Argan Oil For Skin: What Are The Benefits And Can It Clog Pores?

by Gio
is argan oil good for skin

A staple in Moroccan cuisine and skincare for centuries, Argan oil has recently taken the beauty world by storm.

Word on the street is that it does it all: makes your skin softer than a baby’s, fights off premature wrinkles and regulates excess oil production – without giving you pimples.

Is this the skincare miracle we were all waiting for? Not really… Argan oil is good for skin, but not that good. Let’s separate truth from myth, shall we?

What’s Argan Oil?

Argan oil is a non-fragrant plant oil derived from the kernels of the Argan trees. This type of tree is so rare, it grows only in Morocco (although, some people are now trying to export it to other regions). You’ve guessed it, that makes the price skyrocket. *sighs*

Dubbed “the gold of Morocco”, Argan oil is a rich source of moisturising fatty acids, like Linoleic, Oleic, and Palmitic. Plus, it has its fair share of antioxidants, including Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, and carotenes.

FYI, you can tell if Argan Oil Is refined or not. Unrefined argan oil (no bleaching, preservatives, or anything like that) is golden-yellowish in colour and has a slightly nutty scent. Refined Argan oil is both colourless and odourless.

Related: Is Ferulic Acid The Best Antioxidant Of All?

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What’s The Best Type Of Argan Oil?

There are three types of Argan oil:

  • Unrefined: This means the oil has’t been bleached or deodorised to remove its yellow color or strong scent. No preservatives or anything extra added, either. This is good because, during these refining processes, oils lose a lot of the goodies that make them so good for skin. Refined only are cheaper, but you’re losing out on benefits big time.
  • Extra-Virgin: This means Argan oil is extracted from the earliest pressings of the Argan kernels, so they have a stronger scent, a deeper colour, and more goodies (like fatty acids and antioxidants). It’s more expensive than unrefined, but it works better.
  • Cold-Pressed: The oil is extracted from the plant mechanically, without extra heat. Heat is what kills a lot of the antioxidants in Argan oil before it reaches the bottle. In other words, cold-pressed Argan oil has the most goodies and is the most beneficial for it. But it’s the most expensive, too.

P.S. Argan oil is so expensive, few brands use it alone. You’ll often find it mixed with other oils (like olive oil) and other stuff.

Related: How To Read A Skincare Ingredient List (Even If You Hate Science)

Argan Oil For Skin: What Does It Do?

There’s a reason (or more) Argan oil is so popular in skincare:

  • Antioxidants: Argan Oil is a rich source of antioxidants, like Vitamin E. Rumour has it, it has twice as much Vitamin E as olive oil! Antioxidants fight free radicals, the little molecules that give you wrinkles and dark spots. The more antioxidants you use in your skincare routine, the more damage you can prevent.
  • Cleansing: Like all oils, Argan oil works thanks to the “like attracts like” principle. The oil attaches to the oils on your skin and in your makeup, melting them away.
  • Moisturising: Its high fatty acids content strengthens the skin’s protective barrier. This helps moisture stay into the skin, keeping it soft and hydrated for longer. Plus, it protects skin from germs, pollutants, and anything else that attacks it during the day.
  • Sebum-regulator: There’s some research that suggests that Argan oil can regulate the production of sebum and reduce grease in oily skin. But, in the study, researched used antioxidants from Argan oil, so it’s hard to know if using pure Argan oil gives the same results.
  • Soothing: Argan Oil is high in Linoleic Acid, a fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is the main cause of both acne and premature aging. Anything that can reduce inflammation is good news for skin.
  • UV Protection: The antioxidants in Argan Oil also have UV-protective properties that enhance the sun protection of your sunscreen.

Related: How Do Antioxidant In Skincare Work?

How Do You Use Argan Oil?

Like all oils, Argan oil is very versatile:

  • Cleanser: Argan oil is great at removing makeup. Simply massage a few drops on your skin and rinse it away with a washcloth. You can also blend it with other oils, like Castor, to improve texture and cleansing power. But it’s so expensive, this isn’t probably the best use for it.
  • Conditioner: Argan oil makes hair softer and shinier. You can apply a few drops all over your hair or use it as a pre-shampoo treatment. Apply a generous dose all over your hair, wait a few hours, and the shampoo and condition your hair as normal. The extra oil will give it that extra ooomph!
  • Moisturiser: You can use Argan Oil on its own or with a few drops with your moisturiser to deeply hydrate skin and make it soft and supple. It works on the face, body, nails… You name it.

Related: What’s The Oil Cleansing Method And Should You Use It?

argan oil for skin

Is Argan Oil Comedogenic?

A quick Google search turns up many sources saying Argan Oil isn’t comedogenic. But is that true? Mmm…

Here’s where things get complicated. Oleic acid makes up roughly 40-50% of the fatty acid content in Argan Oil, while Lineoleic Acid makes up for 30-40%.

What does this mean? Linoleic Acid has anti-acne properties that help you fight pimples. Oleic Acid is the opposite and tends to cause pimples.

The balance between these two fatty acids is so close, it’s impossible to tell if Argan oil will clog pores for you, unless you try it.

I recommend you try it on a small patch of skin first. And if it makes you breakouts, ditch it. You’re not crazy. Argan oil can clog pores.

Related: What Are The Best Facial Oils For Oily Skin?

What Are The Best Skincare Products With Argan Oil?

