Olive oil is well-known for its versatility and health benefits. As a staple ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, which was declared one of the healthiest diets in the world by UNESCO, it’s no doubt that olive oil is appreciated for more than its rich, nutty flavor. Aside from its proven health benefits, this pantry staple has also been utilized for centuries in skin care. Throughout this article we will discuss how olive oil is made and why it’s a key ingredient in many skincare products.
History of Olive Oil
While olive trees have been abundant in countries like Italy, France, and Greece for almost 4000 years, many historians believed they were actually native to Asia and spread through Syria, Palestine and Iran before reaching the Mediterranean. They are considered one of the oldest trees in existence, however, the process of extracting olive oil remains relatively the same.
Unlike other vegetable oils, which are typically extracted from the seed, olive oil is actually cold pressed from the fruit itself. In cases with virgin olive oils, the extraction process does not involve any extreme heat, which preserves much of its antioxidants and nutrients.
Skin Benefits of Olive Oil
Here are some of the many benefits that make olive oil so widespread within the beauty industry:
It’s brimming with fatty acids and antioxidants. Olive oil contains fatty acids like oleic and linoleic acid as well as phenolic compounds that have been shown to significantly improve the appearance of the skin. According to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, the phenolic contents in olive oil have higher antioxidant properties than those of vitamin E.
It’s a powerful cleanser with antibacterial properties. A study showed that the high phenolic compound content found in olive oil is responsible for its antibacterial effects. It’s also a great cleanser as it helps strip away impurities without hindering the skin’s natural oil production.
Helps maintain or enhance skin hydration. Because olive oil has strong emollient properties, it penetrates deep layers of the skin and locks in moisture, providing added hydration to dry and sensitive skin while reducing signs of aging.
It can help neutralize or mitigate damage caused by free radicals. Olive oil has over 200 beneficial chemical compounds. Among them are an abundance of vitamins that help decrease oxidative stress on the skin caused by free radicals.
Olive oil continues to prove its efficacy in skincare even after centuries of use and consumption. That’s why it remains a key ingredient in all of our soaps.