Olive oil has been the feature of countless beauty headlines of late, touted by certain celebrities as their primary secret to youthful skin.
While we know that olive oil on its own cannot be used to completely reduce or prevent signs of ageing like wrinkles, laxity, and pigmentation, it certainly does boast a large number of benefits to promote long term health, for the skin and for the body overall.
Skin, Body & Mind
It is globally recognised that the Mediterranean diet offers the most nutritional benefit, the least detrimental impacts to our health through extensive processing and refined sugars of Western diets, and as a result; is likely our greatest chance of keeping ageing at bay when it comes to nutritional efforts.
As olive oil is so widely used throughout Mediterranean countries, it is thought to contribute largely towards the diet’s positive outcomes. It’s important to remember that the body is an intricately constructed, interconnected vehicle, operated by countless systems working in synergy.
This includes the skin.
If the body is healthy, the skin appears healthy and functions optimally. In that same sense, any nutritional compound that improves the health of our internal systems will have the secondary effect of improving the health and appearance of our skin.
The reason that olive oil is so heroic is that, after decades of copious research, it has been found to benefit an exceptionally wide range of bodily systems. A true multitasker, health benefits listed among the research include:
- eye health and delayed macular degeneration
- improved cognitive function
- prevention of neurodegenerative disease
- and potentially even the prevention of cancer formation.
It goes without saying that these outcomes cannot be experienced through the application of olive oil-based skincare, however, the powerful compounds contained within olive oil can still produce some incredible outcomes on the skin.
The Power of Plant Phenols
The anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antioxidant, healing and health-promoting properties of olive oil can be attributed to the phenolic, flavonoid, and triterpenoid compounds within. These compounds, which include rutin, syringic acid, pinoresinol, tyrosol, maslinic acid, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, and erythrodiol among others, make the olive plant; and its products, a rich nutritional resource for health-boosting molecules.
The significant antioxidant action of many of these compounds makes for a strong defence against oxidative stress. The neutralisation of free radicals, coupled with reduced inflammation and the normalisation of cellular activity, is what makes olive oil such a success – for all of our bodily systems.
Compared with advanced cosmetic formulation, the humble olive may not seem like much. However, some of the most unassuming plant-derived ingredients contain the most surprisingly powerful molecules of all. Safe to say that olive oil is one of them!