UK markets close in 7 hours 17 minutes

Benefits of olive oil for skin

It’s time you introduced this oil into your beauty routine.

After dominating our kitchens, olive oil is making a strong case for its place in our vanity case. And while there are a variety of olive oils out there, extra virgin olive oil, made using the cold press method, is the one that is best suited for use on the body. Here’s a look at its various benefits.

It’s a great moisturiser
Olive oil is packed with vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which come with their own list of benefits. Vitamins E and K are antioxidants that stop or delay the damage caused by free radicals to the skin, preventing premature ageing. UV light, pollution, and environmental damage are some of the causes of free radicals. These free radicals attack healthy skin cells, damaging them. This is where antioxidants come in, stopping the damage caused. Vitamin E is especially helpful to those with skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. Olive oil also has a high concentration of squalene, a hydrating, antioxidant oil that makes your skin smooth and soft. Its light, non-sticky texture makes it a popular option as a natural body and facial moisturiser. However, olive oil is a heavy oil, so wipe off any excess to avoid clogging pores. This is also the reason those with acne-prone skin, might want to avoid using it on their face.
Photograph: javi_indy /

It can be used as a cleanser
In a pinch, olive oil can stand in for your usual oil-based cleanser. Using oils for cleansing is based on the principle that water and oil don’t mix. Therefore, an oil cleanser is better suited to removing makeup and oil-based impurities. After all, like dissolves like. So olive oil is able to dissolve the sebum that’s clogging your pores and clean them, without causing any irritation. The oil is especially handy when you’re trying to remove waterproof makeup and mascara, stubborn matte lipsticks, as well as face paints. You can either rub the oil directly on your face or use a cotton ball dipped in the oil. End result? Clean, hydrated skin.   

It protects skin from premature ageing
Olive oil is also rich in anti-ageing polyphenols and phytosterols, which help smoothen skin. Polyphenols are potent ingredients present in skin care products, helping rejuvenate and repair the skin. They protect the skin from sun damage and have been known to help reverse signs of ageing, like fine lines, sun spots, and wrinkles. Polyphenols are also anti-inflammatory, helping sooth the skin. Phytosterols for their part, help in arrest the breakdown and subsequent loss of collagen. Collagen is the glue that holds together the top layer of the skin, helping it look plump, young and healthy. As we age, our bodies product less collagen. So we start to see dry skin, wrinkles, etc. Phytosterols, for their part, stop the slowdown in collagen production and encourage production of new collagen, thereby improving the skin’s elasticity and decreasing roughness.

It smoothens skin
Olive oil also contains omega fatty acids, which also have benefits for your skin. Omega fatty acids are one of the building blocks of your skin’s surface layer, helping it look smooth, younger, and healthier. They also increase hydration (thereby eliminating dry, flaky skin), strengthen the skin from environmental damage, and calm redness. Omega fatty acids help reinforce the skin’s outer layer, giving you smooth, healthier-looking skin.

 Lead photograph: