Liquid gold of Morocco – that is how the Moroccans call the Argan oil, which has numerous skin care properties and is therefore a valuable component of many soaps. The oil, which is extracted from the fruit of the argan tree, moisturizes and protects the skin from free radicals, among other things.
The very rare argan tree only grows in an area of approximately 820,000 acres in the south-west of Morocco. Its correct scientific name Argania spinosa. Botanists call it a "living fossil" because it already existed more than 80 million years ago and thus is a relict of the Tertiary period. The rather small tree grows up to 10 meters high and can withstand drought and extreme temperatures.
The treasured oil is produced by the fruits of the tree: the pulp of the argan fruit is inedible for humans and contains up to three kernels. Its extremely hard shell surrounds a small, oily almond.
The argan tree is closely connected with the culture of the Berbers in Morocco. The women harvest the fruits and knock the kernels open to win the oil. Because of the hard shell, the harvest is very tedious and takes a long time. Even today, 80 percent of the retailed Argan oil is produced by hand. One liter of oil is made from 30 kilos of fruit.
Berber women have known for centuries about the skin care properties of Argan oil. They use the oil to keep their skin supple and young. Argan oil soap also provides these benefits. Among other things, the unsaturated fatty acids of the oil are crucial for healthy skin. The linoleic acid in particular acts as a barrier and protects the skin against damaging environmental influences. The phytosterols contained in Argan oil have a soothing effect. These phytochemicals help to retain moisture in the cells and thus protect the skin from dehydration.
Argan oil is also a natural source of vitamin E, which is often referred to as "anti-aging vitamin." Vitamin E is a natural therapy for aging skin, as it protects the cells against so-called free radicals. Free radicals arise from metabolic processes in the body and have a tendency to combine with cell walls and other cell components, thereby damaging the cells. Polyphenols contained in Argan oil have a further protective function. They too protect against free radicals and also have an anti-inflammatory effect.
The sum of these properties makes Argan oil a valuable care product that also can be used by people with very sensitive skin. For example, numerous neurodermatitis patients use the oil to pamper their sensitive skin.
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