How Olive Oil Cares for Your Skin Naturally
Cleopatra used olive oil on her skin, as did the ancient Greeks and Romans, not only because the olive was native to their area but because it is a natural skin conditioner. There are many other plants native to the Mediterranean, but the olive was considered to be particularly conducive to beauty and helping to hold back the years. Why?
A large contributor to aging is the appearance of your skin. Skin that looks youthful makes those that wear it look youthful, irrespective of their chronological age. Those whose skin ages quickly, becoming mottled and wrinkled, can look much older than they really are, all due to the appearance of their skin.
Skin ages because the cells become damaged or destroyed, but why does this happen with young people? It is partially genetic and partially due to diet, but the main contributors are free radicals. These small destructive molecules are generated by sunlight, by pollutants such as cigarette smoke and traffic fumes, and by chemicals such as pesticides. They are also formed by your body’s natural metabolism, and they destroy your skin cells by oxidizing and rupturing the cell membranes.
The way to prevent this, or at least assuage its effect, is by the use of what are known as antioxidants that destroy the free radicals. Olive oil is packed full of them in the form of polyphenols, including the catechins and flavonoids. By consuming olives, and drinking the oil, you get a good supply of antioxidants into your body that destroys the free radicals in your blood that can create adverse health conditions such as atherosclerosis.
However, by rubbing the oil into your skin, you can also destroy the free radicals that attack your skin cells and cause premature aging. In this way you can slow down the aging process on your skin and remain looking younger for longer. The ancients bathed using olive oil, scraping it off their skin with a special scraper that the Romans called a "strigil." This not only removed the dirt, but also kept their skin looking young.
You can use it for massage, keeping your nails soft and as a hand lotion. The polyphenols can repair the damage of sunburn and scavenge the free radicals up from the lower layers of your skin, and you can also use it to help remove stretch marks. Extra virgin is best and you can use it with some clay to make a face mask.
The principal benefits of using olive oil therefore, are:
1. Maintains a youthful-looking skin by preventing free radical degradation of the skin cells.
2. Keeps the skin moisturized and hydrated.
3. Keeps your nails soft and prevents them becoming brittle and cracked.
4. Keeps the skin on your feet and heels soft and pliable.
Olive oil is useful for a lot more than just cooking, and although its consumption can help you to maintain good health, it use as a skin care product can offer more visible benefits in maintaining great looking skin and a youthful appearance by retarding the normal mechanisms of aging.