Argan oil is touted as a true miracle cure for skin and hair. The dermatologist Dr. Shilpi Khetarpal from the Cleveland Clinic in the USA explains the health benefits that are hoped for from argan oil – from better wound healing to anti-aging effects.
What is argan oil?
Argan oil is extracted from the nuts of the argan tree and has been used in Moroccan cuisine for centuries. Argan oil contains a range of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids as well as other ingredients such as polyphenols, squalene and triterpene alcohols.
Argan oil can not only be used for cooking, it also has a beneficial effect on hair and skin. “The fatty acids it contains, such as linoleic and oleic acid, are very moisturizing,” reports Dr. Khetarpal in a press release from the Cleveland Clinic.
Argan oil strengthens hair
In addition, the oil also contains vitamin E and important antioxidants, which can prevent hair breakage and free radical damage, adds the expert. The oil moisturizes and reduces frizz while leaving little residue.
“It adds moisture to the hair more easily without weighing it down, while promoting the overall health of your hair,” explains Dr. Khetarpal.
In addition, the oil can also cover the appearance of split ends by massaging it briefly into the ends of the hair. However, it is not possible to make split ends disappear completely by using argan oil.
Protects hair from heat
Many people use a hair dryer after washing their hair, and women in particular often use straighteners as well. However, the heat generated by these devices is by no means good for the hair, the expert emphasizes.
Argan oil can help here and act as a kind of natural protective shield against heat. “The oils add a protective layer to the hair and help strengthen hair that has been damaged by too much heat or chemicals,” explains Dr. Khetarpal.
As another example of the benefits of argan oil for hair, the doctor cites a study from 2013, which showed that argan oil improved the quality of colored hair.
Do not use directly on the scalp
Although argan oil is beneficial for the hair, it is not recommended to apply it to the scalp, especially for those with oily hair. Excessive use can lead to seborrheic dermatitis.
“This is what happens when the scalp’s normal yeasts take over,” says Dr. Khetarpal.
Argan oil for healthy skin
Argan oil can especially help people who tend to have dry skin. It contains vitamin E and fatty acids, which provide the skin with much-needed moisture, according to Dr. Khetarpal. Argan oil strengthens the skin barrier on the one hand and improves the general appearance of the skin on the other.
Argan oil can even help with eczema, psoriasis or chronically dry skin. “It can be used on dry, sensitive skin when looking for natural remedies. However, it is important that no fragrances or preservatives are added to the oil, as these can aggravate eczema, for example,” explains Dr. Khetarpal.
According to the expert, a study has also suggested that argan oil may actually have anti-aging effects by increasing skin elasticity.
Argan oil to treat wounds
If there are only slight abrasions or scratches, the use of argan oil can be useful. It helps burns and wounds due to its anti-inflammatory properties, according to a 2017 study, the expert reports.
What to consider when buying?
The doctor recommends buying argan oil that is as pure as possible in order to get the most benefit from it. It is possible that some brands of argan oil contain excessive fragrances and substances that can irritate skin and hair. These should be avoided.