The Bottom Line

Argan oil is a wonderful multitasker that moisturises skin, soothes inflammation, fights off premature aging, and even helps protect against UV rays. But it’s not the miracle potion it’s made out to be and it can clog pores in some people.

Have you ever tried Argan oil for skin? Let me know in the comments below.



Emilita July 11, 2009 - 4:41 pm

Have you ever tried using it?
.-= Emilita´s last blog ..My First Chopsticks (Sort Of) =-.

Dee July 11, 2009 - 6:15 pm

I knew I forgot to add some things in my post, do you mind if I link you in my Argan Oil post Gio? So others can learn a little more about this?
.-= Dee´s last blog ..MAC Colour Craft Now Online (Free Shipping Code) =-.

beautifulwithbrains July 11, 2009 - 8:02 pm

Emilita: not yet. I want to because people rav about its benefits even though there aren’t many scientific studies about it yet but it’s a bit expensive and my budget is pretty limited at the moment. Hopefully I’ll be able to try it soon and then I’ll report back. 🙂

Dee: Of course I don’t mind and thanks for linking to my post 🙂

Renee July 12, 2009 - 4:41 am

Oh thanks for this post!

I am writing about a product that has argan oil in it and since you say it clogs pores I’m very worried about it! Will link back to this post. x


Argan Oil For Beautiful Glowing Skin « Hanidee July 12, 2009 - 6:32 pm

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beautifulwithbrains July 13, 2009 - 4:23 pm

Renee, you’re welcome and thanks for the link. Can’t wait to read your post. Keep in mind that just because an ingredient is comedogenic it doesn’t necessary mean it will clog pores. That also depends on the formula, the concentration on the ingredient present in the formula and the skin type. For instance, people will normal skin are less likely to have problems than those with oily skin. But yes, Argan Oil could potentially clog pores and that is something to take into consideration if you decide to start using it.

Pick of the Week: Josie Maran Cosmetics Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 — beauty FOOL July 15, 2009 - 8:01 pm

[…] is the argan oil – I don’t like the sound of oil on my face! And plus, I recently read this post by Beautiful with Brains that said argan oil can clog pores and therefore cause breakouts. What do […]

Beth March 11, 2010 - 1:05 pm

Can you direct me to the studies about psoriasis and sebum production?

beautifulwithbrains March 11, 2010 - 9:37 pm

Hello Beth, here is a study about a cream containing argan oil and its effectiveness at treating sebum production:

I can’t seem to find the study about psoriasis at the moment (I’ll keep looking as after all I had found it before), but I remember it having something to do with the fatty acids in argan oil.

Jenny January 16, 2011 - 10:18 pm

Hi. I’ve been trying some 100% argan oil that a Moroccan friend brought me back from a trip home. I’ve got combination, acne-prone skin, but just turned 40 & wanted to see what it might do for my fine lines… I’ve been delighted with the results overall, BUT, it has caused my skin to break out. The positives outweigh the negatives for me, though. My face is less puffy & lines look smoother. I’m delighted; I didn’t expect to see any results. I’m just now back-tracking and doing some research, which led me to your site! : ) Thanks. Hope my two cents helps.

beautifulwithbrains January 17, 2011 - 5:54 pm

Jenny, thank you for sharing your experience. What a bummer it made your skin break out but I’m glad your overall experience was positive and that it did help with your fine lines and puffiness.

J B January 17, 2012 - 6:46 am

Hi! I was researching argan oil effects on sebum production (I have combination oily skin) and found your site. I actually purchased this last month from (Watt’s Beauty Oil is the brand, claims to be 100% certified organic and was about $30 for 4 oz, not a bad price) and have been using it for weeks. I bought it because my skin is terribly dry, to the point of being painful and red in the winter. After using the argan oil, it is now very soft and much less oily. I’m saying this as a guy who does not know much about skin care, but this stuff seems to really work. I have some old acne scars from the teen years and I’m waiting to see how they respond, but as a moisturizer it is fantastic! (I mix about 4-5 drops with my normal face lotion). The other thing I have noticed is, using a few drops in my hair, not only does it make my hair shiny but I have had a dandruff problem for the past 6 or so years, it seems to have gone away and NOTHING else has worked. My hair also gets to be more manageable but it’s important to not use too much and maybe this isn’t practical if you have long hair.

Anyways, just wanted to share my story. I don’t know if it will work for everyone but it did for me. Now my only concern is that my vendor is selling the real stuff and not some blend or impure rip off, since the price is so much lower.. thank you for your post, I hope I have contributed something!

beautifulwithbrains January 17, 2012 - 7:35 pm

J B, thanks for sharing your experience. I’m sure those interested in trying this oil fill find it very helpful. Argain Oil is very moisturizing indeed and I hope it will work well for your acne scars too.

SLM October 20, 2013 - 10:10 pm

Argan Oil works great on dry, cracking cuticles, which is an ever-present problem in the very dry climate in which I live.

beautifulwithbrains October 21, 2013 - 5:44 am

SLM, that’s good to know. Thanks for sharing.

Julina March 15, 2017 - 9:22 pm

hi there, i use argan diluted into rosehip and sweet almond, thats how I apply it, i was wondering if you can investigate the comparisons between Argan, Tsubaki, and Camellia oils? thanks

Gio March 22, 2017 - 11:59 am

Julina, camellia is almost identical to sebum and has more antioxidants than argan oil so if you dry/aging skin, I’d go with that one.

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