Is Argan Oil A PUFA? What You Need To Know

Are you a fan of using natural oils in your skincare routine? If so, you may have heard of argan oil.

This oil, derived from the kernels of the argan tree, has gained popularity in recent years for its purported benefits for skin and hair. But have you ever wondered about the fatty acid composition of argan oil? Is it a PUFA, or polyunsaturated fatty acid, like other popular cosmetic oils such as almond and rosehip?

In this article, we’ll explore the answer to this question and what it means for your skincare routine. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of argan oil.

Is Argan Oil A PUFA?

To answer the question, yes, argan oil is a PUFA. However, it’s important to note that not all PUFAs are created equal.

As we mentioned earlier, PUFAs are the most unstable fatty acids and are easily oxidized when exposed to heat, light, and oxygen. This oxidation can lead to free radical damage in our skin cells, causing premature aging and other skin issues.

But while argan oil does contain PUFAs, it’s important to note that it also contains a high percentage of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which are more stable and less prone to oxidation. In fact, oleic acid, a type of MUFA, is the predominant fatty acid in argan oil.

Additionally, argan oil is cold-pressed from unroasted kernels using mechanical extraction, which means it’s not subjected to high heat or pressure during the extraction process. This helps to preserve the integrity of the fatty acids and minimize oxidation.

Understanding Fatty Acids And PUFA

To understand why PUFAs are considered unstable and potentially harmful, it’s important to have a basic understanding of fatty acids. Fatty acids are the building blocks of fats, and they can be either saturated or unsaturated.

Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between their carbon atoms, which means they are solid at room temperature. They are typically found in animal products like meat, butter, and cheese.

Unsaturated fatty acids, on the other hand, have one or more double bonds between their carbon atoms. This makes them liquid at room temperature and more susceptible to oxidation. Unsaturated fats can be further divided into monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

MUFAs have one double bond and are more stable than PUFAs because they have fewer points of unsaturation. Examples of MUFAs include olive oil, avocado oil, and peanut oil.

PUFAs, as mentioned earlier, have two or more double bonds, which makes them highly unstable and prone to oxidation. They can be further divided into omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, both of which are essential for our health but must be consumed in the right balance.

While some oils high in PUFAs like flaxseed oil and fish oil are recommended for their health benefits when consumed internally, they may not be the best choice for skincare products due to their instability.

The Fatty Acid Composition Of Argan Oil

The fatty acid composition of argan oil is predominantly made up of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), with a small amount of saturated fatty acids (SFAs). The most abundant fatty acid in argan oil is oleic acid (C18:1), which makes up around 46.6% of the total fatty acid content. Linoleic acid (C18:2) is the second most abundant, comprising around 32.6% of the total fatty acid content, while palmitic acid (C16:0) makes up around 13.1%.

Argan oil is considered a PUFA due to its relatively high content of linoleic acid, which is an essential omega-6 fatty acid that our bodies cannot produce on their own. However, the overall PUFA content in argan oil is lower than other oils, with MUFAs being the predominant type of fatty acid.

The small amount of SFAs in argan oil is also noteworthy, comprising only around 19 g/100 g of the total fatty acid content. This low SFA content is beneficial for heart health and overall health, as high intakes of SFAs have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other health issues.

It’s important to note that the quality and stability of argan oil’s fatty acids can vary based on factors such as production methods and storage conditions. Cold-pressed, unroasted argan oil is generally considered to be the highest quality and most stable form of argan oil, as it minimizes oxidation and preserves the integrity of the fatty acids.

PUFA Vs. Saturated Fats: Which Is Better For Your Skin?

When it comes to skincare, the debate between PUFAs and saturated fats is a hot topic. Saturated fats, like those found in coconut oil and tallow, are more stable and less prone to oxidation than PUFAs. This means they are less likely to cause free radical damage in our skin cells.

However, it’s important to note that not all saturated fats are created equal. Grass-fed beef tallow and lard from pigs that were not fed corn and soy are considered to be the most beneficial for our skin, as they are chemically similar to the natural oils produced by our own skin.

On the other hand, PUFAs like those found in argan oil and other commonly used skincare oils have their own benefits. They are considered essential fatty acids and play a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin function.

The key is to strike a balance between the two. Using products with a mix of both saturated fats and PUFAs can provide the best of both worlds for your skin. It’s also important to pay attention to the percentage of PUFAs in your skincare products and opt for those with lower percentages to minimize the risk of oxidation and free radical damage.

Benefits Of Using Argan Oil In Your Skincare Routine

Argan oil has numerous benefits for your skin, making it a great addition to your skincare routine. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from using argan oil:

1. Moisturizes Your Skin: Argan oil is a great moisturizer for your skin, thanks to its high content of vitamin E and fatty acids. It hydrates, nourishes, and keeps your skin moisturized for a long time. It’s also light and quickly absorbed into the skin, making it perfect for all skin types.

2. Helps Acne-Prone Skin: Argan oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-sebum properties that can help reduce swelling and soothe acne-prone skin. It also helps regulate oil production, which can be a trigger for acne.

3. Protects From Sun Damage: Argan oil contains antioxidants that protect and repair your skin from sunburn, damage, or hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure. It also inhibits the production of melanin, which can cause hyperpigmentation.

4. Improves Skin’s Overall Health: Argan oil is loaded with ingredients that are considered the best for maintaining your skin’s health. Using it in your everyday skincare routine can make a lot of difference to your overall skin appearance.

5. Heals Wounds: Argan oil has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help heal wounds. It also helps reduce redness and inflammation in itchy, flaky skin caused by conditions like eczema or atopic dermatitis.

6. Acts As A Natural Skin Toner: Argan oil works as an all-natural skin toner that fights acne, age spots, and sun damage, leaving you with a more even skin tone. You can make your own toner by combining green tea, essential oils, and argan oil.

How To Incorporate Argan Oil Into Your Daily Routine

Now that we know argan oil is a beneficial ingredient for our skin, hair, and overall health, let’s discuss how to incorporate it into our daily routine.

1. Face Moisturizer: After cleansing your face, apply a few drops of argan oil onto your fingertips and gently massage it onto your face and neck. This will help to lock in moisture and nourish your skin throughout the day.

2. Nighttime Serum: Before bed, apply argan oil onto your face and neck as a serum. The antioxidants in the oil will help to repair and rejuvenate your skin while you sleep.

3. Hair Mask: Add a few drops of argan oil to your regular conditioner or invest in an argan oil hair mask. Leave it on for five minutes in the shower for deeply moisturized hair.

4. Eyebrow Growth: Take a Q-tip and a few drops of argan oil and apply it to the eyebrow area nightly to promote cell production and aid in hair growth.

5. Makeup Primer: After moisturizing, pump a dime-size amount of argan oil onto your palms, warm it up, and press it into the skin for a glowy complexion under your makeup.

6. Night Cream: Use 1-2 pumps of argan oil on its own by pressing it into the skin or mix a smaller amount (4-5 drops) into your regular moisturizer for a heavier nighttime moisturizer.

7. DIY BB Cream: Mix a few drops of argan oil with your full coverage foundation for a subtle glam and real-looking skin in seconds.

8. Hydrating Exfoliator: Mix argan oil with coffee or sugar for a gentle hydrating scrub to slough off dead skin cells and reveal baby-soft, hydrated skin.

9. Scalp Treatment: Massage a few drops of argan oil into the scalp to stimulate blood circulation and provide anti-inflammatory benefits for dandruff-free hair.

Remember to pay attention to how your skin reacts when using new products and introduce only one new item at a time. With these tips, you can easily incorporate argan oil into your daily routine for healthy, glowing skin and hair.