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Argan oil’s potential benefits for healthier skin and hair

This golden oil has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Dec 14, 2023 • 4 min read
Medically reviewed by Donna McIntyre, NP-BC
benefits of argan oil for skin
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Dec 14, 2023 • 4 min read
Medically reviewed by Donna McIntyre, NP-BC
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

In this article

What is argan oil?
More

In the world of natural skincare, argan oil gets an A. It’s loaded with fatty acids, anti-inflammatory polyphenols, antioxidants, and vitamin E. Plus, it easily penetrates the skin, helping to boost moisture and protect the skin barrier. Argan oil’s benefits for both your skin and hair can be pretty considerable, and it’s an easy ingredient to incorporate into your skincare routine. 

Here,we’ll explain where argan oil comes from, its potential benefits and side effects for the skin and hair, and how to use it.

What is argan oil?

Argan oil is pressed from the seeds of the argan tree, native to southwestern Morocco. It’s used as a cooking oil and in salad dressings, and it’s also a popular ingredient in skin and hair products. When it comes to caring for skin and hair, specifically, argan oil contains linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid that’s essential for skin health.¹ It also contains polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help prevent hyperpigmentation caused by UV damage.

Five benefits of argan oil for skin 

When applied topically, argan oil has the potential to:

  1. Improve elasticity and stretch marks. Research shows cream containing argan oil as its active ingredient improves skin elasticity and may be helpful for reducing the appearance of stretch marks.²

  2. Reduce sebum. One study found that a cream containing argan oil and other polyphenol-rich ingredients applied twice daily for a month reduced sebum (oil) levels by 20% and oily spots by 42% in people with oily skin.³ The cream reduced the appearance of greasiness and improved the appearance of oily facial skin.  

  3. Aid wound healing. Argan oil’s anti-inflammatory properties may help treat skin infections.⁴ Additionally, animal studies demonstrate that argan oil may help treat second-degree burns, but more research is needed.

  4. Boost hydration. Skin dryness and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) are signs of impaired skin barrier function. Topical application of argan oil daily has been shown to restore the barrier function and improve skin hydration.⁵

  5. Treat acne. Argan oil helps people with acne-prone skin by improving skin hydration, which is a contributing factor in controlling and preventing breakouts. Though more research is needed, argan oil has been shown to help reduce the growth of Cutibacterium acnes which can help reduce breakouts.⁶

Three benefits of argan oil for hair 

Many of the properties that make this oil excellent for skin also make it great for hair. Although there’s no evidence to support the use of argan oil for hair growth, its hydrating and conditioning properties may lead to other benefits. When it comes to hair, argan oil has the potential to:

  1. Condition. The fatty acids responsible for adding moisture to the skin also add moisture to the hair. Use argan oil as a hair oil to reduce breakage, split ends, and dull-looking hair.

  2. Moisturize. Argan oil’s fatty acids and anti-inflammatory properties may help people who experience dandruff. A few drops of argan oil massaged into the scalp and hair may improve moisture.⁷ 

  3. Protect from heat and other damage. Argan oil’s fatty acids and vitamin E may help protect and strengthen the hair. A small study showed that argan oil may protect the hair after extensive application of dye.⁸ Try a hair mask to improve dry hair before styling.

How to use argan oil

Now that we’ve covered what argan oil is used for, let’s talk about how to incorporate it into your skincare routine. Argan oil is a common ingredient in many creams, lotions, serums, and hair products, but you can also use 100% pure argan oil. Pure oil or products containing argan oil can be applied directly to the skin or hair. Alternatively, you can add a few drops of pure argan oil to serums, moisturizers, or other skincare products. It’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores, and it’s suitable for most skin types thanks to its light, non-greasy texture. That said, it should be used in small quantities—remember, more isn’t necessarily better.

Curology uses clinically researched ingredients

Curology is a full-service skincare company and medical practice offering clinically researched ingredients in personalized prescription formulas. We also provide patients with personalized skincare guidance alongside our dermatologist-designed products. Currently, Curology treats acne, rosacea, anti-aging, and hyperpigmentation skin concerns.

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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We’re here to take the guesswork out of skincare. Our licensed dermatology providers work with you to examine your skin, assess your skincare goals, and provide custom treatment options.* 

Although Curology does not include argan oil in its products, we encourage you to visit our skincare ingredients blog for more information on effective ingredients that can moisturize, treat, and protect the skin from common concerns.

FAQs

What is argan oil?

Argan oil is pressed from the seeds of the argan tree, native to southwestern Morocco. It’s used as a cooking oil and in salad dressings, and it’s also a popular ingredient in skin and hair products.

What are the benefits of argan oil for skin?

When applied topically, argan oil has the potential to improve elasticity and stretch marks, reduce sebum, aid wound healing, boost hydration, and treat acne.

What are the benefits of argan oil for hair?

Many of the properties that make this oil excellent for skin also make it great for hair. Although there’s no evidence to support the use of argan oil for hair growth, its hydrating and conditioning properties may lead to other benefits. When it comes to hair, argan oil has the potential to condition, moisturize, and protect from heat or other damage.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Charrouf, Z. and Guillaume, D. Argan oil: Occurrence, composition and impact on human health. European Journal of Lipid Science. (2008).

  2. Bogdan, C., et al. Preliminary study on the development of an anti stretch marks water-in-oil cream: Ultrasound assessment, texture analysis, and sensory analysis. Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology. (2016).

  3. Dobrev, H. Clinical and instrumental study of the efficacy of a new sebum control cream. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. (June 2007).

  4. Lin, T.K., et al. Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils. International Journal of Molecular Science. (2017 December 17).

  5. Lin, T.K., et al. Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils. International Journal of Molecular Science. Ibid.

  6. Lall, N., et al. The Anti-proliferative and Anti-bacterial Activity of Argan oil and Crude Saponin Extract from Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels. Pharmacognosy Journal. (2019).

  7. Mysore, V. and Arghya, A. Hair Oils: Indigenous Knowledge Revisited. International journal of trichology. (2022).

  8. Faria, P.M., et al. Hair protective effect of argan oil (Argania spinosa) kernel oil and capuassu butter (Theobroma grandiflorum) seed butter post treatment with hair dye. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Application. (September 2013).

Donna McIntyre is a board-certified nurse practitioner at Curology. She obtained her Master of Science in Nursing at MGH Institute of Health Professions in Boston, MA.

* Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Results may vary.

• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

Donna McIntyre, NP-BC

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