Organic Argan Oil
Organic Argan oil is extracted from the kernels of the argan tree. The tree is native to the southwest desert of Morocco where it can withstand long periods of drought. For centuries, the Berber women in Morocco used the oil for its anti-aging properties. Even today, women and men use organic argan oil as a natural moisturizer to nourish their hair, skin, and nails.
History of Organic Argan Oil
In the earlier history of the argan tree and the fruit it bears, the undigested pits found in the waste of goats were collected for the oil. The Berbers would grind and then press the pits to make a nutty oil for cooking and skin care. They used the oil to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne. Early natives of the Argan Forest also used the oil to heal wounds and fade the appearance of scars.
Today, the oil is extracted directly from the kernels inside the fruit’s pit. Although the tree was once plentiful across North Africa, as a result of over grazing and deforestation, now the tree is mainly found growing in a small area of Morocco near the Atlas Mountains.
Extracting Organic Argan Oil
The extraction process takes time and work. Since the fleshy part of the tree’s fruit surrounds the hard-shelled nut, workers in the region where the argan tree grows first dry the fruit. Next, they remove the nuts from the pulp before cracking them by hand.
Each nut, or pit, contains one or more kernels from which the oil is extracted. Through a process known as cold pressing, the kernels are roasted and then let to cool before grinding and pressing them to extract the oil. Argan oil produced for use in cosmetics and other skin care products is extracted in a similar fashion, but eliminates the roasting process.
Cold pressing is the preferred method since heat extraction processes can degrade the flavor and nutritional value of argan oil used for cooking. An extraction process that involves high heating temperatures can change the oil’s chemical structure, diminishing the quality of the oil and robbing it of its healthful benefits.
This fatty acid is an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial that makes the skin stronger, tighter, and less resistant to irritations. The oil absorbs into skin quickly and doesn’t leave behind a greasy residue like some other skin moisturizers do. Argan oil has a high linoleic acid content, which helps reduce inflammation caused by acne. The oil also contains vitamins A and E.
Although studies show mixed results, some findings suggest that vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin that may help protect against damage caused by UV radiation and free radicals. Research also suggests that vitamin E may play a role in reducing inflammatory symptoms such as skin swelling and edema following UV exposure.
A diet that includes vitamin A, or retinol, helps keep skin healthy. Lack of vitamin A – another effective antioxidant – can lead to rough, dry, or scaly skin. Although doctors often prescribe synthetic retinoids to treat problem skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, and ichthyosis (scaly skin), consuming food sources that contain vitamin A also is beneficial. The body needs retinol for the growth and maintenance of epithelial tissue, which forms the outer layer of the skin. (2)
Organic Argan oil contains carotenes, phenols, and fatty acids (most of which are unsaturated) – all substances which offer healthful benefits. The phenols in argan oil are catechins and epicatechins – flavonoids (plant nutrients) with strong antioxidant effects that may improve heart health and lower the risk of stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Epicatechin suppresses platelet aggregation, preventing platelet clumping from blocking the blood flow to the heart. This particular flavonoid also reduces lipid peroxidation, helping to prevent cell damage.