For thousands of years the people of the Mediterranean have understood the life giving benefits of the olive tree and its precious fruit, the olive. Native to Asia Minor, it then spread to Iran, Syria and Palestine, making its way down to the Mediterranean basin more than 6,000 years ago. The magnificent olive tree is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world, and can bear fruit at 1,000 years old. Olive oil has been used for religious rituals, medicinal purposes, food, perfumes and skin care for thousands of years by the Phoenicians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It may have even been the source of wealth of the Minoan Kingdom. The ancient Greek poet Homer coined it “liquid gold,” and thousands of years later, we still revere it as one of nature’s most treasured gifts. So what goodness is hiding inside these little gems called olives, and how can skin and beauty benefit from it?
Approximately 24 percent of olive oil is made up of saturated fats, omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. The remaining 76 percent is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid or omega 9 fatty acid. Oleic acid has been shown to reduce blood pressure, increase fat burning to help with weight loss and protect cells from free radical damage. Olive oil may even prevent type 2 diabetes, reduce inflammation in the digestive tract and increase brain myelin, the fatty tissue that surrounds nerve cells and is essential for proper functioning of the nervous system.
Olive oil is also packed with powerful polyphenol antioxidant properties. The most notable polyphenol found in olive oil is Hydroxytyrosol, one of the most powerful antioxidants discovered on the planet. This little powerhouse is being praised for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant and cardiovascular benefits.
It is clear that ingesting olive oil has brilliant health benefits for the body, now let’s explore the topical benefits of this natural treasure.
So many of the vitamins, minerals and fatty acids the skin needs and craves are found in olive oil. The molecular structure of olive oil is closely matched with skin’s natural sebum, so when it is applied topically, it is recognized by skin, and it deeply penetrates the skin’s lipid layer to lock in moisture. Skin is left feeling hydrated and velvety soft, but not greasy, giving the skin’s surface a lasting, dewy glow.
The antioxidant properties found in olive oil aid in the reduction of fine lines and the production of collagen. In addition, vitamins E and K work to repair and renew free radical damaged skin, caused by overexposure to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun, air pollution and other modern-day environmental hazards. These nutrients are naturally capable of stimulating cells and restoring skin to a firmer, smoother, healthier complexion.
As a result, when olive oil is used on the skin, it delivers a youthful, radiant glow and a texture that is soft and hydrated.
Oil dissolves oil. The skin naturally creates its own oil called sebum. Dirt and bacteria can get trapped in this sebum and be pulled deep into the pores. When harsh cleansers are used to wash the face, they can cause an overproduction of sebum, which is simply the skin’s effort to replace the valuable barrier that was taken away. When cleansing with oil, dirty oil is replaced with beneficial oil, leaving skin clean, radiant, soft and glowing.
Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids are crucial to the wellness of skin cells. This is due to their ability to create a barrier on the surface of the skin, which acts as a passageway, letting important nutrients enter while allowing waste and impurities to exit.
Reduces Scars and Stretch Marks
Because olive oil is high in vitamin E, it is a natural go-to for fading a scar or saying good-bye to pesky stretch marks. Vitamin E stimulates the formation of collagen, which improves skin texture, strength and elasticity. Applying straight vitamin E directly to the skin can cause irritation such as inflammation or itching. However, using olive oil with nature’s perfect balance of vitamin E is safe and effective.
Scalp and Hair
Olive oil can bring moisture back to dry, over treated and lackluster locks in numerous ways. It can be added into a hot oil deep conditioning treatment, or simply added into the palms of hands and distributed throughout your client’s hair to smooth out rough ends for a brilliant shine. Olive oil can also be massaged directly into the scalp to help remove built up sebum, stimulate circulation of hair follicles, and rid hair of dandruff. An exciting bonus is that all the benefits olive oil provides to hair on the head also work on lashes and brows!
Keeping the cuticles soft on the hands and feet is important, because cracked and split cuticles can allow bacteria and fungus to get under the nail. This is a very difficult fungus to get rid of, and olive oil can keep it at bay with the help of these awesome antioxidants and their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Vitamin E is particularly helpful here, as it promotes nail growth as well.
The opportunities to benefit from olive oil are endless! Help your clients reap the benefits of one of Mother Nature’s most valuable gifts as you slather it on their skin and encourage them to eat it up!