If you’re an avid skincare fan, then you’ve probably already headed to your kitchen and reached out for the bottle of olive oil in your cabinet and tried it as a moisturiser. But, is it good for your skin? The answer to this question depends on your skin type. Everyone’s skin is different and therefore everyone’s skin reacts to products (including olive oil), slightly differently.
When it comes to skincare, quality is always key so make sure that your olive oil is unrefined and minimally processed. In other words, buy extra virgin olive oil. If your olive oil is refined, then all the good stuff for your skin like antioxidants, phytosterols and vitamins could have been stripped away, completely defeating the point of applying olive oil to the skin.
Olive oil is antioxidant-rich with vitamin E which helps to maintain your skin’s cell membranes and protect it from free radicals. Free radicals come from external sources such as X-rays, air pollution, cigarette smoking and pesticides. Olive oil also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These can help support a healthy skin barrier and therefore seal in moisture which leads to great, hydrated skin.
When can I use olive oil during my skincare routine?
It can be used at essentially any stage of your skincare routine. Whether you are needing to remove makeup, cleanse, or keep your skin moisturised.
Whatever skin type, you should always be washing your face with oil-based cleansers. It helps melt and dissolve any excess oils from the day, such as makeup, from your skin. This works because, ironically, oil attracts oil. Since olive oil is completely natural and does not have any harsh chemicals in it, it means that you can clean your face without stripping or disturbing your skin's natural microbiome. If you have dry skin, you could stick to just using the oil as the cleanser, or if you have acne-prone or combination skin, you may want to follow up with another cleanser.
While olive oil isn't inherently moisturising as it does not contain water, it has the properties to help lock in moisture. Because it has occlusive properties (meaning they act as a water retention barrier), it traps in water and blocks any outside forces that aren't going to get through to your skin after this is applied.
If you have sensitive skin, oily skin or skin conditions such as dermatitis, using olive oil as part of your skincare routine might not be the best choice. Therefore, make sure to do a skin patch test (this can be somewhere such as the side of your neck or on your wrist) to see how your skin reacts to the olive oil. But – the overall consensus? Yes, olive oil on the whole can be good for your skin. Just ensure to assess your skin type to see what you are looking to gain most from using the olive oil.