Olive oil is an integral part of the Mediterranean diet and is considered a “healthy oil”. It can also be used for skin and hair care. You can find out how good it is as a care product and how to use it here.
Olive oil comes from the fruit of the olive tree, which in turn belongs to the olive family. There are over 20 different genera.
Olives are stone fruits, the oil can be obtained both from the pits and from the pulp – from green and black olives alike.
Incidentally, the different colors do not mean that they are different varieties, but that the olives have different degrees of ripeness. Black means ripe, green means immature.
What makes olive oil so healthy as a food and care product are its ingredients, which vary in composition and quantity depending on the type of olive, environment, degree of ripeness, processing and storage.
Olive oil consists mostly of fat , namely unsaturated fatty acids – mainly oleic acid and omega-6 fatty acids. Oleic acid is important for cell structure in the body.
Omega-6 fatty acids , such as the essential, i.e. vital, linoleic acid contained in olive oil, play a role in human metabolism, bone health and healthy skin and hair.
In addition, olive oil also contains saturated palmitic acid, which is involved in hormone and immune metabolism. Saturated fatty acids are considered “bad fats” because they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease when consumed through food.
However, since palmitic acid is an important component of the horny layer of the skin, it is sometimes used in cosmetic products for mature skin. With increasing age, the body produces less of this nourishing and protective active ingredient.
vitamins and antioxidants
Olive oil contains tocopherol. Various vitamin E derivatives are summarized under this term. Vitamin E protects our skin by protecting it from free radicals.
Free radicals are aggressive oxygen molecules that are produced, for example, by stress or UV rays, causing cell damage and thus prematurely aging the skin. Since vitamin E penetrates the horny layer of the skin and the body stores it there, it improves its moisture balance, smoothest small wrinkles, improves wound healing and counteracts skin aging.
The carotenoids contained in olive oil also intercept harmful free radicals. These natural pigments, which give different plants their yellow, orange or red color, also increase the effect of sunscreens against UV radiation.
Phenolic compounds, or polyphenols, are found in plant foods as colourings, flavorings or tanning agents. Olive oil contains, among other things, lignans and hydroxycinnamic acids such as caffeic or coumaric acid.
Polyphenols protect the skin from harmful free radicals, so they have an antioxidant effect. They also inhibit inflammation, act against microorganisms and stimulate the immune system .
They are interesting for skin care because, thanks to these properties, they probably slow down skin aging and wrinkling and reduce skin inflammation.
This is the effect olive oil has on the skin
Smoother, younger, more resistant – the research situation in terms of olive oil for skin care is still very thin. However, there are various studies that indicate that olive oil has a positive effect on the skin in many ways.
The antioxidants it contains offer good conditions for preventing the skin from aging prematurely. On the one hand by improving their moisture balance, on the other hand because ideally they help to absorb the harmful effects of UV radiation on the skin.
In addition, the polyphenols in olive oil are said to have an antibacterial effect. This means that it sometimes allows bacterial skin infections, such as fungi or rashes, to heal faster. The Mediterranean vegetable oil also moisturizes and binds the skin, making it softer.
Facial care with olive oil: you should pay attention to this
Although olive oil is used in its pure form and in various cosmetic products for skin care, it is not right for everyone.
For example, unlike argan oil , olive oil is a heavy, moisturizing oil that can clog pores in some cases. Bacteria often multiply under the “plug”, which in turn often cause skin impurities and infections.
Olive oil makes the skin pimply. Such oily care is therefore not a good idea, especially for problem skin and acne . In general, you should always remove excess oil with a soft cloth or cotton ball.
In rare cases, olive oil irritates or irritates the skin depending on the skin type and may even damage the skin barrier with frequent use.
How to properly use olive oil on your skin
Olive oil is suitable for skin care on its own, but it is also found as an active ingredient in various cosmetic products for facial cleansing , in soap or in creams and lotions.
If you use such a finished product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. You can usually find them on the packaging.
If you want to use olive oil pure, ideally try it on a limited area of skin first to see if you can tolerate it.
se olive oil to cleanse facial skin, put a walnut-sized amount of olive oil in your hands and rub onto dry facial skin. Take a soft cloth, soak it in lukewarm water , press it on your face for a moment as heat opens up the pores, and then use it to wipe away the oil.
One pass is enough without make-up. If you wear make-up, repeat the cleaning process until you can no longer see any make-up residue on the cloth. Olive oil dissolves the waterproof substances in makeup, such as eye makeup, so the oil makes it easier to remove.
Olive oil for body care
If you want to use olive oil for dry skin, it should ideally be warm, but not hot. In this way, it unfolds its caring effect even better. Just put it in a saucepan and warm it up on your stovetop.
- Apply the oil evenly to the desired areas of the skin. Do not use too much to avoid clogging the pores, a thin film of oil is sufficient.
- Let the olive oil soak in – at least half an hour, depending on how dry or stressed your skin is. Tip: To keep the olive oil at the right temperature, wrap the affected area of skin with a cloth. This also has the advantage that clothing and (upholstered) furniture do not become greasy.
- Wash off the olive oil with lukewarm water and, if necessary, with some skin-friendly shower gel.
- Such an olive oil cure is suitable for every three to four days, but often one application per week is sufficient.
Other uses on the skin
Scrub : To make a body scrub , mix olive oil with some sea salt and apply to skin. Depending on the grain size of the salt, a finer or coarser body scrub can be made.
Mask: Mix the olive oil with egg white and honey to make a face mask. Applied overnight around the eye area, it smoothes small wrinkles.
Lightener: Mixing the olive oil with a little lemon and applying it to the skin sometimes helps to lighten hyperpigmented skin areas or to care for scars.
Olive Oil: Food is also good for the skin
When consumed on its own or in foods such as a salad or pasta dish, olive oil helps the body fight off aggressive free radicals, makes cell membranes more stable and slows down skin aging.
How to recognize good olive oil
If you want to use olive oil for skin care, you should use a good quality oil, for example pure, extra virgin olive oil. Otherwise there is a risk that the oil contains additives that irritate or damage the skin.
The quality classes of olive oil are basically defined in EU Regulation No. 1308/2013. There is
- Cold-pressed oil that is unrefined and only heated to a maximum of 27 degrees Celsius. Native olive oils are always cold-pressed olive oils.
- Extra virgin olive oil refers to a cold-pressed oil that contains no additives or other additives. The typical colour, the taste and the valuable ingredients are retained. With 0.8 grams per 100 grams, it has a very low proportion of free fatty acids.
- Virgin olive oil differs from “extra” only in the slightly higher fatty acid content of a maximum of 2 grams per 100 grams of oil.
- Refined oil is more heat-resistant and has a longer shelf life than virgin olive oil, but tastes more or less neutral and loses vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids as a result of the refining process.
- Olive oil without additional labeling usually consists of refined and virgin olive oil.
You can recognize a good olive oil by the name and possibly also by the quality seal of the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft e. V. (DLG). It tests various foods based on neutral quality criteria, primarily for their sensory quality.
Speaking of sensors: If you are unsure whether the olive oil is good, smell it. If it smells rancid, the free fatty acids are probably oxidized and you should no longer use the oil. The same applies if the olive oil tastes strongly nutty. Good olive oil, on the other hand, smells like fresh grass.