Olive oil benefits for skin were well-known among ancient peoples. The Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans used it as an anti-aging remedy. They also used it to treat wounds and to moisturize dry skin. The wars over Sicily, which led to the defeat of Carthage by Rome, were largely motivated by the olive plantations on the island which were coveted by both major powers.
That’s how important this ‘liquid gold,” as Homer once metaphorically described it, was to the ancient people of the Mediterranean world.
Fortunately, we do not have to fight wars over olive oil anymore. It is abundantly produced in many parts of the world, and it is readily available both in extract form and as an ingredient of many organic skin care products.
Olive oil contains four major antioxidants which allow it to work as a cleanser, moisturizer, and protector of skin. Among these antioxidants are Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Vitamin E partly accounts for the anti-aging benefits of this substance because it helps restore skin elasticity.
Several other antioxidants contribute to olive oil benefits for skin. Polyhenols and phytosterols neutralize the free radicals that cause so much skin damage in the human population. One of these antioxidants, Hydroxytyrosol, is a rather rare compound that happens to be plentiful in olive oil. It is one of the key compounds that helps prevent free radical damage.
It penetrates deeply into the skin without clogging pores—something a lot of your commercial skin moisturizers due as an unfortunate side effect of their action. Olive oil is different. It moistens skin so thoroughly that it is often used as a home remedy for any type of skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis that creates patches of dry skin. Many women use it for stretch mark therapy after giving birth to a child, and many others use it to treat blemishes that often appear on the skin.
Another one of olive oil’s benefits for skin is its usefulness as an exfoliator. A common application for this natural substance is to mix it with sea salt and rub it over the body. The mild abrasive qualities of the sea salt, combined with the deep, penetrating action of the oil, will remove dead skin cells and leave the epidermis looking renewed and often glowing.
Olive oil is also used for nail and cuticle care, and many women also use it as an eye-makeup remover. Further applications include using it as an ingredient in home-made facial masks that moisten and rejuvenate skin. One other interesting application for both men and women is the substitution of olive oil for shaving cream.
Many men have abandoned shaving cream once discovering how close a shave they can get with olive oil. They have also found its refreshing qualities make it an excellent aftershave.
Because of the many olive oil benefits for skin, organic skin care products often use olive oil as a key, active ingredient. Olive oil creams, cosmetics, and body lotions are more popular than ever for self-administered skin care.
Olive oil can also be used as a skin moisturizer.