ALTERNATIVE NAMES: Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Argania Spinosa, Argania Spinosa (Cosmetic Analysis).
Argania spinosa, known as argan, is a tree, growing in southwest regions of Morocco and in the Arabah and Negev regions of Israel. It grows 8 to 10 m high and may live up to 150-200 years. The roots of argan can grow to a depth of 30 meters. Trees are thorny, with gnarled trunks and wide spreading crown. The crown has a circumference of about 70 m and the branches lean towards the ground.
The leaves are small, 2–4 cm long, and oval with a rounded apex. The flowers are small, with five pale yellow-green petals; flowering in April. The fruit is 2–4 cm long and 1.5–3 cm broad, with a thick, bitter peel surrounding a sweet-smelling but unpleasantly flavoured layer of pulpy pericarp. This surrounds the very hard nut, which contains one (occasionally two or three) small, oil-rich seeds. The fruit takes over a year to mature. It falls in June to July of the following year, when black and dry.
Argan habitats were protected by UNESCO in 1998, due to excessive exploitation in the past.
History and/or folklore: Argan is a popular source of food for Moroccan goats. They climb even to the top of the tree, just to enjoy delicious leafs and fruits.
Biochemistry: Biochemistry: Composition of argain oil is the following:
• 45-46% Oleic acid
• 32-35% Linoleic acid
• 12-14% Palmitic acid
• 6% Stearic acid
Phytosterols 1300 to 2230 mg/kg
Terpenoids: squalane – 3130 mg/kg
Vitamin E: 635 mg/kg
In terms of triglyceride composition, argan oil is considered as unique. The closest relatives are oat and rice oils.
In some parts of Morocco, argan takes the place of the olive as a source of forage, oil, timber, and fuel in Berber society.
Argan seeds contain approximately 55% of oil. Thus it is not surprising that the most commonly produced product of argan is argan oil. It contains high levels of antioxidants, essential fatty acids and natural vitamin E. The oil is of yellow colour, with a distinctive odour of reminiscent of silage fodder.
Argan oil is a rich and highly emollient oil, which is quickly absorbed by the skin and leaves behind no residual greasiness. It is known to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, stretch marks and scarring. The oil is effective in fighting signs of aging and sun damage as well as improving the skin’s elasticity. It may also be used to soften cuticles and as a hot oil treatment for hair. Argan oil is often used in facial moisturizers, treatments, anti-aging skincare, facial cleansers, make-up items, eye creams, body care, and hair care.
There are two types of argan oil available on the market. First one, having stronger nutty odour, is produced from the roasted argan seeds. Second one, with weak odour, is produced from unprocessed seeds. The later one is preferred in natural cosmetic, as it contains more vitamin E.
Argan oil is generally classified as not toxic or harmful.
ESSENTIQ PRODUCTS CONTAINING ARGAN
- Antiage Eye Cream – Centella & Kelp
- Facial Cream for Dry Skin – Immortelle & Babassu
- Facial Cream for Very Dry Skin – Immortelle & Avocado