I first came across the idea of olive oil for the skin when I was pregnant with my eldest (now age four). I had been buying Vitamin E (ever notice how the simplest oils are ten times more expensive when a new use is invented for them?) — and yes, I liked it. Nice and smooth, good absorption.
However, I ran out of my beloved Vitamin E oil at one point and discovered that Walgreen’s (love love love Walgreen’s!) was out, too. Oh noes, crisis. (Give me a break, I was hormonal and emotional.)
I”m sure I could have gone a week without oiling my tummy (and my breasts…and where else? Oh, yeah, the backs of my calves…boy did I streeeeeeeeeeeetch during pregnancy), but, well, I didn’t want to. Period. Being Ms. Au Naturel, of course I Googled my fingers off to find a home-available substitute, and I came across olive oil.
“Eew,” I said to myself (and I believe I actually did say “ew,” no literary license there), “that greasy stuff?”
But desperate times call for desperate measures, and adding the laziness factor of not wanting to haul my gigantic 32-weeks preggo self to Rite Aid or Wally World, I grabbed my bottle and dabbed it on. And…WOW. I was, and am, a convert.
So. What can olive oil do for the skin? Let’s talk a little about that today.
How Olive Oil is Extracted
There are several different methods manufacturers use to produce olive oil. What you want is the cold-pressed variety.
I don’t find that I necessarily need “extra-extra virgin” (sorry, Rachael Ray); plain old virgin will do.
Olive oil is produced by literally squeezing (pressing) the olives in an (you guessed it) olive press. Non-heated olive oil gives you the freshest oil with the most vitamins left in. What you’re looking for is minimal processing here.
Virgin olive oil can be found at any grocery store. Don’t go crazy on the cost, often you’re just paying for a fancy label or a smaller manufacturer.
What Olive Oil Does For Your Skin
So why use it? Well, first and formost it is, of course, moisturizing. It tends to absorb quickly if you only use a LITTLE. A little. (Did I mention “a little?”) More on application below.
Olive oil is also said to help prevent the development of tumors following the exposure of the skin to UV rays: see this interesting study.
Olive oil tends to have a healing effect on the skin, going beyond simple moisturization to the repair of skin cells. That means skin looks and acts healthier. In addition, it is hypoallergenic to most users; an external olive oil allergy is virtually unheart of, according to experts.
Yup. It’s a wonder oil.
How to Use It
Okay. Remember when I said “a little” above? Go very light on this oil. A little goes a long way. And too much will have a greasy effect (ask me how I know this…never mind, don’t ask me, it’s too embarrassing a story).
Ahem. Aaaaaaaanyway. Here are your olive oil application tips:
- Use one drop at a time. Place the drop in the palm of your hand and rub your hands together. You should just barely feel and see a sheen on both palms.
- For the face, wash thoroughly first. Exfoliate if you wish. Then apply the oil from your palms per above, onto your face, gently patting. Using the tips of your fingers, dab lightly all over the skin.
- For makeup removal, pour a teaspoon of olive oil into a small dish. Dab a cotton ball into the oil. Wipe eyes gently, then rinse. Olive oil will remove most types of eye makeup, including waterproof mascara.
- Use olive oil to soften your cuticles before a manicure. Dip fingertips into a small bowl of olive oil for 5 minutes. Remove, wipe dry with a towel and proceed with your manicurel.
- To prevent stretch marks, pour one drop at a time directly onto the area. Massage in gently. Add more drops as needed. Olive oil may work on stretch marks that are already present due to its healing properties, but since all skin acts differently and some stretch marks can be very deep and/or dark, prevention is always better.
Trust me, you’re going to be hooked.