Argan oil has become quite popular in the beauty industry. It is placed in skin and hair treatments due to the large number of benefits it provides. However, argan oil is not a new thing. It has been known to the Berber women of Morocco for thousands of years and they have been utilizing it for its versatility.

Argan oil is produced from the fruit of the argan tree, found in a small region of Morocco. This oil has been termed ‘liquid gold’ and a superfood due to its powerful active ingredients and healing properties. There are two grades of argan oil: culinary and cosmetic. Obviously, culinary argan oil is the edible version that is often compared to olive oil. Cosmetic argan oil is the grade that will be found in skin and hair care.

Here are 10 amazing benefits of argan oil to help you make the best use of it:

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1. Preventing cardiovascular disease

Due to its abundance of nutrients, including unsaturated fatty acids, argan oil has been shown to help regulate blood cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that argan oil helps improve blood circulation throughout the body, therefore decreasing cardiovascular risk.

2. Protection against cancer

Argan oil’s high antioxidant content helps repair cellular damage, thereby reducing the risk of cancer cells’ ability to grow. Recent studies have shown that argan oil was able to decrease the rate of cell division of prostate cancer.

3. Help for those with diabetes

In a recent study, argan oil was shown to decrease insulin resistance in individuals. This is important, since insulin resistance is usually the first step to diabetes. Argan oil was also shown to help combat diabetes by reversing metabolic changes in those individuals who consumed a high-sugar diet.

4. As a topical anti-inflammatory

Flavonoids contained in argan oil act as an anti-inflammatory that can be placed on the skin topically to treat skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis and chicken pox.

5. Boosting immunity

In a recent study conducted on rats, argan oil was shown to strengthen their immune system. This is due to argan oil’s powerful antioxidants that work to stimulate proper immune function.

6. Anti-aging properties

Argan oil has a large vitamin E content, which prevents the evaporation of moisture from the outer layer of skin. Also, argan oil is made up of 80% essential fatty acids that help reduce wrinkles by maintaining healthy skin cells. These essential fatty acids are also what allow the skin to be able to continue to function properly (such as retaining water), which provides a youthful, plump look.

7. Aiding digestion

The liquid gold has been shown to increase the concentration of pepsin in the gastric juice within one’s stomach. Pepsin is an important enzyme in gastric juice that digests proteins found in meat, eggs and dairy products.

8. Improving hair health

The linoleic and oleic acids found in argan oil help keep hair hydrated by locking in moisture, which increases shine. They also tame frizzy and unmanageable hair and can be used to repair hair that has been damaged from hot tools, such as curling and flat irons.

9. Transforming skin

Argan oil contains carotenoids, which protect skin from ultraviolet radiation. It also has sterols that assist in reducing inflammation, improve skin metabolism processes and enable moisture retention. This leaves skin soft, smooth and hydrated.

10. It’s socially responsible

The production of argan oil has been able to benefit the Berber women of Morocco and their families due to the Union of Women’s Cooperatives of the Arganeraie (UCFA). Argan oil with the UCFA Fair Trade seal ensures that the argan oil was produced by women’s cooperatives and that these women are receiving the income that they have earned.

Selecting argan oil

When looking to purchase argan oil you want to make sure the kind you get is certified organic. This ensures the quality of the product, as well as eliminating harmful toxins such as pesticides from the oil. Also, ensure that the argan oil you are purchasing is fresh. To do this, you should smell the oil. It should not have a rancid or an overly sweet smell. It should have a light, fresh and nutty odor. Lastly, make sure the argan oil is stored in a dark bottle so that it is protected from any type of light.

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Featured photo credit: Argan oil for massage and argan fruit. Spa moodvia Shutterstock

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