The indigenous Berber women of Morocco have used argan oil in skin care and in hair care for centuries for its moisturizing, nourishing and protective properties. The oil is extracted from the kernels inside the fruit of the argan tree (Argania spinosa). This tree used to grow around Morocco but is now endangered and is protected by UNESCO. A large part of the oil on the worldwide market is produced by co-operatives run by the Berber women.
How to Use Argan Oil for Skin
The oil is rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids including Omega-6, and plant sterols that are believed to have an anti-inflammatory effect. It can be used on the face or on the body as a natural moisturizer, and it is especially famous for its reputed anti-aging properties. It can help to soften dry skin around the elbows or the knees and it is a good after-sun oil to cool sunburnt skin.
Moroccan oil can be used on all skin types but it is believed to be very good for sensitive or dry skin. It is also used as a natural acne treatment. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it useful as a massage oil for tired and achy muscles, and it can be applied on injured muscles to soothe inflammation. It can have a healing effect on dry eczema and it may be useful in psoriasis.
Moroccan Oil Hair Treatment
Argan oil can help to condition and moisturize dry hair, to repair damaged hair and to make frizzy or rough hair more manageable. For a moisturizing and nourishing hair treatment, massage argan oil into your hair approximately half an hour before washing the hair. If your hair and scalp are very dry, massage it into the scalp too. Apply the oil to the roots and make sure to spread it evenly down to the ends. Wrap a large towel around your head and leave the oil to do its work for at least half an hour. For an intensive conditioning treatment, leave the oil on overnight. Wash it out with a shampoo. If your hair is frizzy, try applying a few drops of the oil into damp hair after a shower and comb through the hair.
Argan oil is safe to use on all skin types but it should not be used on broken skin. If you are allergic to nuts, check with your healthcare practitioner before using Moroccan oil.
Credit: JP Neri (Wikimedia Commons)Credit: JP Neri (Wikimedia Commons)