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Argan Oil for Psoriasis: Can It Help?

Posted on August 18, 2021
Medically reviewed by
Kevin Berman, M.D., Ph.D.
Article written by
Victoria Menard

Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition that has no cure, but certain treatments and natural remedies may help relieve its symptoms. Some MyPsoriasisTeam members have tried argan oil — an oil extracted from the Argania spinosa tree — as a complementary way of managing psoriasis symptoms combined with their prescribed treatments.

Argan oil cannot treat psoriasis, but it may help manage skin symptoms like dryness, itchiness, redness, and scaling. Always talk to your doctor or dermatologist before trying any new home remedies as part of your psoriasis skin care routine — even natural ones.

What Is Argan Oil?

Argan oil comes from the pressed seeds of the argan (Argania spinosa) tree, which is native to Morocco and western North Africa. It has been used for centuries in both food and cosmetic products, the latter of which is made using raw (unroasted) seed kernels.

Argan oil has many reported health benefits. When consumed, the oil has been found to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. It is also known to have antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. These beneficial properties are thought to be due to argan oil’s high content of monounsaturated fatty acids, as well as its other components, including squalene, polyphenols, and tocopherols.

Can Argan Oil Help Treat Psoriasis?

Argan oil has several different properties that may benefit people with psoriasis. However, it is important to note that there is a lack of comprehensive clinical data supporting the purported health benefits of argan oil. Further research is needed to determine the efficacy of the oil in treating skin conditions like psoriasis.

Argan Oil and the Protective Skin Barrier

Argan oil contains an abundance of fatty acids, including oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, and stearic acid. Linoleic acid, in particular, has been found to help maintain the skin’s protective barrier and prevent water loss through the skin. This could help improve symptoms of psoriasis, as the disease can result in dry patches of skin.

Moisturizing Properties

Vitamin E and fatty acids that are naturally present in argan oil may help moisturize and soften dry skin caused by psoriasis. One study found that both oral consumption and topical application of the oil help restore the protective skin barrier and improve skin hydration. This study, as well as another from 2013, found that the regular nightly application of argan oil significantly reduced transepidermal water loss (the loss of hydration through the skin). Note that both of these studies were conducted on postmenopausal women.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes widespread (systemic) inflammation. Argan oil’s high concentration of vitamin E is responsible for some of its anti-inflammatory properties when consumed orally. These benefits have also been found to extend to the skin, helping to reduce inflammation.

Wound-Healing Properties

Argan oil has traditionally been used to treat skin infections and has been found to have wound-healing effects. This may be helpful if scratching itchy psoriasis plaques has led to skin injury. However, more research is needed to determine the efficacy of argan oil in aiding wound healing.

How To Use Argan Oil for Psoriasis

Talk to a dermatologist before incorporating any new products or ingredients into your skin care regimen, including argan oil. Additionally, keep in mind that what works for one person with psoriasis may not work for you. As one MyPsoriasisTeam member wrote, “There are so many awesome ingredients out there, and everybody is different. It really is trial and error.”

After your dermatologist has given you the OK, it is a good idea to patch test argan oil to determine how your skin responds. To test if the argan oil will irritate your skin, apply a small amount to an inconspicuous area and wait 24 hours before continuing use.

Topical Application of Argan Oil

As with other oils, argan oil is not a moisturizer — it is considered an occlusive. Occlusives protect the skin from irritants and prevent transepidermal water loss, helping to keep dry, itchy, irritated skin at bay. For this reason, argan oil should be applied to slightly damp skin. You may also apply argan oil over your usual moisturizers or topical medications to help seal in their hydrating properties.

Argan Oil for Scalp Psoriasis

MyPsoriasisTeam members have shared that they use argan oil to help alleviate psoriasis symptoms on the scalp. It can help exfoliate the skin, thinning out areas of scaly skin. As one member wrote, they use a mixture of oils with their corticosteroid cream: “I use argan oil and coconut oil on my hair/scalp after the Clobetasol liquid solution — it helps!”

Some members, however, find that the greasiness of argan oil is not worth the hassle: “I have used both oils,” one member shared. “All they did was make my hair greasy. I’ve used everything you can think of (menthol, salicylic acid, coal tar, and excimer laser). Only DermaSmooth oil and topical steroids have helped.”

Products Containing Argan Oil

Several members have reported using Kenkoderm soap, which contains shea butter and argan oil. One member shared their experience, writing, “Argan oil is also in this Kenkoderm soap I’ve been using mostly on my scalp. The soap is an improvement over the things I had been trying, but I still pray for better results.”

What To Keep in Mind When Using Argan Oil for Psoriasis

One major concern about using argan oil for psoriasis is its cost — the oil is the most expensive edible oil on the planet. For this reason, you may want to research other oils — such as olive oil and neem oil — that contain vitamin E and the same beneficial fatty acids at a lower cost.

Meet Your Team

MyPsoriasisTeam is the social network for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and their loved ones. Here, more than 96,000 members from around the world come together to ask questions, offer support and advice, and meet others who understand life with psoriatic disease.

Have you tried argan oil or products containing the oil? Share your experience and tips in the comments below or by posting on MyPsoriasisTeam.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Kevin Berman, M.D., Ph.D. is a dermatologist at the Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Victoria Menard is a writer at MyHealthTeam. Learn more about her here.

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