Olive oil is a staple in most of our kitchens. The health benefits of olive oil are not a secret. We know that this ingredient is a cooking essential, can replace butter and regular oil, and helps manage weight.
But did you know that the antioxidant properties in olive oil can help with UV damage? It works great for soothing sun-damaged skin. Olive oil has many other skin benefits. If you’ve never heard of them before, tighten your seatbelts as we tell you all about this natural skincare ingredient.
What is olive oil, and how is it made?
Olive oil is the liquid fat extracted from its whole fruit. It was initially cultivated between 6000-4500 BC in Palestine. And you’d be surprised to know that it has been used as a skincare ingredient since the time of the Egyptians and ancient Greeks.
Fun Fact: Cleopatra was a huge fan of olive oil as a natural skincare ingredient!
Olive oil contains essential fatty acids, emollient squalene, phenolic compounds, and polyphenols.
The process of making olive oil is not as simple as one might think!
First, ripe olives are harvested. Then, all stems and leaves are removed from the olives to press them. The olives are then crushed to make a paste, into which water is slowly added. Next, a centrifuge separates the olive paste from the oil and water. Finally, the oil and water are separated again until you are left with olive oil, which is then filtered for further use.
Olive oil comes in many forms; however, the three most common ones you would have definitely heard of are:
- Virgin olive oil — cold pressed without using heat or chemicals.
- Extra virgin olive oil — the least processed form of olive oil.
- Pure olive oil — a blend of extra virgin olive oil and processed oils.
Olive oil has numerous health and cosmetic benefits (which we will discuss below). Not just that, it also possesses skin-loving antioxidant properties that have been widely lauded for centuries. So, let’s dig into the benefits of this natural skincare ingredient.
Benefits of olive oil as a skincare ingredient
From protecting your skin against harmful UV rays to moisturizing dry patches, olive oil is brimming with skin benefits.
1. Moisturizes skin
An important benefit of olive oil is its ability to moisturize the skin. It is rich in squalene content and fatty acids like omega 6 and omega 9. These help to deeply moisturize and hydrate your skin.
You can get moisture locked below your skin surface with linoleic acid (polyunsaturated fatty acid), present in olive oil.
2. Protects skin against environmental stressors
Olive oil is packed with antioxidant properties which protect the skin against environmental damage. Some studies suggest that the antioxidant properties in olive oil help with UV damage.
The topical application of olive oil on the skin after sun exposure treats sunburns. It may even combat cancer-causing cells.
Sadly, there is not enough research on humans to reach conclusive claims about olive oil’s antioxidant properties.
The best this about this ingredient is that it has the ‘anti-aging powerhouse; Vitamin E.’ This smoothes the skin and helps repair damage caused by cigarette smoke and other environmental pollutants.
Good news for those who want to go back on their decision!
3. Calms inflammation
Olive oil has a high content of chlorophyll, due to which it has strong anti-inflammatory properties. You can add olive oil to red and irritated areas to soothe skin and diminish the pigmentation you’ve been struggling with.
It also relieves different kinds of internal and external inflammations of the body and even acne scars (goodbye, marks!) In addition, olive oil has vitamin K, which works best to help you get rid of the redness and the appearance of broken capillaries.
4. Heals chapped lips, and cracked heels
Yes, you read that right. Olive oil can repair chapped lips as well as cracked heels. Remember the squalene and linoleic acid in olive oil that moisturizes the skin?
Similarly, the humectant properties in olive oil help hydrate dry skin and repair cracked heels. As olive oil helps skin renewal and locks in moisture, it can also benefit chapped, flaky lips.
5. Helps repair wounds
The anti-inflammatory property of olive oil also helps in wound healing. It has triterpenes, which help in many biological reactions necessary for wound healing, like cell migration, cell proliferation, and collagen deposition.
These processes enhance wound repair by reducing the time for wound closure.
6. Lifts stubborn makeup
Olive oil can break down waxy substances like waterproof eyeliner or mascara, making it a popular choice for everybody who loves makeup. Its anti-oxidant and hydrating benefits are the cherry on top here, as they moisturize and condition without being harsh to the skin.
Here’s the catch! Even though olive oil can lift off oil-soluble residues like makeup and sebum from the skin, it doesn’t (actually) remove the makeup.
Pro Tip: Use a cleanser to wipe off both — olive oil and lifted makeup from your skin.
7. Prevents premature aging
Along with squalene, olive oil is also rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins can fight oxidative stress, which leads to accelerated skin aging (if you’ve been avoiding it).
Olive oil has the powerful and rare antioxidant hydroxytyrosol, which is gentle enough for all skin types. Hydroxytyrosol slows the aging process, neutralizes free radicals (which can lead to wrinkles and signs of aging), brightens, and evens out skin tone.
Ways to use olive oil on the skin
With numerous skin benefits, olive oil is a star skincare ingredient. Here are a few ways you can use this skincare elixir.
- To moisturize your face, apply olive oil directly to the skin. Then, you can blot off any excess oil with a towel or cloth. You should moisturize using olive oil after you’ve been exposed to the sun or suffered a sunburn.
- Use olive oil to exfoliate your face and body and treat dry or scaly skin. Mix it with sea salt to make a scrub, and get ready to exfoliate.
- Lift off makeup by adding a few drops of olive oil to a cotton ball and gently wiping off your makeup. Don’t forget to clean both the oil and makeup residual after, with a cleanser.
- Mix olive oil with ingredients like egg white, honey, or ground oats, and then use the mask to soften and hydrate your face.
- Massage the undiluted oil into scars or blend it with a drop of lemon juice to treat hyperpigmented skin caused by scarring.
Are there any side effects of olive oil?
Olive oil is a natural skincare ingredient and is generally safe to use. However, there’s always a slight chance of reactions, even to natural ingredients. It’s the same with olive oil.
Olive oil comes loaded with vitamins and antioxidant properties, but the research on the benefits of olive oil for the skin is limited.
There might be a small risk of allergic reactions to this oil, especially for those with sensitive skin. Overusing olive oil can also cause clogged pores and trap bacteria inside. It may also cause a damaged outer layer of skin, and, unfortunately, lead to redness.
Pro Tip: Before using this oil, you should always do a patch test first. For this, apply a few drops of the oil onto your arm and watch for a reaction. If your skin is reacting well to it 48 hours after the test, it’s good to go!
From your vanity to the kitchen, olive oil is a great ingredient for the health and beauty of your skin. It helps to nourish, moisturize, and even to exfoliate your skin. In addition, olive oil is long-lasting and affordable.
So, if you are looking for a natural skincare ingredient that really works, it is something that should be on your skincare shopping list.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long should you leave the olive oil on your face?
You can leave the olive oil on your face for about 10 minutes.
2. Should you apply olive oil at night?
Olive oil has antiaging properties that reduce the appearance of wrinkles. You can dab the oil around the eye areas at night or after long sun exposure.
3. Does olive oil lighten skin?
Olive oil has a very slight skin-lightening effect. It does not reduce melanin or increase skin cell exfoliation.
4. Does olive oil remove scars from the face?
The vitamins and other antioxidants in olive oil may help fade scars by helping skin cells to regenerate. But, there is no evidence that olive oil completely removes scars from the face.