Argan oil is made from the kernels that grow on the argan trees native to Morocco. It’s most frequently sold as pure oil, which can be directly applied topically (directly to the skin) or ingested in order to provide several health benefits. It comes in supplement capsule form to be taken by mouth. It’s also commonly mixed into a number of cosmetic products like shampoos, soaps, and conditioners.
Argan oil has traditionally been used both topically and orally to improve the health of skin, hair, and nails. It contains a number of different beneficial properties and vitamins that form a powerful combination to boost skin health.
1. Protects from sun damage
This study found that the antioxidant activity in argan oil helped protect the skin against free radical damage caused by the sun. This prevented burns and hyper pigmentation as a result. Long term, this may even help prevent against the development of skin cancer, including melanoma.
You can take argan oil supplements orally or apply the oil topically to your skin for these benefits.
2. Moisturizes skin
Argan oil is perhaps most commonly used as a moisturizer. This is why it’s often found in lotions, soaps, and hair conditioners. It can be applied topically or ingested orally with daily supplements for a moisturizing effect. This is largely thanks to its abundance of Vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble antioxidant that can help improve water retention in the skin.
3. Treats a number of skin conditions
Argan oil contains a large number of healing properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Both help reduce symptoms for a number of different inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis and rosacea.
For best results, apply pure argan oil directly to patches of skin affected by psoriasis. Rosacea may be best treated by taking oral supplements.
4. Treats acne
Hormonal acne is often the result of excess sebum that’s caused by hormones. Argan oil has anti-sebum effects, which can effectively regulate amounts of sebum on the skin. This can help to treat several different types of acne and promote a smoother, calmer complexion.
Apply argan oil — or face creams containing argan oil — directly to your skin at least twice a day. You should start to see results after four weeks.
5. Heals skin infections
One of argan oil’s traditional uses is to treat skin infections. Argan oil has both antibacterial and fungicidal properties. This gives it the capability to help treat and prevent both bacterial and fungal skin infections.
Apply argan oil to the affected area topically at least twice per day.
6. Improves wound healing
Antioxidants are clearly a powerful force. The strong combination of antioxidants and vitamin E found in argan oil can be used to help wounds and cuts heal faster. You can take argan oil supplements regularly to experience this benefit throughout your body.
7. Soothes atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is a common skin condition with symptoms like itchy, red skin. Research has found that applying argan oil topically to the affected area can help treat symptoms. Vitamin E and the natural inflammatory properties found in argan oil can both lead to this soothing effect.
One study was conducted treating dermatitis patients with placebo or oral vitamin E, which is in abundance in argan oil. The researchers found that participants who received the vitamin E saw a significant decrease in symptoms.
8. Has anti-aging effects
Argan oil has long been used as an anti-aging treatment. Though it was only ever supported by anecdotal evidence, a recent study with postmenopausal participants was able to back up this claim. Researchers found that a combination of oral and cosmetic argan oil led to a significant increase in elasticity of the skin. This provided an effective anti-aging treatment.
You can get these benefits by applying argan oil directly to the skin, taking oral supplement regularly, or both.
9. Reduces skin’s oiliness
Some of us have naturally oiler skin than others. Those who do often go out of their way to get rid of the oily sheen that can occur. Thanks to argan oil’s sebum-reducing capabilities, it can help decrease total sebum and reduce oiliness of the skin.
One study found that a twice-daily application of cream that contained argan oil reduced significant sebum activity and oiliness within just four weeks.
10. Prevents and reduces stretch marks
Stretch marks are particularly common during pregnancy, but anyone can experience them. One 2016 study found that a water-in-oil cream containing argan oil improved skin elasticity. This helped prevent and treat stretch marks early on.
Apply argan oil directly to the affected area at least twice per day. Do this as soon as you suspect you may see or start to see stretch marks for best results.
Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, APRN on December 14, 2017 — Written by Ana Gotter