“Oil” On the Line: Argan Oil vs. Coconut Oil

Grease Fighting?

Of the two most talked-about oils out there, which takes the lead?

1) Growth hormones

Argan oil comes from the kernels of the argan tree fruit which do not contain growth hormones. Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has phytochemicals and growth hormones, an important aspect of its anti-aging. TIP: Look for first-and-cold-pressed VCO, free of heat and other processing or additives, to get as much of this good stuff as possible.

2) Published studies

Argan oil seems to have one observational clinical trial and no randomized, double-blind clinical trials as of yet (the latter are considered the gold standard of clinical studies for efficacy). In the one argan oil study, a “sebum control cream” containing polyphenol-rich extract from saw palmetto, sesame seeds and argan oil was applied over 4 weeks, with sebum (oil) measurements taken. The results showed, “efficacy of the sebum control cream tested to reduce the greasiness and improve the appearance of oily facial skin”. That seems ok if your main concern is reducing the greasy appearance of skin, but it doesn’t say much else. VCO, on the other hand, has numerous randomized, double-blind clinical trials published in peer-reviewed medical journals on its antiseptic properties against various microbes, on its moisturization, on its safety and efficacy  for atopic (eczema and related conditions) and xerotic skin (highly dry, flaky, sensitive, itchy skin), and more.

3) Fatty acids

VCO wins by a mile with a whopping 92% saturated fatty acids (versus argan oil’s 18%). VCO’s fatty acids are also more stable, less prone to oxidation, and give firmness to cell walls, which is so important for barrier repair.

4) “Good” vs. “bad” fatty acids 

Argan oil has 36.8% more pro-inflammatory linoleic acid (omega-6) to VCO’s 2%. VCO also has far more anti-inflammatory fatty acids like caprylic, capric, and lauric acid.

5) Preservative-free 

Argan oil lasts about 12-18 months but could last 2 years if it is a virgin oil of very high quality, and if stored in small bottles away from light and below 18ºC (about 64ºF). VCO lasts 2 years or more without special handling. This stability is fundamental to many of VCO’s skin benefits and it means that VCO does not need preservatives (many of which are allergens).

6) Environmental impact

Argan oil is from a tree that grows in a small, specific area of North Africa. VCO comes from coconut trees which grow widely and easily in tropical/sub-tropical countries, making for easier management and tree replacement.


We’re always on the lookout for the safest, most effective ingredients.  We have yet to see compelling evidence to create an argan oil product (and we’re all about the evidence). There are far more clinical studies on mineral and other oils, for example, and we have not yet found an oil to rival virgin coconut oil in terms of its anti-aging and cellular health capabilities, barrier repair, antimicrobial, and fatty acid benefits, or its nutritional value. For more on virgin coconut oil, enter “virgin coconut oil” in the search field at skintelligencenter.com.



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