The ancient Greeks believed that the olive tree was so heavenly, it must have been created by the Goddess Athena. As symbols of grandeur and perfection, ancient Olympic athletes regularly massaged the olive oil into their skin to maintain its health, texture, and radiance. Hippocrates gave testimony of olive oil being “the great healer”, and Galen travelled far and wide to preach of its healing properties. At this time, olive oil was used for cooking, and was essential in the production of medicines, cosmetics, soaps, lights, and perfume. It was this range of uses, and evidence of its healing ability, that led to Homer to famously describe olive oil as “Liquid Gold”. A clearly precious commodity, King David even went so far as hiring specialised guards to protect olive groves across Israel.
However, in these modern times of skincare products, and a new ‘skin perfecting serum’ being released every 5 seconds; we seem to have forgotten that olive oil is amongst the most complex formulas we can use to treat our skin. And it’s completely natural!
Zena’s skin healing guide promotes skin clarifying methods through organic treatments and processes. This is mainly due to the fact that organic treatments and processes usually have the highest success rate. So, let us take you through STEP TWO, which will teach you the best ways to invigorate and heal your skin with olive oil.
Whilst we can give you a list of cases in which olive oils were successfully used to heal a variety of skin types, we (as Oleologists) feel that it is important for you to understand the how and why it works. This type of information will allow you to see this step as more of a lifestyle change, rather than a fleeting trend.
Your skin is exposed to free radicals on a daily basis. These are very reactive and uncharged molecules. In other words, these are aggressive little molecules that are missing an electron. When they come in contact with your skin, they react by stealing an electron from one of your skin’s molecules; causing damage. This damage can speed up the aging process. For a visual reference, imagine the way in which an apple can wrinkle, bruise, and become discoloured when exposed to the air. Antioxidants provide a solution for this, as they are responsible for rounding up the free radicals and giving them all a spare electron. The free radicals are happy with their newfound spare electron, and leave your skin in peace. This process is called neutralising. Make sense?
Much of olive oil’s skin healing benefits derive from that fact that it is naturally rich in essential antioxidant groups, which fight the ongoing battle of keeping our skin youthful and healthy. So, now that we know some of the science behind it, let’s talk application.
We recommend using extra virgin olive oil as a daily moisturiser. Just in case you needed further convincing, here’s exactly why.
Vitamin E is a wonderful antioxidant for your complexion. It has been known to reduce hyperpigmentation and brown spots, caused by sun exposure and aging; by encouraging the regeneration of skin cells. However, Vitamin E oil has a tendency to be quite thick. In addition to this, the market is flooded with Vitamin E oils that have been blended with soy. Olive oil is rich in pure Vitamin E, whilst retaining a thinner consistency.
The role of Vitamin K in skin healing is often overlooked, as it works in a different way to traditional antioxidants. Although Vitamin E improves bruising and scarring on your skin, Vitamin K contributes to the strengthening of blood vessels under the skin, so that you are less prone to bruises and scars overall. When applied topically, Vitamin K can fade stretch marks and dark circles. Let’s not forget its ability to reduce fluid retention and increase circulation. Olive oil serves as a good source for this fat-soluble vitamin.
Squalene has a history of being used on the battlefields to treat wounds and skin issues. As it currently makes up 10-12% of your skin’s natural oils, it is less likely to interrupt with your skin’s delicate balances when applied from an external source. Squalene has been described as a key ingredient in super hydration. Its presence in olive oil allows the oil to retain water, which means that it has the ability to hold moisture against your skin; keeping it soft and smooth. Traditionally harvested from shark livers, olive oil provides a vegan-friendly source of Squalene.
These terms are reserved for food that contain the highest percentages of a range of antioxidants! These antioxidants fight our battles with free radicals, whilst also boosting our collagen supplies to keep our skin firm, and bounce-back-ready. The increased collagen production smooths fine lines and wrinkles, as well as tightening pores. The health benefits don’t stop there! The abundance of antioxidants in olive oil also contribute to the healing of conditions that may be the root of your skin problems. For example, they have been known to aid in the fight against heart disease, diabetes, cholesterol, and certain cancers.
After cleansing, make sure your face is still slightly damp before applying a small amount of extra virgin olive oil. Rub in circular motions, and pay close attention to your under-eye area and any areas that have become wrinkled or discoloured. We cannot emphasise enough, the importance of using a high quality, cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil. Remember, not all olive oils are created equal. By this, we mean that the variety of tree, the farming processes, the bottling and storing, and the amount of olives used, can all affect the quality of the olive oil produced. A low-quality oil can have a harmful effect on your skin, or not produce any results at all.