Argan oil is derived from the nuts of Argania spinosa, a native desert tree in Morocco. In other words, the fruit of the Argania spinosa tree often called “argan nuts” are tree nuts. The oil is cold pressed as opposed to heat processed or highly refined, making it more likely to contain allergenic protein. As I’ve explained before, the difference between a seed and a nut is that nuts are a composite of the seed and the fruit where the fruit does not open to release the seed, and the fruit of this tree meets that definition.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argania Accessed 25 April 2014
The tree nuts considered priority allergens are almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts and walnuts. There are however many other types of tree nuts. If you are allergic to tree nuts, although argan nut is not on the list of the priority allergens, it would be prudent to avoid the use of argan oil.
If you’re determined to use argan oil despite your tree nut allergy, I suggest first scheduling an appointment to meet with your Allergist to determine if you react to it. You will likely need to bring a bottle of argan oil to that appointment, as it is not a common tree nut that he or she would have on hand.
Argan oil is a botanical oil, and even for those without tree nut allergies, botanicals can cause issues for some people. Specifically, Allergic Living magazine covered the topic in Dr. Sandy Skotnicki’s Spring 2014 “Ask The Dermatologist” column. A reader had inquired about skin breakouts on the back of her neck and scalp since she started using argan oil on her hair.
Dr. Skotnicki advised that if those breakout look like acne, then the argan oil is most likely to blame, as like any other oil in hair care products, it is known to cause acne around the scalp line, neck, upper back, and chest. She further advised that botanical oils in hair care products have been associated with the “epidemic of contact dermatitis reactions on the neck, face, upper back, and chest” of which she sees many cases each month. Contact dermatitis would appear as red, itchy, scaly skin, and she advised that it can occur after many months of using the product uneventfully.
Dr. Skotnicki advised that the only way to tell if the breakout is from argan oil is by consulting a Dermatologist to conduct patch testing to all the ingredients in the product. She further advised that a simpler approach would be to stop using the oil and avoid the botanical hair care category.
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