Should we be using argan oil on our skin as well as our hair?

Is argan oil the new coconut oil?

14 Mar 2018

Argan oil had a huge surge of popularity in 2015/2016, when everyone and their dog was using the 'miracle oil' for their hair. It was known for its moisturising properties and for aiding with split ends - and it looks like it's having a bit of a comeback.

But, like our friend coconut oil, which we actually found could have a detrimental effect on your skin, we decided to delve into argan oil a little further.

Sam Hendel / GLAMOUR June 2016

Moroccan Berber women have been using pure argan oil as a natural moisturiser for years, so are they on to the next big trend?

We spoke to Dr Yannis Alexandrides, founder of 111Skin and Head of Surgical Practice at , to get his thoughts on using argan oil for your skin.

Is Argan oil as great for our skin as it is for our hair?

In some respects, argan oil is good for the skin. It has moisturising properties; it can help with anti-inflammation and also protects skin against free radicals and UV damage. In contrast to heavier oils such as coconut or olive, which have larger molecular sizes, the relatively small molecules in argan oil will absorb into the skin quicker and so are less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts.

What are the benefits of using it?

It’s a good moisturiser for your skin; it contains omega fatty acids which repair cell membranes and subsequently help to promote healthy skin and anti-ageing. It also contains vitamin A and E, which help to stop wrinkles forming, whilst vitamin E, or tocopherol, can help in cell division as well. Argan oil also contains carotenoids that are great for healing damaged skin and preventing oxidative damage from occurring.

Unsplash / Christin Hume

Are there any drawbacks?

As with any oils, there is still a risk of breakouts. Although the molecules aren’t as heavy as those in coconut or olive oil they are still heavy compared to most moisturisers and SO CAN form a barrier on the skin, subsequently blocking pores and preventing beneficial ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid penetrating deeper into the skin. There are also impure versions of the oil that can be bought; these cheaper versions run the risk of containing impurities that can cause skin irritation on sensitive skin. Also pertinently, argan oil will not help with existing wrinkles - it only works to stop the signs of aging.

Does it have any other uses we might not know about?

There are many curative gains from using argan oil. It contains linoleic acid; this produces prostaglandins, which help to regulate blood pressure, heart rate and immune function, as well as smoothing muscle contraction. The carotenoids contained within the oil also prevent the development of cancer cells as well as helping in cardiovascular health.

Unsplash / Annie Spratt

Is there anyone who shouldn’t use argan oil on their skin?

Although it is a better option than coconut or olive oil, those who have particularly sensitive and acne prone skin should probably be advised to not use oils.

So there you have it. UV protection and anti-inflammatory? Check. Uber moisturising? Check. Can you eat it? Absolutely! In Morocco, it's eaten with bread, couscous and salads - check out culinary argan oil. BUT, be wary that using any oil in your beauty routine could potentially cause breakouts and that using impure variations could also cause irritation.

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