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Using Argan Oil on the Face
Using argan oil on the face is something that the Berber women, who harvest the kernels of the argan tree fruit, have been doing for thousands of years. In more recent times, the rest of the world are finally catching up! This ‘liquid gold’ has many uses, but it has wondrous benefits for the face. This article will describe how it can give your face the extra tender loving care it needs.
Argan oil is also known as Moroccan oil, as it grows almost exclusively in Morocco, where harvesting and extracting the oil from the kernels is many women’s livelihood. This process is a tradition that is passed down, connecting women to past and future generations, and strengthening their sense of community and connection to each other. As one of the rarest oils in the world, it has a small growing area in Morocco and a high demand.
A History of Morocco’s Treasured Oil
It has been since at least 600 BCE of practising the tradition of extracting oil from the argan nut kernel that has led to the modern day media hype surrounding this amber coloured bottle of goodness. The Berber women have been perfecting their technique all this time, sitting together in circles as they pound the stones of the argan nut’s tough outer shell. Goats climb the trees to reach the delicious fruit, and in the process they help the Berber women by knocking the nuts off the tree.
Argan oil was first introduced in the 1500s to Europe, however, its popularity did not rise. Farmers started to place more value on other crops like oranges and tomatoes. Organisations such as UNESCO started to promote cultivation in the 20th century to protect the argan tree in its small growing area.
A professor and researcher at the Mohammed V University, Zoubida Charrouf, began making efforts to protect the tree, arguing that the argan tree could provide economic benefit to the region, and the environment. At the university, Charrouf and her team carried out research which confirmed the anti-oxidant properties and formulated methods to increase quality and production. In 1996, Charrouf founded oil-producing cooperatives, which the Moroccan government supported.
Machines may have been introduced in the modern day to help the process, but estimations suggest that around 5000 women are now employed to carry on the tradition of cracking the nut and producing the oil.
It is believed that the quality of life for Moroccan women has improved and that the co-operative initiative has helped attitudes change towards the education, working life and independence of women. As long as the company you are buying from is ethical and certified organic, using argan oil on the face, or for other purposes, can only contribute to improving the Berber women’s lives.
Let’s Talk About Using Argan Oil on the Face...
Firstly, Argan oil is rich in the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid, which is like a magic ingredient for treating acne. Linoleic acid works to fight the inflammation caused by acne. Acne-prone skin has a deficiency in linoleic acid, which is a vital component of sebum, so applying a source of linoleic acid to the skin can potentially help.
Breakouts often occur because the skin barrier is damaged from using harsh products that dry the skin out, in a desperate attempt to clear up the acne. Then, the skin freaks out by producing even more oil, but it ends up being too much. The pores become clogged and an explosion of spots may arrive. Argan oil helps to balance the skins sebum levels by controlling the skins oil production, and having the opposite effect to harsh products that are far from healing.
Using argan oil on the face potentially means you could be seeing fewer breakouts, and the vitamin E in the oil will also fight the inflammation of current acne. This will nourish the skin along with all the other antioxidants found in argan oil. These include biologically active substances called triterpenoids, one of which is called lupeol, an antiseptic, and another, called butyrospermol, is an anti-inflammatory. This is good news for the fight against acne!
Linoleic acid is useful for hyperpigmentation and can cause scars to fade. This is because of the vitamin E content which causes new cells to grow and damaged cells to turn over.
Allow your cells to be exfoliated with the use of argan oil for the face. The polyphenols found in argan oil increase the exfoliation of cells. By encouraging cell renewal, it works as an anti-aging moisturiser, revitalising the skin with its anti-oxidant power to restore elasticity. It may reduce fine lines and wrinkles if used consistently, and the Berber women with their smooth complexions have known this for quite a while!
Other benefits of using argan oil on the face includes easing eczema, speeding up the recovery of chicken pox, healing cracks and burns, and healing skin infections.
You can find even more information on argan oil by reading this article on marula oil vs argan oil. You might even decide marula oil is going to be more suitable for your particular skin type!
Using Argan Oil on the Face. But how?
So now that we have established that using argan oil on the face might be a very good idea, how exactly do you use it on the face?
Well, you can apply the oil after cleansing your face whilst it is still wet, because this traps the water in your pores to keep your skin hydrated. Adequate hydration in skin is important to keep it resilient and healthy.
You can use argan oil as a moisturiser alone, or as a face serum underneath your usual moisturiser. When first starting to use argan oil, it may be better to only use it at night to see how your individual skin responds to the oil. If your skin is a fan, using it in your morning skincare routine is an option if you feel your skin could benefit from even more nourishment and hydration.
