Skin care manufacturers always advise customers to test products on a small area of the skin before making a full application. This advice is particularly important if you have shown sensitivity to certain allergens in the past. But what if you have an allergy to eating nuts? Here we look at whether it is safe to topically apply beauty products such as argan oil.
What Is Argan Oil?
There is currently a big buzz in the beauty industry about argan oil, and there are many celebrity devotees. Argan oil is a derivative from a fruit which is native to southwest Morocco. The fruit is peeled and the nut inside it carefully removed by hand. The nut is then broken open with a rock to access the kernels – the argan oil can then be extracted.
How Is Argan Oil Used?
In Morocco, argan oil is a food product which is used in a similar way to olive oil. It is also gaining popularity in Western cultures, due to numerous associated health benefits such as reduced risk of heart disease. However, argan oil is mostly associated with cosmetic use.
Here are some common uses of argan oil:
- Moisturizer. Argan oil is easy to absorb and non-greasy. It is high in vitamin E, which is excellent for promoting good skin health. Add a few drops directly onto your skin after cleansing.
- Toner. Tree nut oils don’t just moisturize, they can be used to tighten pores too. For optimum results, argan oil can be combined with rose water.
- Anti aging. The oil is packed with anti oxidants, which helps to neutralize the effects of the free radicals which are found in our environment. This helps the skin to maintain a healthy level of collagen, which boosts elasticity, and minimizes the appearance of fine lines.
- Lip moisturizer. Argan oil is often used in lip balms to exfoliate and soften the lips.
- Hair conditioner. The oil isn’t just great for skin care – it has numerous benefits when used on the hair too! Use it as a leave in conditioner, by adding a few drops to your hair after stepping out of the shower.
- Cuticle softener. Massage a small amount of argan oil into your cuticles to encourage healthy nail growth.
- Cure cracked heals. Because the product is so moisturizing, many people use it to cure their cracked heals. Simply rub a few drops into the affected area, pull on a pair of cotton socks and leave overnight.
- Bath oil. To soften your skin all over, add a little argan oil to your bath. Some pregnant women swear that this reduces the appearance and formation of stretch marks.
Is Argan Oil Safe For People With Nut Allergies?
There is no simple answer to this question, as the types of nut allergy can vary. If you have allergic contact dermatitis which is triggered by tree nuts, then you should avoid argan oil.
You may have a tree nut allergy if you have shown a past reaction to shea nut butter, macademia oil, almond oil or ginko biloba. This sensitivity probably would have manifested as irritated or reddened skin, or a break out of spots.
If you have a very serious allergy to ingesting nuts, and are at risk of anaphylactic shock, then you should be very cautious about using argan oil. Many people who have a severe nut allergy are able to topically apply tree nut oils to their hair and their skin without suffering any unpleasant side effects. But a small number of allergy sufferers may have an unwanted reaction to the oil. Therefore you should always do a patch test on a small area first.
The exception to this is lip balms. Lip products containing argan oil – or any other tree nut oil – should always be avoided by nut allergy sufferers. This is because there is a greater risk of ingesting the product, and going into anaphylactic shock.
In conclusion, it can be said that argan oil is a highly beneficial beauty product which is typically very safe. However, it is prudent for nut allergy sufferers to seek advice from their doctor before using any cosmetic products which contain tree nut oils.