Argan Oil is an exceptional oil, and until recently it was a little known secret of the nomadic Berber tribes of Morocco. Protected by UNESCO, the Argan tree, which grows only in southern Morocco is an important species not only for its virtuous oil, but also for helping to prevent encroachment by the Sahara desert.
It is collected with only the ripe fruits being knocked off the tree. The fruits are gathered and sun-dried. The pulp is removed then the nut-like inner cases are cracked by Berber women between two stones (a hammer stone and stone anvil) in the time mannered tradition, revealing several kernels. The oil bearing kernel is then cold-pressed. It takes the combined harvest of 6-7 trees to create 1 liter of precious oil.
The molecular composition of argan oil is such that it is smaller than the pores of human skin and thus, readily absorbable. Other oils that you may put on your skin tend to lay on the surface, without absorbing. Olive oil, for example, also has some good skin enhancing qualities, however, it doesn’t absorb into the skin as well as argan oil.
– It stimulates the skin’s defense against environmental factors to help prevent damage.
– It reinforces the hydro-lipid layer for better skin hydration.
– It renews the skin’s structure and speeds up micro-circulation in order to slow down the aging process.
– It can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scar tissue.
– It accelerates cell oxygenation for a more elastic, soft and luminous skin
– It is absorbed in seconds; it hydrates dry skin, drains oily skins and rejuvenates dull skin.
– It is effective against acne, with it’s anti-bacterial properties, helping to heal the skin without creating flakiness and redness
– It soothes problem skin including psoriasis and eczema.
– It conditions and strengthens both the hair and nails.
– skin irritations
– dry or oily skin
– delicate facial skin.
The following is a list of some of the key compounds naturally present in Argan Oil:
Fatty Acids 99% (Major constituents)
Oleic (Omega 9) 45.3—46.9
Linoleic (Omega 6) 31.6—35.0
Palmitic 12—13.9 Stearic 5.5—5.7
Oleic Acid (omega-9) is an essential fatty acid (can not be made by the body) of the monosaturated group. It can be derived from both plant and animal sources. It is found in all cell membranes where it helps the cells to perform their vital functions. It has an anti-inflamatory function, decreases wrinkles and helps in skin regeneration.
Linoleic Acid (omega-6) Also an essential fatty acid and precursor of vitamin F, linoleic acid helps to preserve cell integrity and stimulates the contractions of blood vesels reducing inflamation. It is associated with reducing the signs of eczema, psoriasis and with clearing acne and rosacea. Argan oil contains three times the quantity of linoleic acid as olive oil. There is an excess of oleic acid in the sebum of acne sufferers, linoleic acid can help resore the fluidity of the sebum, giving relief.
Vitamin E contains important anti-oxidants. It is a fat soluable vitamin which exists in 8 different forms (isomers), Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma-Tocopherols and Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma-Tocotrienols. They are a powerful anti-oxidant protecting the lipid structures from oxidation and free radical damage. In deactivating free radicals they stimulate cell oxygenation. This process restores the hydrophilic layer making the skin smoother, more elastic and more radiant reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In Argan oil 75mg/100g of the total tocopherols is gamma-tocpherol which protects against nitrogen-based free radicals associated with ageing. Gamma-tocopheral is currently being studied as a cancer preventative. Tocotrienols, also found in argan oil, has a 50 times greater anti-oxidant potential than that of tocopherols!
Squalene which regenerates, nourishes and hydrates the skin is contained in high quantities in Argan Oil (310mg/100g). Squalene forms 5-8% of the sebum which is naturally secreted by the skin to provide a protective and softening barier on the surface, it binds and absorbs fat soluable toxins helping the skin to eliminate them from the body. Sometimes the sebum produced by the body is too thick, clogging the pores – squalene helps restore the viscuous balance and self-cleansing of the pores, which would otherwise invite bacterial infection. Importantly squalene deactivates a kind of free radical caused by exposure to UV radiation, it has antibacterial properties and is suggested to protect against skin cancer.
Sterols boost moisture retention in hair and skin. In Argan Oil the plant-based sterols comprise Schottenol (48% of the sterols) with anti-carcinogenic potential, and Spinasterol (40% of the sterols) with probable anti-tumeric effects, they may also help the T-cells of the immune system destroy cells containing viruses. These sterols are rarely found in vegetable oil and although a similar substance from shark livers is being marketed, ethical consumers should shy away from the animal derived form.
Xanthophyll, a form of carotene, has been shown to modify the skin’s response to ultra-violet radiation.
While many high-end and pricey cosmetics contain these compounds, often in isolation and often synthetically formed, nothing can be better than to use the ‘whole’ oil containing a natural range