8 Evidence Based Health Benefits of Argan Oil

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Argan oil has been used for centuries in Morocco for its potential cosmetic and health benefits.

It is obtained from the kernels of the Argan tree, Argania spinosa. It is rich in oleic acid, linoleic acid, and vitamin E.

It is gaining popularity for its cardioprotective, antiproliferative, antioxidant and antidiabetic properties.[1] [2]

Key Health Benefits of Argan Oil

The key benefits of argan oil include improving skin hydration and modulating serum lipid markers. It can reduce hyperpigmentation of skin and enhance hair quality post coloring. It may lower blood pressure, decrease insulin resistance, and prevent the proliferation of cancer cells.

1. Argan oil reduces serum LDL and triglycerides

Studies reported that argan oil decreased the serum LDL cholesterol and triglycerides due to its high antioxidant, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acid content.[3]

In a study, 20 healthy individuals who consumed 15g/d of argan oil on toasted bread for four weeks exhibited lower total and LDL cholesterol. It also improved the cellular antioxidant profile.[4]

Another study with 62 healthy argan oil consumers showed similar results.[5]

In a meta-analysis involving five randomized trials, supplementation of virgin argan oil reduced the plasma centration of LDL-C and triglycerides.

It increased plasma HDL-C levels compared to the control group.[6]

What it means: Studies have shown that argan oil modulates plasma lipid markers. It can, therefore, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Large randomized clinical trials are required to assess the efficacy of argan oil supplementation on other parameters of cardiometabolic risk.

2. Argan oil improves skin hydration and skin elasticity

Studies reported that argan oil improved skin elasticity and hydration. The active ingredients of argan oil help in maintaining water holding capacity and restoring skin barrier function.[7]

In a study, postmenopausal women consumed and applied argan oil for 60 days. Argan oil-treated group had a decrease in transdermal water loss and an increase in the water content of the epidermis.[8]

In another study, argan treatment increased gross elasticity, net elasticity, and biological elasticity of the skin.[9]

Nanostructured lipid carriers using argan oil increased skin hydration in healthy individuals.[10]

Argan oil supplemented group showed an increased contraction and more significant healing in second-degree burns in rats.[11]

What it means: Research studies elucidated that argan oil,  when taken orally or applied topically, increases skin hydration and reduce signs of aging in postmenopausal women. It also produced increased healing in the second-degree burns. More human research will help in elucidating the antiaging properties of argan oil.

3. Argan oil may reduce the hyperpigmentation

Argan oil may lower the melanin biosynthesis and produce a depigmenting effect. Hyperpigmentation occurs due to an increase in the activity of melanogenic enzymes, tyrosinase.[12]

In a study, argan oil decreased melanogenesis associated transcription factor (MITF) and exerted a depigmenting effect in uveal melanoma cells. It also reduced the expression of tyrosinase.[13]

Argan press cake obtained from oil extraction of Sapotaceae decreased the expression level of melanogenic enzymes on B16 cells. [14]

What it means: Some studies showed that argan oil might inhibit the expression of melanogenic enzymes. It also may decrease the MITF and produce depigmentation. More research studies are required to determine if argan oil could manage hyperpigmentation related disorders.

health benefits of argan oil

4. Argan oil may reduce blood pressure

Some studies reported that argan oil treatment might reduce high blood pressure through its ability to reduce oxidative stress.[15]

In hypertensive rats, seven weeks of treatment of argan oil reduced the mean blood pressure and decreased oxidative stress. It improved endothelial dysfunction.[16]

In a diabetic-hypertensive rat model, virgin argan oil lowered blood pressure during the three weeks of treatment. Blood pressure stayed at 131 mmHg after 21 days of treatment.[17]

What it means: Animal studies have shown that virgin argan oil may reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It also may reduce diabetes-induced hypertension. Although animal studies are promising, further investigation with human clinical trials re required to assess the use of argan oil for managing hypertension.

5. Argan oil may improve insulin resistance

Some studies showed that argan oil supplementation might reduce hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in glucose fed rats.

In a preclinical study, argan oil supplemented to glucose fed rats showed a decrease in insulin resistance and hyperglycemia.[18]

Five-week treatment with argan oil to Sprague-Dawley rats showed lowered blood insulin levels and decreased insulin resistance index. [19]

Argan oil improved insulin signaling phosphorylation of enzymes, including Akt and Erk, in a dietary-induced obesity rat model. [20]

What it means: Some animal studies indicated that argan oil treatment might modulate blood glucose levels and insulin resistance in glucose fed rats. Therefore, human clinical studies are required to determine if argan oil shows promise in the treatment of diabetes.

6. Argan oil may improve the clinical symptoms of knee arthritis

Argan oil may reduce knee pain and improve walking parameters in arthritic patients. Knee arthritis is a degenerative disorder characterized by knee pain and walking difficulties.[21]

In a randomized clinical trial, 51 arthritic patients receiving argan oil had decreased visual analog scale for pain and WOMAC pain index after eight weeks.

Walking distance significantly improved compared to control.[22]

What it means: One randomized study shows that argan oil may decrease pain and improve walking distance in arthritic patients. Extensive clinical studies analyzing the anti-inflammatory properties of argan oil will assess its significance in the treatment of arthritis.

7. Argan oil may improve the quality of hair

Argan oil with Theobroma grandiflorum may reduce hair damage caused by hair coloring.

Oxidative dyes used for hair coloring may damage the hair and make it look rough and dry. Argan oil may help in keeping hair moisturized.[23]

In a study involving Caucasian women post-treatment with hair dye, argan oil with Theobroma grandiflorum seed butter decreased the hair damage caused by the coloring.[24]

What it means: Preliminary study showed that argan oil, in combination with Theobroma grandiflorum, might improve the quality of hair and reduce hair damage caused by hair coloring. Future studies are required to examine the hair protecting properties of argan oil.

8. Anti-proliferative effects of argan oil

Preliminary studies showed that argan oil might reduce the proliferation of cancer cells through its antioxidant properties. [25]

Polyphenols and sterols of virgin argan oil showed a dose-dependent anti-cancer effect in three human prostate cancer cell lines, including DU145, LNCaP, and PC3.[26]

In another study, argan oil nanoemulsion vehicles stabilized with vitamin E showed a pro-apoptotic effect in breast and colon cancer cell lines.[27]

What it means: Preliminary studies reported that argan oil might reduce the division and apoptosis of cancer cells, including prostate, colon, and breast cancer cell lines. More randomized controlled trials are required to investigate the anti-proliferative effects of argan oil.


Side effects

Argan oil is generally considered safe. However, in rare cases, the topical application of argan oil can cause contact dermatitis. It is characterized by rash, burning sensation, and itchiness.[28]


Information regarding the safety of argan oil during pregnancy, lactating, and in children is lacking.

Drug Interactions

No well-documented drug interactions of argan oil are reported.


There is no proper recommended dosage or guidelines for the appropriate use of argan oil. The dose of 15g/day has been used to study serum lipid modulating properties of argan oil.[29]


Moroccan argan oil has found its place in the cosmetic and culinary industry for centuries.

It is gaining popularity due to its cardioprotective, anti-proliferative and antioxidant properties. But, the clinical data studies proving the efficacy of argan oil in humans is limited.

Therefore, future studies will help in understanding more of its potential health benefits in different pathological conditions.