Olive Oil for Skin

Olive oil for skin care has been gaining popularity as natural living is becoming more and more mainstream.  But it is nothing new, as it has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean countries where olive trees are plentiful.  So many people have heard about olive oil’s unique flavor and health benefits, it has become a staple in kitchens across the globe.  You can use olive oil as a moisturizer, to make soap, and in a variety of homemade cosmetic formulations.

Using olive oil topically can improve skin hydration because its emollient properties reduce moisture loss.  It makes the skin softer and more pliable.  You also get skin benefits from consuming olive oil.  It increases elasticity in body tissue and is a great source of vitamins, essential fatty acids, and polyphenol antioxidants.

Olive oil is a good source of oleic acid, which naturally occurs in skin sebum.  It is absorbed well for most people, but it is considered a heavy oil in skin care.  You can use olive oil straight, or combine it with other oils in a variety of ratios.  Extra virgin olive oil contains the most beneficial nutrients, but has a an odor that some people find objectionable.  Many formulations use Grade A olive oil to mitigate the smell, but you can also combine extra virgin olive oil with other oils like sweet almond, grapeseed, or jojoba if the odor concerns you.  It makes a great body oil, on it’s own or combined with other carrier oils.

Olive oil for skin use is very helpful for dry skin.  It provides the skin with moisture along with antioxidants and other nutrients like Vitamin E and alpha linolenic acid.  Olive oil is also a natural source of squalane, a natural moisturizer produced by skin that decreases as we age.  Oleic acid, a major component in olive oil, helps increase skin penetration of skin care formulations.  Olive oil used in creams and lotions can help pull other active ingredients deeper into the skin.

Olive oil skin care has anti-inflammatory and healing properties.  It’s a good facial treatment for irritated skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.  Some users have reported that using olive oil for skin has healed reoccurring skin patches and lesions that weren’t helped with traditional prescription creams.  Olive oil has been used historically in salves because of its natural healing properties.  It is a very safe and nonirritating oil that is popular in childcare.

Ancient cultures often regarded olive oil as a natural sunscreen.  Although you can’t use it to replace sun block, olive oil for skin does offer some sun protection benefits.  Studies done on mice treated with olive oil after being exposed to UVB radiation were less likely to develop skin cancer.

Olive oil for skin care is a great way to naturally moisturize.  Using oils on your skin instead of creams and lotions allows you to eliminate the need for preservatives, which can be irritating and may negatively affect health over time.  You’ll get the best results from body oil by using it on wet skin.  The oil combines with water droplets to better hydrate the skin.  Oils reduce moisture loss from the skin, but they don’t add any.  If your skin is very dry, you might not have much moisture to conserve.  You should also drink a lot of water to boost the moisture content of your skin.

Olive oil was used as a skin cleanser in ancient Rome.  Today, it is also used as part of the oil cleansing method.  This is a unique natural facial cleanser that has worked very well for some people.  It involves using primarily olive and castor oil in a certain ratio that is suited for your skin type.  1:1 for normal skin, 3 parts olive to 1 part castor for dry skin, and 1 part olive to 3 parts castor for oily skin.  Other oils like jojoba, grapeseed, avocado, and hazelnut can also be added to the recipe, but olive and castor are the most common and a great place to start.  Massage a generous amount of your oil blend on your face.  Then cover your face with a washcloth soaked in hot, but not scalding water, and allow it to cool.  Then use the washcloth to remove the oil and gentle exfoliate your skin.  The oil left on your skin works as a natural moisturizer and is absorbed in 5 to 10 minutes for most people.  People with every skin type have had success with the oil cleansing method, but it isn’t for everyone.  Some users have reported an increase in acne, while others claim it clears up their breakouts.  Castor oil is also traditionally used to promote hair growth, which has been reported by some people.

One of the best parts about using olive oil for skin is that you probably already use it for cooking.  This makes it convenient, affordable and gives you an opportunity to use it while it’s fresh.  Olive oil, like all natural oils, will spoil from oxidation over time.  Oxidation changes the chemical composition of the oil, so it is important to use a fresh product.  Olive oil lasts about a year on the shelf.  It is best to keep it in a dark bottle.  You can also slow oxidation by keeping it in the fridge.

You can use olive oil for skin care product you make at home.  It makes a good carrier oil for dry skin and when used straight.  It can be too heavy for other skin types, but a good addition in a blend so that you can still get the antioxidants, vitamins, and essential fatty acids.  Olive oil by itself or in a blend can be mixed with equal parts sugar or salt to make a wonderful body scrub.  Olive oils is often mixed with beeswax to make a salve.  Olive oil is one of the most popular oils to infuse with herbs.  Arnica, lavender, chamomile, calendula, and rose are all very popular.  Making an infusion is quite easy.  Mix herbs with olive oil and seal in a jar for at least a week.  Then strain the herbs out of the oil, which will now contain some of the benefits of the herb, and also the scent.  Heat can make infusions more intense, but don’t heat it too much.  Many people like to use leave their infusing jars in the sun for a few days to speed up the process.

Olive oil is great for soaps.  Many natural soaps will contain olive oils mixed with other oils like coconut and palm.  Soap that uses at least 25% olive oil is considered castile soap.  100% olive oil soap is a real treat.  It needs a long cure time to become a hard bar, often between 6 to 9 months.  Extra virgin olive oil will result in a greenish or yellow bar that has an olive oil scent.  Grade A olive oil is often used in soapmaking because the bar is a lighter color and there is no scent to compete with added fragrance or essential oils.

Olive oil’s health benefits go beyond its use in food.  It is also a great way to naturally moisturize and delivers its vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids directly to your skin.  Try using olive oil for skin care blends that you can make at home, or look for it in creams and lotions.