“Oil” seems to be the new buzzword in skin and hair care lately, and more specifically argan oil. Now I must say, I had my doubts about this one. I have a real fetish about clean skin, and the application of oil seemed to be taking me in the wrong direction. But, as with all things regarding skin fads, I jumped in wholeheartedly this summer, and bought myself some products from the brand synonymous with argan oil, Josie Maran. Since I was about to hit up the Californian coast for the summer, I purchased the moisturizer with SPF 40+, bronzer, hair serum and of course, the original 100% argan oil for all-purpose use. After a summer that started with skepticism, I am now a total oil convert.
Argan oil, with its slightly nutty smell, is extracted from the kernels, found in the fruit of the argan tree. Apparently goats were way ahead of us on this discovery as they actually climb trees to get at the fruits. For centuries the populations of Morocco and Northern Africa have been using argan oil to cook, as a treatment for skin maladies, anti-aging and cosmetic purposes. Argan oil contains, among other things, tocopherols (fancy name for vitamin E) and unsaturated fatty acids (including oleic acid and linoleic acid). Vitamin E, as any skin neophyte knows, is beneficial for skin healing and is often applied over burns and scars. In addition, it is an anti-oxidant and therefore promotes anti-aging by removing free radicals that attack and damage the skin. Unsaturated fatty acids may be beneficial in acne treatment by promoting healthy levels of sebum (the oil our skin produces) and promoting skin cell turnover. There are many claims that argan oil will reduce lines/wrinkles, eczema, psoriasis and stretch marks, however there is little scientific evidence to support such statements.
Since returning to New York this fall, I have discovered a new brand of argan oil that is a little closer to home and if I dare say it, a little more luxurious. At Marmur Medical, you will find a new line of oils from Olie Biologique, a company based right here in New York City, where every ingredient is 100% natural. Though the line does not extend quite as far as Josie Maran’s, their few products are exceptional. So far, there is: 100% argan oil, a hydrating oil that smells like roses, a rejuvenating oil that smells citrusy, and, my personal favorite, the calming oil that smells like lavender. The ingredients of each oil concoction have been specifically chosen for their benefits for skin and their general benefits on overall health. These oils may be applied to all skin types as a moisturizer and in hair to tame frizz; all it takes is a couple of drops! I’ve found that the most beneficial area is my hands and I like to apply a couple of drops every 2-3 hours to keep them soft and supple. The newest addition to the product line consists of pure argan oil with 23 karat gold (extremely glamorous, if I may say so). Though I have yet to experience the anti-bacterial and healing properties of gold (gold has been found to increase collagen growth), I do find that this oil gives a nice sparkle or glow when applied.
Like many skin products, argan oil falls into the category of “to each his own” and consumers are left to decide whether the product is right for their skin type and provides any benefit. Personally, I have to say my skin feels softer, my hair is not nearly as break-prone as it usually is and my split ends have disappeared after using argan oil for a couple of months. The smell of pure argan oil is something that one has to get used to (it is very nutty, almost like hazelnuts); however, Olie Biologique’s fragrant oils makes the experience of applying argan oil extremely pleasurable. Maybe argan oil is “liquid gold” as they say (especially if you put 23 karat gold into it).
Margit Lai Wun Juhasz
Mount Sinai Medical Student