Olive Trees in Thassos, Greece
Olive oil as skin care is an ancient beauty secret that the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans have been using for thousands of years. It wasn't until this past weekend, however, that I actually experienced the true skin care powers of olive oil!
My Weekend Skin Care Dilemma
My family and I spent the past weekend at a house in which the dryness from the heating system was making us extremely uncomfortable. My one-year-old would cry and point to her legs, which were red from dryness; my three-year-old became constipated; my lips were so dry and cracked that smiling was painful; and we were constantly thirsty!
Having not brought my mom-approved lotions for the girls, I didn't have easy access to a low-toxic moisturizer so, as my one-year-old cried from the discomfort of her dry skin, I immediately grabbed organic olive oil from the kitchen cabinets to apply to my youngest daughter's legs. I then rubbed the extra oil around my dry, cracked hands and lips. I was struck by how soothed my hands immediately felt! Moreover, I was surprised that the olive oil didn't stay oily / sticky. It "evaporated" and/or got absorbed quickly. I'm thrilled about this simple, effective discovery!
Skin Care Benefits of Olive Oil
Apply Organic Olive Oil on Dry Skin!
Olive oil offers a natural, hypoallergenic way to moisturize the skin. It is packed with vitamins E and A, which are antioxidants that can stimulate skin regrowth. According to The Olive Oil Source, "polyphenolic components of olive oil have been compared to traditional antioxidants, such as tocopherols, used by the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry to prevent skin damage." They recommend applying olive oil to damp skin to reduce any greasy residue. Eden Organic Foods recommends massaging olive oil on dry skin once per day until skin becomes smooth and silky. They also claim that this treatment is effective for eczema.
Applications of Olive Oil for Skin Care
Olive oil can also be used to exfoliate by mixing some coarse sea salt with olive oil to create a rub that battles dead skin. (Combing olive oil through my daughter's scalp as an infant was remarkably effective in "cleaning" up her cradle cap!) Or, dab some oil on a cotton pad and use it as soothing eye makeup remover. You can also use olive oil as a deep conditioner for your hair.
From now on, after washing my hands in the kitchen during this long dry winter, I'm grabbing organic olive oil to soothe my mommy hands!
Have you ever used olive oil for your skin or hair? What are your favorite natural beauty tips?
Update March 2013: I now also use organic cold pressed coconut oil and 100% pure shea butter in the winter.