In my bathroom you won't find big tubs of body moisturizers, small jars of hand creams, or even little tubes of heavy duty face emollients. No, in my bathroom, there is just one large bottle, situated next to my sink, that tackles all of my dry skin needs (and saves me a lot of money). What miracle product is this that can moisturize body, hands, and face, protect painfully dry skin, calm eczema, reduce the redness of a breakout, and nourish skin with vitamins and antioxidants? Olive oil, people, specifically Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO).
You may have heard that Sophia Loren swore by the stuff, she'd apply it to her body, have her food cooked in it, and even add it to her baths. But do you know the science behind why olive oil is so great for you? Below are just a few of the amazing properties of EVOO and why you should add it to your daily skincare routine ASAP.
A monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid makes EVOO a powerfully occlusive oil. What does this mean? The oleic acid in EVOO creates a barrier on the skin, preventing water loss and maintaining hydration. This is why it is most effective when applied to wet skin directly after a shower (although the skincare benefits can be seen when used at any time).
This compound, found in both EVOO and over the counter ibuprofen, is an inhibitor of the enzyme cyclooxygenase which causes inflammation and pain in the body. When taken internally regularly, oleocanthal has been linked to reduced risk for heart disease and Alzheimer's. Applied topically and oleocanthal can reduce the inflammation of rashes, breakouts, and sensitive skin.
EVOO contains high amounts of the antioxidant Vitamin E, contributing to its anti-aging properties. Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals, molecules found in the environment that accelerate the aging process through cellular damage and genetic mutations that can lead to cancer. Vitamin E works to protect the skin from these environmental stressors and has been found to increase circulation, potentially decreasing wound healing time.
This fat-soluble vitamin is imperative to the blood-clotting process (without which your body would hemorrhage) and prevents calcification of the cardiovascular system by activating the matrix gamma-carboxyglutamic acid protein (MGP) which inhibits the process. When used on the skin, it can help counteract vascular conditions that cause discoloration and redness such as rosacea, broken capillaries, and undereye circles. In the same way it prevents the calcification associated with the aging of internal organs, it also reduces the calcification of skin's elastin fibers, preventing wrinkles and the loss of skin's ability to "bounce back."
Last, but far from least, EVOO contains hydroxytyrosol, a polyphenol with unparalleled antioxidant properties that is found in olives at its highest quantities (and subsequently, EVOO). What sets hydroxytyrosol apart from other polyphenols and antioxidants is its cancer-fighting potential. You read that correctly, hydroxytyrosol has been proven to cause mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis (or cell death by self-destruction) in colon cancer cells (study here). While this study did not research the effects of hydroxytyrosol if applied topically, we do know that the skin absorbs 60% of all product therefore the possibilities are exciting.
Armed with all this EVOO knowledge (and with Sophia Loren's age-defying visage as proof), what are you waiting for? Add extra virgin olive oil to your daily skincare routine and see what EVOO can do for you.
Do you have a skincare or beauty topic You'd love investigated? Leave it in the comments and Your question could be the next post!