Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Argan oil contains 12% palmitic acid (C16), 6% stearic acid (C18), 42% oleic acid (C18:1), and about 36% linoleic acid (C18:2), which makes it very similar to pumpkin or sesame oil. It has about 56 mg per kilogram polyphenols and between 480 and 620 mg/kg tocopherols, with about 69% of that amount found in the form of alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E). This means it has a nice long shelf life, although no one will tell me exactly how long, I'd be comfortable with it having about 9 months to a year.
Where argan oil is very interesting in is in the unsaponifiable portion of the the oil, which makes up about 1% of the oil. It has about 37% carotenes, which accounts for its yellowish colour, 20% triterpenic alcohols, 20% phytosterols, and 5% xantophyls.
The phytosterols are very interesting - schottenol and alpha-spinasterol are not often found in vegetable oils. Schottenol may have some anti-tumour effects and alpha spinasterol has some cell stimulation activity. As with all phytosterols, they are also helpful for reducing inflammation.
It may help suppress sebum production (click here for the study), and it is supposed to protect our skin and strengthen our hair, but I haven't been able to find any studies confirming these last two claims. (And what does "strength hair" or "protect skin" really mean, anyway?)
So what about using it in hair care products? Sure. Seems like a nice oil to me. Any oils will offer a decrease in friction and an increase in lubricity, both of which can prevent damage to our hair. Is there anything special in it specifically for our hair? I don't know. There's simply not enough information out there to make that kind of statement.
The very nice thing about this oil is the way it is sold - by co-operatives of women who are protecting the rare trees and using the money to support the community and provide health care and education to the tribe. (Click here for more information.)
Join me tomorrow for a look at the MoroccanOil products that use argan oil!