Celebrities swear by it. Scientists are in awe of it. Berber tribes of Morocco will bet their life on it.
So what is this enigmatic secret? In the southwestern regions of Morocco, there grows a miracle tree. Native people call it the “tree of life,” and it is known as the rare argan tree (Argania spinosa) that is a hardy desert plant only found in Morocco. The Berber people of Morocco have revered it for centuries, and the oil obtained from the argan fruit kernel, also known as the seed of life, has been used for medicinal, nutritive, and beautification purposes for hundreds of years. Extraction techniques are unchanged and after the ripe fruit is tenderly plucked from the tree, the bitter flesh is dried and the seed is removed from the hard inner shell using ancient techniques that have been passed down from one member of the tribe to the next.
After the seed is obtained, the skilled workers, mainly women, artfully extract the precious and rare oil, known popularly as “liquid gold,” which is considered to be one of the only naturally occurring substances known to man that offers a wealth of healing, regenerative, and rejuvenative properties. It is so precious that the argan tree has become the National Tree of Morocco and is a protected species that is handled with utmost care.
The scientific community is actively studying this miracle of nature, and what they have discovered is nothing short of astonishing. Chemical analysis and assays reveal that argan oil is brimming with mega-doses of anti-oxidants that have proven to have healing, lipid controlling, anti-tumor, cardio-protective, cell-protective, regenerative, and anti-inflammatory benefits.
It is has particularly shown immense benefits on skin, skin appendages (hair, nails, oil glands), and skin micro-vessels.
An interesting study evaluated a group of post-menopausal women who were given argan oil to treat dry skin. It was revealed that trans-epidermal water loss was greatly diminished after using argan oil as a moisturizer, indicating that active components within argan oil were responsible for maintaining and restoring epidermal barrier function, hence decreasing water loss from the skin surface, leading to softer, more hydrated skin.
What are the main active compounds found in argan oil that deem it a miracle remedy and a all-in-one natural anti-aging product for skin?
- Extremely high amounts (almost 92%) of potent antioxidant vitamers, known as tocopherols, namely vitamin E compounds
- Acylglycerols (95%)
- Unique fatty acid profile, mainly oleic acid (43%) and linoleic acid (36%)
- Other minor vitamers such as vanillic, syringic, and ferulic acids.
- Sugars, proteins and minerals.
It’s important to recognize fake or adulterated argan oil from the real deal. Since argan oil has gained wild popularity amongst the dermatological and cosmetic industry, a lot of unscrupulous companies have cropped up and are selling diluted, adulterated, or fake argan oil. Although one cannot be 100% sure as to the authenticity of the oil (unless you decide to take a trip to Morocco), there are some distinctive features that will differentiate adulterated from pure argan oil.
Important facts should you look out for when shopping for cosmetic Argan oil:
- Argan oil should be cold pressed and 95-100% pure.
- Be alerted when you see argan oil sold in large quantities for a cheap price. Pure argan oil is by no means a cheap, cosmetic oil, and if you are getting a “good deal,” just be wary that it might be diluted or fake. It is a rare and precious oil; that’s why it’s called liquid gold!
- When you apply the oil, it should absorb completely and immediately and not leave an oily residue. It should never feel sticky or unpleasant, in fact your skin oiliness or excessive shine will lessen with time.
- High quality, pure argan oil should have a slightly nutty earthy scent and not be heavily scented.
- The color should be very lightly translucent golden, not a yellowy gold.
- The oil itself should not totally transparent and often might have some natural sedimentation at the bottom of the bottle.
- The consistency should not be runny, but also not be thick or gelatinous. It should be smooth and slightly thick, slightly less thick than extra-virgin cold pressed olive oil, a little bit like sunflower oil.
- Should be free of additives, color, or perfumes.
- Pure argan oil will rarely cause an allergic reaction, in fact it will help reduce skin sensitivity, reduce inflammation and help in the healing processes of the skin.
- Should not have an unpleasant odor.
- Pure argan oil is sensitive to sunlight; therefore, when you purchase argan oil, make sure it comes in a dark tinted glass bottle or dispenser that is properly sealed.
- Finally, argan oil is harvested and extracted in Morocco, so ANY other oil is fake. Responsible and honest companies purchase pure argan oil directly from women cooperatives in Morocco, which not only helps the local economy but ensures product quality and purity.
Now that you have identified good quality argan oil and are pleased with your detective prowess, let’s examine all the wonderfully diverse cosmetic and medicinal benefits of this precious liquid gold that is a safe and natural skin care wonder for your entire family.
Known Benefits of Argan Oil
- Causes gradual reduction in fine wrinkles, age spots, and visible smoothening, increased elasticity, making it a natural and non-invasive anti-aging oil.
- Balanced sebum production, fewer acne eruptions, and refined pores; clear acne-free skin.
- Contains bioactive compounds, such as high levels of linoleic and oleic acids, tocopherols (especially γ-tocopherol), and minor compounds, such as sterols, carotenoids, and squalene, which lead to clinical-grade anti-aging results with optimal functionality of all skin layers and appendages (nail, cuticles, hair, oil glands).
- Cultivates soft and supple skin by providing intense hydration, reduces flakiness, and immediate reduction of dryness.
- Infuses skin cells with high doses of critical nutrients, minerals, and omega fatty acids that are essential for maintaining epidermal and dermal health, promoting nourished skin, hair, and nails.
- Protects the skin from developing cancer through cell protection and anti-proliferative ability.
- Promotes immediate reduction of redness, eczema, psoriasis, sunburns, skin sensitivity, and itchiness.
- Provides tonal clarity, enhanced luminosity, and brightening of skin; a radiant youthful complexion.
- It’s a naturally age-defying serum, leading to a total reduction in all the signs of sun-damaged skin.
- Increases skin cell immunity and enhanced overall skin function and health.
- Improves microcirculation leading to reduced puffy eyes and dark circles.
- Lessens facial redness, diminishes spider vessels and controls facial flushing; will benefit Rosacea.
- It’s a natural and highly effective anti-frizz hair oil.
- Also a complete treatment for brittle, fragile nails and unhealthy nail cuticles.
- Reduces dandruff and itchy scalp.
- It’s a superior moisturizer for chapped lips. Say hasta la vista to those greasy lip balms and waxy chapsticks; just a few drops of argan oil will make your lips desirously kiss-worthy.
- Accelerates healing of skin after procedures like microdermabrasion, mesotherapy, IPL, LED light treatment and chemical peels (a trade secret from me to you with love).
- Benefits elderly patients with extremely dry skin.
- Benefits children with eczema and itchy red skin, and helps in napkin dermatitis.
- Helps with winter’s itch, providing ultimate wintertime relief.
- Diminishes scars caused by acne or inflammation.
- Reduces stretch marks and pox scars when massaged regularly.
- Heals scalds, scratches, insect bites and shallow uninfected wounds.
Peace & Good Health,
Dr. Ansul is our skin care expert with a passion for holistic methods of achieving and maintaining healthy skin. Her more specific interests include Laser Dermatology, non-invasive IPL systems, and her thesis is applauded for its bold new look at the future of non-invasive light based technology. Dr. Ansul’s expertise has allowed her to help individuals and companies alike, and has also garnered ample amounts of critical acclaim in her field. In her articles for the BoomSpot, the blog of the online store theBoomShop.com, Dr. Ansul offers insight on how to achieve and maintain healthy skin. You can learn more about her work by visiting her company’s website, Cuticonscious.