Beauty, Inside and Out – Olive Oil and Skin

Beauty, Inside and Out


Last month 79-year-old actress Sophia Loren stole the show at Cannes when she was honored for her work in The Human Voice (La voce umana), a short film directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti.

Audiences around the world watched in awe as the face of this exceedingly beautiful woman filled our screens yet again. Oh, to look that good at any age.

While Loren is blessed with legendary bone structure she also uses olive oil as part of her daily beauty routine both internally and externally.

Her Mediterranean diet has always ensured that she includes at least two tablespoons of EVOO in her food intake but the famous beauty has also been known to rub a small amount into her skin to keep her skin moisturized.

She also adds a couple of capfuls into a hot bath for a skin-nourishing soak.

American actress and healthy guru Gwyneth Paltrow also promotes the internal and external use of olive oil.

Her 2013 cookbook It’s all Good uses EVOO in a significant proportion of her recipes.

On her much talked about website Goop, Paltrow includes an interview with Dr. Nicholas Perricone who advises: “The most powerful member of the Olive Oil Polyphenol group is Hydroxytyrosol. Extremely rare, and effective in even small concentrations, this super antioxidant, anti-inflammatory has been proven to be effective in improving general health and appearance.”

And the secret of Paltrow long silky tresses: “I often recommend that people use a half cup of olive oil and work it through dry hair, concentrating on the driest parts, combing it through but avoiding the roots.”

For those interested in DIY hair-masks these can be found in abundance on the internet and are as simple as mixing olive oil with a few drops of essential oil. Perfect for a day at home when you can really let the mixture sink in.

Organic olive oil producer Bellucci Premium also lists ways that olive oil consumption can aid beauty. “For your skin, olive oil has the same anti-inflammatory properties as ibuprofen, which can reduce the redness and prominence of acne, stretch marks, and other skin conditions. Studies also say that olive oil is rich in antioxidants, which can help lower the risks of melanoma, a harmful type of skin cancer.”

So beauty may come from the inside, but it seems a few of the external applications of olive oil as a beauty aid before your next close up can’t hurt either.

Olive Oil and Skin

In human beings aging leads to gradual structural and functional skin damage.

Skin tissue goes through a number of changes. Some of the chief ones are that the inner and outer layers of the skin (dermis and epidermis) grow thinner, elasticity is lost, the area joining the dermis to the epidermis becomes less cushioned, fibrosis occurs with the accumulation of collagen and the tissue is less able to fight against and repair damage.

External factors, such as the sun’s rays, speed up aging by generating free radicals. Though cells are equipped with mechanisms that neutralize their action, it is possible to reduce cell damage by using inhibitors that lower the risk. One such natural inhibitor is olive oil, whose lipid profile is very similar to that of human skin.

On top of polyphenols, olive oil has a large proportion of vitamins A, D and K, as well as vitamin E, the main source of protection against the free radicals that produce cell oxidation. This makes it a good aid in specific therapies to treat skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and seborrheic eczemas.

It has also been suggested that because of its pronounced antioxidant effect, olive oil could play a choice part in the prevention of continuous oxidation, one of the processes that influences the development of certain types of skin cancer. Vitamin E studies have begun, but these kinds of observations take a long time, which means that conclusive data are not yet available. However, the theory is that oleic acid is believed to play a major part in counteracting continuous oxidation.