Benefits of Argan Oil and How to Use It
|By Carolyn Occhipinti, Staff Writer on Wednesday, June 6, 2012|
|Argan oil is a versatile product from Morocco that can help you achieve more beautiful hair, skin and nails. Find out what makes argan oil so special and how it can help you clean out your cupboard full of beauty products.||
The appearance of our hair, skin and nails is a reflection of our overall health and well being. Poor nutrition, smoking, stress, the sun and other environmental factors project damaging effects on these tissues, which can become visible as early as our mid-20s.
So where can you turn to turn back the clock? Forget buying expensive products full of harsh chemicals -- the answer to all your beauty woes can be found in one bottle of argan oil.
The Source of Argan Oil
Argan oil is produced from the kernels of the Argania spinosa tree, which is native to Morocco. The Moroccan Berber community refers to this tree as the “Tree of Life,” and women in this region have used argan oil for centuries to protect their hair, skin and nails from harsh environmental factors. Further research has shown argan oil naturally contains many of the same components added to cosmetics, without the synthetic fillers that are quickly absorbed into the skin and can clog pores. Recently, argan oil has taken the beauty industry by storm, flying off department store shelves for about $30 an ounce.
Nutrient Makeup of Argan Oil
Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants (tocopherols). These components help protect the tissues of the body from the damage of free radicals that can lead to visible signs of aging. Exposure to free radicals is due to environmental factors like pollution. Also, saponins and triterpenoids promote healing and hydration.
Argan oil also contains 80 percent unsaturated fatty acids omega-9 (oleic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid). A diet lacking in essential fatty acids will make your hair and skin dry and dull and your nails brittle. The 0.8 percent plant sterols, or sterolins, found in argan oil reduce inflammation, support cell turnover and help retain moisture.
Here's the three most common uses for argan oil:
Argan Oil for Hair:
Argan oil can be applied to wet hair as a serum before drying to smooth frizz, reduce drying time and repair damage. Start with an amount the size of a dime and work up from there, based on the thickness and length of your hair -- you can always add more. Focus on applying the oil to the shaft and ends of the hair to prevent oiliness. On dry hair, massage a few drops of oil into your hands and brush over hair to tame flyaways and smooth ends. Argan oil can replace your leave-in conditioner, smoothing/anti-frizz serum, gloss, gel, etc.
Argan Oil for Skin:
Argan oil can be applied topically to the skin to reduce inflammation and irritation and soothe dry skin. Using argan oil has been shown to help with skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema as well as bug bites by soothing the area and promoting healing. The active components in this oil make it a potent anti-aging product. You can replace your cleanser, moisturizer, acne treatment and anti-aging serum with argan oil. Just be sure to speak with your physician before using argan oil for a diagnosed skin condition, especially if you're already being treated with medication.
Argan Oil for Nails:
To help restore the strength and luster of brittle nails, you can soak them in argan oil or apply a small amount to the hands and massage into the nail bed. The oil will help restore protein to the nail, helping it to thicken and prevent peeling and breaking, allowing you to ditch the cuticle oil, hand cream, strengthening base coat and hardening top coat. The oil can also have an anti-aging effect on the hands as well.
Medicinal and Other Uses
Argan oil is also edible and contains rare plant sterols -- schottenol and spinasterol -- not found in other oils. These phytosterols block cholesterol absorption from the intestines, reduce inflammation and offer anti-cancer properties. Argan oil is highly beneficial for those with arthritic or rheumatic conditions and helps to strengthen the circulatory and immune systems. For these reasons, argan oil can be helpful in relieving general aches and pains as well as sore or stiff muscles.
When shopping for argan oil, look for one that's pure and organic for the maximum benefits. This powerful oil really is a multitasker to help you clean out your cupboards. Have you tried argan oil?
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