Do your hair, skin, and nails look their best? While it’s often easy to get lost talking about the countless health benefits olive oil carries for the body internally, it can be just as helpful when used externally. Whether you have hair that’s lost its lustrous shine, nails and cuticles that could use some work, or skin that’s starting to feel dry and lack radiance, olive oil and its unique, nutrient dense properties can work wonders for skin health.
In this article, we’re going to explore the various ways that olive oil can help the skin, as well as how you can use it on a daily basis to ensure you’re looking your best.
Even though it’s most commonly found in the kitchen and used for cooking, the holistic properties of olive oil extend far beyond culinary purposes. In fact, olive oil has been used for skin care since the ancient times to help the hair and skin appear more healthy. Below, we’ve covered the top scientifically backed benefits of using olive oil externally.
Just as your body has an immune system that protects you from viruses and illnesses that you’re exposed to, the skin also needs a protective layer to not only ensure it’s looking its best, but to guard you against harmful ultraviolet radiation. Of all the antioxidants that olive oil is packed with, the big three are vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols.
Due to the high concentration of these nutrients, studies have found that when olive oil is applied topically to the skin (particularly vitamin E), it can help to revitalize smoothness and protect you from the harmful effects of UV light. It’s because of these powerful skin care benefits that olive oil is often hailed as one of the best products to prevent premature aging.
Outside of direct beauty effects, olive oil also helps protect you from developing skin cancer. While it’s certainly no replacement for sunscreen if you’re going to be enjoying a day at the beach, hydroxytyrosol, a rare phytochemical with powerful antioxidant properties, has been shown to protect the skin from free radical damage.
If you’ve been the victim of dry skin, then you already know how frustrating it can be to treat. The most common culprits of dryness are hot and cold climates that can actually suck moisture away, reducing the skins luminous appearance. Worse yet, while many popular commercial moisturizers may help your skin feel better in the short term, a lot of them actually clog pores and make skin problems worse over time.
Olive oil serves as a nutrient rich cocktail for the skin, penetrating deeply while nourishing and cleansing the different layers as it sinks in. This not only provides your skin with the various nutrients it needs to look its best, but it also allows it to breathe. Together, these two benefits help heal the skin over time rather than offer a short-term solution.
Lastly, because olive oil is rich in linoleic acid, a fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body, as well as sebum, a protective substance that’s formed from a mixture of natural oils, it can help prevent water evaporation from the surface of your skin. Together, these two substances create a protective layer over the skin so you can enjoy more of the outdoors without worrying about dry, cracked skin as a consequence.
Having been used for thousands of years to help increase shine, volume, and softness, olive oil can work wonders for your hair. One of the top reasons olive oil works so well with hair is because it’s packed with emollients like oleic acid, palmitic acid, and squalene. These natural nutrients act as softening agents and are even replicated in many commercial conditioners.
In addition to making your hair feel softer, the moisturizing effect of olive oil is also thought to strengthen the hair by replenishing the scalp with the nutrients it needs to produce healthy hair. In fact, vitamin E has been shown to help prevent hair loss by reducing the natural oxidative stress that the scalp experiences from day to day.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits you can reap from olive oil when used externally, let’s talk about the different ways you can use it to enjoy the radiant skin you deserve.
Due to its moisturizing properties and rich abundance of vitamin E, olive oil can help to prevent split ends, nourish the scalp, and make your hair easier to manage. To utilize it as a pre-shampoo treatment, simply work a small amount into your hair 20 minutes prior to washing. When done, enjoy softer hair with more radiant shine.
Believe it or not, common makeup removers can actually be harmful to the skin, drying it out and destroying precious nutrients that are present on the surface. Olive oil is a great alternative because oil naturally grabs onto other oil-based products and can gently remove makeup from the face without causing damage.
Olive oil helps prevent the cuticles from drying out and cracking (leading to them growing back thicker and more pronounced). This makes them easier to manage and prevents the growth of bacteria by providing the nails with everything they need to grow beautiful and strong. Simply apply a drop to each nail and massage it in before bed for the best results.
If you’re experiencing irritated or inflamed skin, olive oil has long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is perfect if you have dry or itchy skin as well, helping to nourish the irritated area with much needed nutrients the natural way without harsh OTC medications. Gently apply a small amount of olive oil over the affected area and let it work it’s magic!