then obtained from the droppings. This greatly simplified the extraction process.
The modern extraction process, however, is more hygiene-oriented and starts at the process of the collection of the fruit itself. The co-operative organizations continue to operate along the coasts where the trees grow. The fruits are ground by hand and the oil is extracted for use in cosmetic formulations.
The nut is hard enough and rocks are used to crack it open to obtain the oil inside.
During the extraction process, the fruits are collected and then dried in the open air. The pulp is then eliminated using hands and some manufacturers prefer to remove this pulp without drying the fruits.
The nut is cracked open to yield the kernels. This is done using stones as mechanical processes often fail. This is a tedious and time-consuming endeavor. Once the shells are out, they are ground and are utilized in pottery. They are also used as exfoliating agents in cosmetics.
The kernels are ground mechanically and cold-pressed which yields the unrefined, pure, Argan oil. It is in the form of a brown mash. This Argan oil is poured into vessels and allowed to remain undisturbed for 14 days. The solids settle at the bottom and are removed. The oil is then filtered to increase its clarity and purity.
The Benefits of Argan Oil
There are numerous uses of Argan oil that range from cosmetic to medicinal. It is used for making candles, soaps, sprays, gels, oils, and lotions.
It is often used as a non-greasy moisturizer that is absorbed quickly and is used as a bedtime serum to balance the oil production in the skin and also to soothe acne. It also helps to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, scars, and wrinkles. After cleaning the face with a cleanser, you can apply Argan carrier oil on the neck and the face in a circular gentle motion.
It can also be applied to the body and especially to the areas that are stiff and sore. Argan oil hydrates, softens, and makes the skin strong. It is also known to increase the elasticity of the skin. It can also be applied as a moisturizer on the nails, feet, and hands.
It is known to cure damaged hair and skin. It is also known to cure split ends of the hair and cracked skin.
Argan oil is used as a leave-in conditioner and in hair masks to repair hair damage, dryness, and split ends. It is used to make the hair manageable and smooth. Apply Argan oil from the hair roots to the tips and allow it to get absorbed into the scalp. Massage gently with the fingertips, this will increase hair growth and stimulate circulation.
Argan oil conditioner increases the shine of the hair, nourishes them so that the hair become rich, strong, and healthy. It is also known to cure the dryness of the scalp, dandruff, and promote hair growth. This treatment of Argan oil on the hair increases the length and thickness of the hair and improves the texture.