Argan oil has been around for centuries. It is mainly grown in Morocco and has multiple uses and benefits. Argan oil has become increasingly prevalent in the cosmetic industry over the past decade. Due to drought and the relatively small geographical area the tree is grown, it is currently under the protection of UNESCO.
Argan oil is extracted from the fruit of the Argania Spinosa tree. This oil is almost exclusively produced in Morocco where the people have used it in traditional foods and topical ointments for over eight centuries. In recent years argan oil has become extremely popular in hair and skin care products all over the world. This vogue is due to more than its exotic origin. Researchers Zoubida Charrouf and Dominique Guillaume, who have written dozens of journal articles about the benefits of argan oil, discuss its traditional uses for acne, dry skin, psoriasis, eczema, skin inflammation and wrinkles.
Argan oil is produced in a number of oil grades, including edible oil. The popularity of the product in recent years has economically benefitted the south-western part of Morocco (one of the poorest areas in the country), where the argan forest covers over 8,000 . As an added benefit, this forest is claimed to be slowing the spread of desert in the region. Zoubida Charrouf, along with being a professor in Morocco, is also president of a non-profit organisation that helps start women’s co-operatives to make argan oil.
Researchers have identified several characteristics responsible for the skin-hydrating, free radical-neutralizing, blemish-healing and skin-elasticising properties of argan oil.
Firstly, It is theorised that it is the unique combination of fatty acids, tocopherals, squalene, sterols and phonelic compounds that is responsible for the health benefits of argan oil. Argan oil has high tocopherol (related to vitamin E) content relative to other vegetable oils. Tocopherols have strong antioxidant and free radical scavenger properties.
In addition, glycerides comprise up to 99% of argan oil, triglycerides contributing more than 95% to this component. Oleic and Linoleic acids (and omega-6) are the main fatty acids in these triglycerides. As a result, experts believe that there may be therapeutic potential in edible forms of argan oil as well. It has also been suggested that edible argan oil can help prevent diabetes and has anti-inflammatory properties. To date though, there is a lack of clinical data to support this and other medical applications, for example the claim that it may have chemo-protective effects.
Argan oil is generally prepared into edible argan oil, beauty argan oil and cosmetic argan oil. Edible argan oil is produced through a traditional method whereby the nut is manually extracted from the fruit, broken, mildly roasted, moistened with water and then cold-pressed by hand. Beauty argan oil is made under similar conditions to edible argan oil except that the nuts are not roasts, therefore the process is shorter. Cosmetic argan oil is prepared using a solvent extraction method.
Sterling Beards uses cosmetic grade, cold-pressed, Australian Certified Organic (11515) argan oil in all beard oils.
Charrouf, Z., & Guillaume, D. (2008). Argan oil: Occurrence, composition and impact on human health. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology , 632-636.
Charrouf, Z., & Guillaume, D. (1999). Ethnoeconomical, ethnomedical, and phytochemical study of Argania Spinosa. Journal of Ethnopharmacology , 7-14.
Guillaume, D., & Charrouf, Z. (2011). Argan Oil. Alternative Medicine Review , 275-279.
Johannes, L. (2012, June 11). Hard Nut to Crack: Beauty and Antioxidant Oil. The Wall Street Journal .
Khallouki, F., Younos, C., Soulimani, R., Oster, T., Charrouf, Z., Spiegelhalder, B., et al. (2003). Consumption of argan oil (Morocco) with its unique profile of fatty acids, tocopherols, squalene, sterols and phenolic compounds should confer valuable cancer chemopreventive effects. European Journal of Cancer Prevention , 67-75.
Monfalouti, H., Guillaume, D., Denhez, C., & Charrouf, Z. (2010). Therapeutic potential of argan oil: a review. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology , 1669-1675.