Argan oil comes from roasted kernels of argan fruits. Argan is scientifically known as Argania spinosa. This tree grows in the Mediterranean region, particularly in Morocco. The tree itself has small leaves and is full of thorns. The fruits have a pulpy cap surrounding a hard nut which contains the oil rich seeds. These fruits take about a year to grow.
After the fruits have been harvested during June and July, is followed by a highly labor intensive work of removal of the pulp and cracking of the nut with stones for seed extraction. The seeds are roasted and then turned into paste by grinding them and the oil is squeezed.
This is an old method and is still used by many women in rural Morocco for obtaining argan oil. As argan tree does not grow anywhere else except for in Morocco and in some parts of Israel, argan oil has been an exotic oil from the very beginning, and today it is a luxury product with good demand in Europe and North America.
Some of the benefits of argan oil for babies include
Treatment for eczema: Traditionally, argan oil has been used by Moroccans for reducing eczema and psoriasis. The oil is to be applied on the affected areas and massage has to be given on a daily basis.
Reduces diaper rashes: Diaper rashes are common problem for babies. When massaged with argan oil, it reduces the diaper rashes to a great extent. Applying just few drops of the oil on the affected area for few days will give a positive result.
Regular massaging: Another usage of argan oil is regular massage on the whole body. Unlike baby oil products which are made from petroleum based chemicals, using a natural oil like argan oil for regular massage will be much more beneficial to your baby.
Apply on baby’s scalp: Cradle cap is a skin disease also known as seborrheic dermatitis. This is an inflammatory condition but does not cause any itches to the baby. Doctors think that fungal infection is behind cradle cap. Applying a natural oil like argan oil on the scalp is also beneficial in clearing cradle cap in babies within few days.
Good conditioner for hair: Apart from applying argan oil to reduce cradle cap, it is also beneficial to apply argan oil on your baby’s scalp as a conditioner for hair. It softens the hair and reduces the frizzyness of the hair.
Apart from these benefits of argan oil for babies, it is also useful for adults in many other ways. Here are few benefits for adults.
Useful as a skin softener: Argan oil with its rich unsaturated fatty acids is highly beneficial for application on skin. These essential fatty acids prevent your skin from drying and act as one of the best natural moisturizers.
Reduces skin rashes and scars: Skin rashes, scars and blemishes are reduced by applying argan oil. Your skin gets revitalized and hydrated. Thus, the scars or rashes will slowly disappear from the skin.
Reduces stretch marks on skin: Most women after delivery face the issue of stretch marks. Some times these stretch marks can persist for months. One of the best ways to reduce these stretch marks is by applying argon oil. Regular application of argon oil reduces stretch marks to a great extent.
Reduces Eczema and psoriasis: Eczema and psoriasis is reduced only in babies, but it is also true in the case of adults applying argan oil. Applying argan oil induces the skin to heal. Once the healing starts, the itching sensation is also reduced significantly.
Softens heels: One advantage of argon oil is that it can be used for applying cracked heels. As heels are made up of hard skin, it can take much to heal than regular soft skin. Apart from this, the hard skin has less moisture compared to soft skin. Hence, applying argon oil on cracked heels can make it heal faster.
No dull and brittle hair any more: Start applying argan oil on your hair and you’ll notice that your dull, split ends and brittle hair is rejuvenated. Just take few drops of the oil, spread it across your hands and start applying on your hair from scalp to the end. After just few days of application, you’ll notice the change yourself.
Apart from these cosmetic benefits, argan oil has some proven therapeutic properties as well.
Prevents obesity and cardiovascular disease: According to one research, regular consumption of argan oil which has high unsaturated essential fatty acids, phenolic compounds like phytosterols and tocopherols the risk of obesity, hypercholesterolemia and cardiac disease is reduced drastically.
Reduces the risk of hypothyroidism: Consuming argan oil on a regular basis also reduced the risk of developing hypothyroidism. The unsaturated fatty acids have a property of preventing the development of hypothyroidism.
Reduces the risk of developing diabetes: Argan oil consumption also has a benefit of reducing the risk of diabetes. But, this property has only been observed in lab rats. But, the results have been quite promising.
Improves the immune system: Another important benefit from argan oil is that it improves the immune response in immune cells. The study also showed that the immune response given by argan oil is very similar to that of olive oil.
Cancer chemoprotective property: Another very important therapeutic property of argan oil is that it offers chemoprotective effect. This is due to the fact that argan oil is rich in γ-tocopherol , a powerful antioxidant in the tocopherol family.
Why is argon oil priced very high? And why can’t it be cheap just like other oils?
This is the one question that many people ask when they hear about argan oil. The reason is pretty simple. Argan oil is a highly labor intensive product. It takes lot of physical labor to make few liters of the oil. And the process to make it also involves lot of step to go through. Thus, making it a pricey oil in the first place. Apart from this, the argan trees that produce the fruits from the which the oil is extracted is under threat of deforestation. The chances are that the tree growing anywhere else except for in Morocco is very less. Hence, argan tree is becoming an exotic tree in its own land. Some people further argue that not all brands of argan oil bought even in Morocco might not be 100% genuine or original. The oil is either diluted or is just one of the ingredients.
This brings us to the tricks for identifying argan oil.
Tricks to identify argan oil
- Argan oil has a mild nutty flavor. Some people also think of this flavor as popcorn flavor or the smell of a rubber band. The scent almost disappears after coming into contact with your skin. But, if the oil either has strong smell or no smell at all, then it might not be original.
- Argan oil has a smooth texture which is either not too sticky or not too watery. The oily nature quickly disappears once it is applied on the skin. And it gives a soothing effect to the applied area.
- As argan oil can be broadly divided into two types, one is culinary oil and the other is cosmetic oil, there is a slight difference in the color as well. While culinary argan oil is almost brown in color, cosmetic argan oil is golden brown in color. The difference in color comes from the way these both oils are made. While preparing culinary oil, the nuts are roasted, but in case of cosmetic oil, the nuts are not roasted.