Argan Oil for the Rest of the Body
Here are some ways argan oil can be used other than for the face:
Argan oil for hair
Argan oil is praised for its ability to transform dull, brittle locks in to shiny, strong and healthy hair. It makes a great leave in conditioner for smoothing frizzy hair and restoring shine and vitality. This is due to its vitamin E content, which is brilliant for strengthening hair and nourishing the skin. You can read more about vitamin e in this article: is vitamin e good for skin/hair.
Argan oil for skin
You can use argan oil as a full body moisturiser for a real treat for healthy skin. As our largest organ, our skin absorbs everything we choose to slather on our skin into the bloodstream. Why not step out of the shower and use it as a body oil to make sure for a luxurious feeling and for clean, fresh, and perfectly moisturised skin. If you’re going to bed after your shower, give yourself a relaxing foot massage and put on a pair of cotton socks to lock in moisture. Then wake up with soft, well-cared for feet.
If you ever have to deal with dry, or cracked lips, argan oil makes a great lip conditioner. You just have to rub 1 – 2 drops in to your lips, wipe off any excess, and then dry lips can be a thing of the past.
The oil can also be used to treat and fight stretch marks. This is needed when pregnant and the skin is stretched, causing stretch marks. Argan oil is great for maintaining the elasticity of the skin because it boosts collagen production. To prevent stretch marks from forming, massage the oil into your stomach or any other body parts where you’re susceptible to stretch marks. As the oil is easily absorbed, the massage does not have to be intense. You can do this twice daily for best results.
Internal Benefits of Argan Oil
Some argan oil products will be specifically for culinary purposes, some will be for cosmetic purposes and sometimes a product will state that it’s suitable for both.
Here are some of the incredible internal health benefits for argan oil:
- May build up a stronger immune system
- May help treat diabetes by building the body’s resistance to insulin
- May contribute to preventing various types of cancer with cancer-fighting antioxidants
- May help protect the body against inflammatory and cardiovascular diseases by boosting heart and brain health.
- May reduce pain caused by arthritis and rheumatism
- May improve circulation
- May stabilise blood sugar levels
The oil works when drizzled over salad or in a salad dressing. You could even blend 1 -3 teaspoons into a smoothie.
In Morocco, argan oil is traditionally eaten with bread, couscous, salads and more. It is less of a cooking oil and more of an oil that you add to your food. It has a deep, nutty flavour, so it can be added to a pan of fried eggs or already sautéed vegetables for a boost in flavour.
You could even make the Moroccan recipe, ‘amlou’. Amlou is Morocco’s equivalent to peanut butter, and can be made by grinding roasted almonds into pure argan oil. This is a much less salty alternative to peanut butter for those wanting to cut down on their salt intake.
Dangers of Buying Poor Quality Argan Oil
With the rise in popularity of argan oil over the past few years, there are many products on the market that are diluted, over-processed or quite simply, fake. Many people are being conned out of their money for a company promising them the world, only to be disappointed.
The reality is that argan oil is a labour intensive and time consuming process, so very cheap argan oil should ring alarm bells. Life for a woman living in Morocco is generally not always easy, so getting your argan oil for a company with poor ethics you might be endorsing extremely poor working conditions for the women producing this oil, without realising it. The money earned through the ethical cooperatives producing argan oil in Morocco is shared between the women of the Berber tribe, and contributes towards health care and education.
How can you be sure that the argan oil you spend your hard-earned cash on is of the uppermost quality? In the UK, you can look for the Soil Association logo for a guarantee that your argan oil was made ethically, sustainably and unprocessed with nothing nasty added to it. Look for their organic certifying logo on packaging or company websites, or search up the company in the Soil Association directory.
Other Things to Consider
There are other things to consider when buying argan oil that are essential to making sure your argan oil is of the top quality.
- A very short ingredients list and a dark coloured glass bottle (or alternatively a stainless steel or aluminium bottle) to protect the nutrients of the oil being destroyed by light.
- An overpowering, horrible scent means that the oil should not be touched. In contrast, argan oil with no scent whatsoever is either fake or has been diluted. Batches can sometimes vary slightly in scent but ultimately the oil has a nutty aroma.
- Smooth, silky? Yes. Slimy? Sticky? Definitely not. The texture can indicate the quality, and should not feel unpleasant.
Make sure to read these important precautions when it comes to consuming and storing argan oil!
- If you have a nut allergy, argan oil may not be safe for you to use. The argan tree grows a stone fruit and the oil is produced from the nut.
- Store argan oil in a cool dark place to protect it from the light.
Will you be using argan oil on the face? Have you used it before? We would be happy to chat and/or answer your questions. Please get in touch!
Written by Jess Burman
BA (Honours) in Writing
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