Olive Oil and the Skin
In human beings, aging leads to gradual structural and functional skin damage. Skin tissue goes through a number of changes. Some of the major ones are that the inner and outer layers of the skin (dermis and epidermis) grow thinner, elasticity is lost, the area joining the dermis to the epidermis becomes less cushioned, fibrosis occurs with the accumulation of collagen and the tissue is less able to fight against and repair damage.
External factors, such as the sun's rays, speed up aging by generating free radicals. Though cells are equipped with mechanisms that neutralize their action, it is possible to reduce cell damage by using inhibitors that lower the risk. One such natural inhibitor is olive oil, whose lipid profile is very similar to that of human skin.
On top of polyphenols (antioxidants), olive oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, a large proportion of vitamins A, D and K, as well as vitamin E, the main source of protection against the free radicals that produce cell oxidation. This makes it a good aid in specific therapies to treat skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and seborrheic eczemas.
It has also been suggested that because of its pronounced antioxidant effect, olive oil could play a choice part in the prevention of continuous oxidation, one of the processes that influence the development of certain types of skin cancer. Vitamin E studies have begun, but these kinds of observations take a long time, which means that conclusive data are not yet available. However, the theory is that oleic acid is believed to play a major part in counteracting continuous oxidation.
If you wish to embrace extra virgin olive oil in your beauty routine here are some tips & benefits:
1. Slows Wrinkle Formation
A furrowed brow, laugh lines, crows feet – wrinkles are the single most telltale sign of age. They’re the result of free radicals and time spent in the sun. So, to keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay, get plenty of free radical-fighting antioxidants in your diet (olive oil, pomegranate, broccoli, orange, berries, etc).
2. Hydrates Dry Skin
It’s probably not surprising that olive oil is great for moisturizing dry skin. So, if you’re looking for a little extra hydration for your hands or feet, try this overnight dry skin treatment:
Exfoliate: As you age, skin cell turnover slows down. This can result in rough, dry skin. Use an exfoliant to slough off these dead skin cells before moisturizing.
Massage olive oil into your hands and feet.
Cover with cotton gloves and socks … and then sweet dreams!
3. Relieves Irritation
Some people are more prone to redness and itchiness than others. If that’s you, olive oil may be able to help. Vitamin E – which olive oil has in spades – is known to help soothe irritated skin.
4. Removes Makeup
Swiping a bit of olive oil on your face may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of olive oil – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it!
Think back to science class for a moment, and remember that when it comes to substances like attracts like. Now, many cosmetics are made up of oily ingredients – which is why it’s hard for water alone to remove makeup when you’re washing your face at the end of the day. Here’s where olive oil comes in. The oily texture attracts the oily cosmetic ingredients, lifting them up and away from the face.
Simply dab a little olive oil onto a cotton swab and wipe over your face before using your nightly cleanser.
5. Softens Cuticles
This is a great folk remedy for dry, brittle nails: Try rubbing a little olive oil into your nail beds for extra moisture and softness.
6. Boosts Hair Growth
Free radicals are thought to be one factor that contributes to hair loss. And studies have shown that supplementing with antioxidants may actually help encourage hair growth. So, if you’re struggling with thinning hair, try getting a little more antioxidant-rich olive oil into your diet.
You can also apply olive oil to the roots of your hair as a mask and leave it for half an hour or more if you have time. Try adding some drops of rosemary essential oil in it for better results (toning and antioxidant action). Then clean your hair with shampoo and moisturize with conditioner (first, apply shampoo on oily hair and then water, to help hair get clean faster without oil residues).
7. Protects Against Sun Damage
Omega-3 fatty acids are a sunscreen you can eat. Studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can work to protect the skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Wear a hat, stay in the shade, and apply lots of sunscreen.
8. Deep Hair Conditioner
Hair coloring, heat-styling, and products can all wreak havoc on the hair. Your tresses may become dry, brittle, and lifeless. But a little olive oil can go a long way to soften and moisturize the hair.
Here’s a simple hair-reviving treatment to try:
Heat up a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on the stove until just warm.
Massage into your hair from the mid-lengths to the ends.
Cover with a shower cap and let the oil absorb for thirty minutes.
Clean your hair with shampoo and moisturize with conditioner (first, apply shampoo on oily hair and then water, to help hair get clean faster without oil residues).
Another benefit of olive oil for hair? It may help prevent future hair damage from straightening and bleaching. Omega -3 fatty acids that exist in olive oil are an amazing conditioning & protective agent for your dry, damaged ends.
9. Moisturizes Dry Scalp
A dry scalp can result in dead skin cells flaking off – dandruff. If you’re dealing with this, try this moisturizing olive oil treatment for the scalp:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 drops lavender essential oil
Combine ingredients, then massage gently into the scalp. Let the oil absorb for thirty minutes. Clean your hair with shampoo and moisturize with conditioner (first, apply shampoo on oily hair and then water, to help hair get clean faster without oil residues).
10. Keeps Hair Looking Young
Free radicals don’t just age the skin – they age the hair as well. Free radical damage can result in hair that’s dry, brittle, and graying. So, to keep hair looking luscious and youthful, get plenty of antioxidants from your diet.
11. Helps You Get Your Beauty Sleep
Melatonin is a naturally-occurring chemical in the body that helps regulate the waking-sleeping cycle. But this chemical also occurs in several food sources – including olive oil.
Want to look and feel refreshed in the morning? Have some olive oil with dinner to encourage a good night’s sleep.
12. Boosts Mood
Scientific studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids may help promote emotional wellness and help fend off feelings of stress. And the truth is: when you feel good – you look good. Beauty comes from inside!
13. Minimizes Acne Breakouts
There’s nothing like a zit on your face to make you feel self-conscious. And unfortunately, they can keep breaking out long after your teen years. If that’s you, start getting more olive oil into your diet (and reduce dairy). Scientific studies have shown that supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids can help minimize breakouts and decrease the appearance of acne.
Maybe you don’t live in Mykonos or the wider Mediterranean basin… but that doesn’t mean you can’t reap some of the benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle. Try using some extra virgin olive oil in your cooking and your beauty routines.
You won’t just feel healthy – you’ll look healthy, too.
Beauty … The Mediterranean Way!