Argan oil may provide several potential health benefits for the skin and overall health. Research has shown that it could help treat dry skin, minor burns, and inflammation.

Originating in Morocco, people have used argan oil for centuries as an ingredient and condiment for foods. However, people have also traditionally used it to treat various health conditions. This has prompted researchers to investigate the potential health benefits of argan oil.

Although scientific evidence supporting the benefits of argan oil on the skin is limited, a 2017 study suggests that argan oil may have anti-inflammatory properties that may improve skin health.

This article discusses some of the research that may support the potential health benefits of argan oil.

A bottle of argan oil.Share on Pinterest
Anna Efetova/Getty Images

Argan oil is a naturally occurring oil produced by cold pressing kernels from an argan tree native to Morocco. Traditionally, people have used it to treat various skin conditions, including dry skin, sunburn, and atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema.

Argan oil is readily available as an over-the-counter (OTC) product in pharmacies and drugstores. It is either sold as a pure oil or as an ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, creams, and lotions.

Several potential benefits of argan oil center around its effect on a person’s skin. These include:

  • Dry skin: Some evidence suggests that argan oil may help treat dry skin by maintaining the skin’s moisture. In a 2014 study, researchers found that applying argan oil directly to the skin and consuming argan butter helped to improve skin hydration in people who are postmenopausal.
  • Burns: Using argan oil on skin affected by minor burns may reduce inflammation and help it heal. In a 2016 study on rats with second-degree burns, scientists found that applying argan oil directly to their skin helped the burns heal. However, further research into its effects on humans is needed. Argan oil can also offer UV protection, which may help prevent sunburn.
  • Signs of aging: A 2018 study suggests that the anti-inflammatory qualities of argan oil may help reduce signs of aging when a person takes it orally. Another study from 2018 found that argan oil may help improve the skin’s elasticity, and therefore reduce physical signs of aging, such as wrinkles.
  • Atopic dermatitis: As argan oil is rich in vitamin E, it may help reduce the inflammation associated with atopic dermatitis. One 2016 study on people with atopic dermatitis found that taking vitamin E supplements helped improve their symptoms.

Some people use argan oil to treat stretch marks, but there is no research that confirms how effective it is for this purpose.

However, if a person wants to try argan oil for stretch marks, the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD) recommends massaging the product daily onto stretch marks as soon as they appear. This may help to make them less noticeable.

A person should always speak with a doctor or dermatologist before using any new product on their skin.

Q:

Can argan oil help treat or prevent acne?

Anonymous

A:

Argan oil is noncomedogenic and works on oily skin to balance sebum production and on dry skin to promote hydration. This does not include how argan oil can decrease inflammation and fade acne scars and dark spots, among other benefits. If there is no improvement in 2–3 months or symptoms worsen, please make an appointment with a licensed medical professional.

Bukky Aremu, APRNAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Beyond the skin, using argan oil may have some additional health benefits. Some potential benefits of argan oil include its effects on:

  • Blood pressure and blood sugar: In a 2017 article, researchers showed that rats fed argan oil alongside a high sugar diet had a reduced increase in blood pressure and blood sugar compared to those who did not receive the argan oil. This suggests that it may help maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Heart health: An older, small study showed that consuming argan oil may help lower bad cholesterol and so may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Cancer: In an older test-tube study, researchers found that a combination of argan oil and vitamin E helped kill colon and breast cancer cells in mice. Another older study suggests that argan oil could also be beneficial in preventing the spread of prostate cancer cells in humans. However, additional research is necessary to show its effectiveness in treating cancer.

It is important to note that the above studies are either outdated or conducted on animals. Therefore, more research is necessary into the effectiveness of argan oil for other health benefits.

Though many people assume that natural remedies are safe, a person can have negative reactions after using argan oil.

When used topically, a person may develop a skin reaction in the area they apply it. People with other allergies should speak with a doctor or allergist before using any new oil or product on their skin to ensure its safety.

If a person experiences any type of skin reaction while using argan oil, they should discontinue use and consult a doctor if symptoms persist.

A person should speak with a doctor or dermatologist before starting a new skin care routine, particularly if they are living with a skin condition. This can help ensure that a person can start using argan oil safely.

A person can apply argan oil directly to the skin, either in its pure form as an oil or in the form of creams and lotions. Drugstores and pharmacies also sell soaps and shower creams with argan oil as an ingredient.

The AAD recommends that people with oily skin avoid using any oil-based products, including argan oil. This is because they can make the skin more oily.

People can also take argan oil orally through supplements, or in foods, such as argan butter.

A person should carefully follow all instructions found on skin care products or supplements. This can help ensure that they apply or take the correct amount.

When will a person notice results?

Result times can vary. In one study on postmenopausal people, those who applied the oil daily experienced results after 60 days.

In a study that looked at the effectiveness of argan oil in treating second-degree burns on rats, skin started to heal within 14 days. Researchers applied the oil twice a day during the study.

A person using the oil either topically or orally may notice results after a few weeks of use, though it may take up to several months.

Argan oil may be beneficial in treating minor skin conditions, such as dry skin, as well as healing minor burns. It may also reduce wrinkles and may help ease symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

Aside from being beneficial for the skin, argan oil may also help regulate blood pressure and lower cholesterol when consumed in food or supplements.

A person should speak with a doctor or dermatologist before starting any new treatment or routine, particularly if they have any underlying conditions or take any medications. A person should discontinue use immediately if they develop any reactions to the oil.