What is argan oil and is it safe to use?

Argan oil may be a recent addition to our list of beauty must-trys, but it’s been around for a while, and good news — the oil is safe to use. It comes from the fruit of the argan tree, which must be dried so the kernels can be removed and pressed to make a paste. Argan oil is a skin-care staple for Moroccans, who use it as a treatment for everything from dry skin, acne, wrinkles, and joint pain (via The Guardian).

The rise of argan oil has been a savior for its tree, which can only be grown in south-western Morocco and is credited for keeping deserts at bay by preventing soil erosion. Morocco’s argan forest is so important it was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 1998. The rise to fame of its oil means locals are now involved to make sure this one-of-a-kind forest is protected. 

As argan oil supplier Dana Elmara tells The Guardian, “One key thing to sustainability is getting local people involved and paying them fairly. That stops them from cutting down the Unesco-protected trees [because] you don’t damage the tree at all by producing argan oil. We only pick fruit from the ground.” 

Argan oil is good for your skin and hair

The Oprah Magazine credits argan oil’s high levels of vitamin E and fatty acids for its ability to manage dry skin and eczema. And even if you think putting oil on pimples may not be a good idea, argan oil might actually be good for acne, because it has linoleic acid, which can help fight inflammation, soothe sensitive skin, and improve moisture levels.

“In some respects, argan oil is good for the skin,” London-based dermatologist Yannis Alexandrides tells Glamour. “It has moisturizing properties; it can help with anti-inflammation and also protects skin against free radicals and UV damage. In contrast to heavier oils such as coconut or olive, which have larger molecular sizes, the relatively small molecules in argan oil will absorb into the skin quicker and so are less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts.”

Argan oil is also seen as a wonder hair-care product because it can improve the health of your scalp. The Oprah Magazine suggests putting up to three drops of oil into your palms, warming the oil by rubbing your palms together, applying the oil from the roots to the ends. Hairdressers say this is a great way to fix split ends and deal with dandruff and an itchy scalp at the same time.

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