On the edge of the Sahara Desert in southern Morocco, a remarkable tree that produces oil grows. The argan tree is not unlike the olive tree with a thorny trunk and high branches growing out from the trunk. The fruit of the argan tree contains nuts, from which an oil is pressed out and used for both cooking and eating. It also has amazing benefits for skin and health care. The nuts are inside a fruit that the tree produces. The tree can live for more than 150 years.
The leaves are also tasty to goats who will literally climb the trees and stand in the branches while eating. This of course can cause damage to the trees and efforts continue to fence off argan tree plantations so that goats cannot access them.
Although the argan tree once thrived across North Africa, today it is found in only a small area in Morocco, but because of recent research and study done on the oil of argan, it is expected that by 2020, a much larger area of Morocco will be planted with these trees. The research is showing that argan oil may be very good for your hair and skin (and, it also has very healthy properties when eaten as a food as well).
Traditionally, argan oil is pressed from the nuts manually which can be a long and tedious process. In Morocco, it is generally done by women who use rocks and stones to crack the nuts and then press out the oil. It has only been very recently due to a wider interest in the oil for its benefits that mechanical oil extraction has begun.
In Morocco, the oil is used as a food and a skin protector and restorative agent. It is also made into shampoo and soaps which are sold commercially.
Argan Oil Skin & Hair Benefits
In North Africa, argan oil has for centuries been used as a skin moisturizer and in hair shampoo. It is rich in Vitamin E and fatty acids and has traditionally been used to treat chicken pox as well as acne. It is also high in fatty acids and it will keep longer without being oxidized than olive oil.
A recent study published in the peer reviewed Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reports that a cream containing argan oil showed very beneficial results in controlling sebum. The cream also reduced facial greasiness and improved the appearance of skin that was oily (Source).
In addition to acne, argan oil appears to be helpful for other skin conditions as well, including eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin. The phytosterols contained in argan oil are also excellent at helping heal scar tissue of the skin.
Argan oil that is destined to be consumed come from nuts that have been first roasted, however for oil that is used cosmetically, the nuts are not roasted, thus preventing it from having a “nutty” scent.
The compounds in this unique oil may also help your skin defy the aging process and help to keep it looking younger and more healthy, according to research that is being conducted.
If you are looking for something else to add to your arsenal to stay healthy, happy and beautiful, cosmetics that contain genuine argan oil may be just the right thing for you!