The argan tree is native to Morocco, and argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the argan fruit. Each argan fruit contains a nut, and each nut contains up to three argan-rich kernels. Argan oil has both culinary and topical uses, and in recent years, it has become a popular ingredient in skin and hair care products.
Although argan oil is regularly consumed in Morocco, and research suggests it has heart health benefits, consumers in the United States and Europe have been most interested in argan oil's purported cosmetic benefits. Dozens of personal-care products now contain the ingredient, and many people who use argan oil claim it can reduce inflammation, correct signs of aging in skin and hair, hydrate skin, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles-particularly around the eyes. Argan oil is said to repair skin imperfections, minimize scars and stretch marks, and restore skin elasticity and skin tone.
Clinical research has not yet validated the numerous claims about argan oil's positive effects on skin, although many people report improved skin and hair health when using argan oil-based products. Argan oil contains a variety of substances that may contribute to its purported skin-improvement benefits, such as polyphenols, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, other antioxidants, and melatonin.
Argan oil should be used with caution in terms of applying directly on broken skin or skin areas affected by infections, psoriasis, or other serious skin conditions. Some argan oil products have added fragrances and other ingredients, and these may irritate sensitive skin; test on a small area of your skin before using on your entire face. Opt for a fair trade product if you have concerns about how argan oil is produced, or about how the argan oil producers are treated and paid for their work.
Source: British Journal of Nutrition and Inflammation & Allergy - Drug Targets