Potent Organic Ingredient: Argan Oil

In part one of our series on potent organic skincare ingredients, Paul Massa explains the properties of argan oil.


Today, cosmetic ingredients must not only be efficient, they must also be produced with environmental protection, economic and social conditions in mind.

Few manufacturers of cosmetic ingredients can escape the “green trend”. Plant derived actives, ethical and sustainable sourcing, green processes are the industry new buzzwords if we look at the trends’ indicators emerging from The Sustainable Cosmetics Summit North America (New York) and Natural Cosmetics Masterclass (Paris); they both offer dedicated workshops on green actives.

Organic natural ingredients work with the skin to enhance its regenerative and healing properties, which make them very effective. Their ‘naturality’ give them more nutritional benefits. Nature provides us with plants, fruits and berries extremely rich in antioxidants and, considering these same compounds are then copied synthetically for standardisation of production and profit, it make sense to consider that their effectiveness have sustained the test of time. This trend is actually leading some brands to develop entire ranges based on food ingredients only.

It is challenging to single out from of all natural and organic actives which one would be most potent. All natural actives are potent; they all have therapeutic properties which is why you also find them as key ingredients in traditional cosmetic formulations. Their benefits and properties are however enhanced when used in a holistic formulation, where no ‘nasty’ additives and chemicals interfere with their effectiveness.

The first potent organic ingredient with regards to raw effectiveness and time-tested benefits to the skin would be:

Argan oil (Argania spinosa)

A relatively new ingredient in Western skincare but it traces its roots back to traditional cultures in Morocco where the argan tree originate.

Argan oil is very high in omega-6 fatty acids and linoleic acid which show anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antioxidant and moisturising properties for the skin.

This oil also contains 620mg of tocopherol which have the same properties as vitamin E. This is twice the amount of this chemical found in olive oil for example. The tocopherol content of argan oil makes it a powerful antioxidant that can help to protect soft tissue by neutralising the effects of free radicals.

  • With a high content of vitamin E and fatty acid, argan oil is a great natural moisturiser. It absorbs easily and is non-greasy and non-irritating, leaving a satin finish without an oily residue.
  • The qualities of argan oil make it an excellent anti-ageing treatment. Research shows that regular application of argan oil restores the skins water-lipid layer and increases the oxygenation and nutrient levels of skin cells.
  • Dry skin or conditions such as eczema, flaky and itchy skin will benefit immensely from argan oil. The vitamin E and fatty acids in argan oil are excellent for repairing damaged skin and providing it with nutrients. Argan oil also contains ingredients which soothe skin.
  • Because argan oil also contains antioxidants which help to heal damaged skin cells and reduce inflammation, it can be used to soothe and heal skin with acne.
  • Another use of the softening properties of argan oil is to treat brittle nails, dry hands and cracked skin on feet.

Stay tuned for the next ingredient!

Paul Massa is the managing director of Phyt’s. For more information visit http://www.phyts.com.au/

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