Argan oil for nutritional and skin care applications.
Two main types of argan oil co-exist: edible and cosmetic. Each type comes from the kernels of argan fruit but following slightly different preparative processes. The nutritional and dermoprotective properties of edible and beauty argan oil, respectively, have remained traditional knowledge for centuries. During the last twenty years, argan oil fame has spread over the world. This success has also attracted the attention of scientists and triggered scientific investigations in both chemical and biology fields. Some traditional claims have been confirmed. This peer-reviewed article is aimed at explaining argan oil preparative process, its limits together with the reasons of argan oil success in the food and skin care domains.
Argan oil is prepared by extracting argan kernels collected from the stones of argan tree fruit. Argan tree (Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels, family sapotaceae) is a relic of the Tertiary era. Whereas it was covering a large part of North-western Africa at that time, during the Quaternary era, it was forced back to two tiny parts of Morocco by the last glaciation and only survived there. The largest of these two areas, which is protected from cold wind by the anti-Atlas mountains and tempered by the Atlantic Ocean, is in Southwestern Morocco and is now known as the home of the argan forest. The argan forest is traditionally inhabited by the Amazigh population who has developed through the ages a peculiar way of life centered on the argan tree and its pr