In my Nashville home, I cook with extra virgin olive oil and am a proponent of olive oil in cooking. Olive oil contains squalane, a poweful antioxidant.
There are many medical and scientific studies that have proven the health benefits of using olive oil in moderation in cooking. The Mayo Clinic site carries several articles that extoll the virtues of cooking with olive oil and using olive oil in food. However, some medical sites are now reporting olive oil may be as bad as a Big Mac when ingested and that cooking virgin olive oil may be hazardous to your health. In fact, if you Google “olive oil dangers” you will find more than 1,310,000 results.
While there are many positive articles on reputable medical sites about the benefits of ingesting olive oil, I could not find any articles on the Mayo Clinic website or any equally reliable websites about the virtues of applying olive oil to your skin, but there were a plethora of articles on many lesser-known and less reliable sites singing the praises of using olive oil on your skin. In fact, there is an entire romantic mythology that has sprung up around olive oil involving Cleopatra, Sophia Loren and the “Women of Yore” all of whom reportedly used olive oil — and the olive oil is supposedly the one specific element made and kept these women beautiful! However, Celebrity News has a clip of Sophia Loren on YouTube allegedly saying “No” to a question about bathing in olive oil, and she has frequently attributed her natural beauty to good genes, a love of life, and a healthy diet.
I use olive oil on my hands after I open the bottle. My right hand gets the full olive oil treatment, because I open the bottle with my left hand, and the oil from the cap gets on my left hand, so I wipe it off and massage it into my right hand. My left hand gets whatever is left over. In all my years of doing so, I have never seen the least bit of difference between my left hand, where the olive oil gets on my fingers and palm, and the right hand — the hand I massage the excess oil into.
While I frequently use olive oil on my hands, I don’t use olive oil on my face and don’t recommend that my readers do so. Olive oil is moderately comedogenic and the squalene in the oil is not transported effectively into the skin through the olive oil.
If you are using olive oil on your skin with no ill effects and enjoy the feel, that is fine, enjoy that “feel” because that’s about all you are getting. The olive oil is basically sitting on top of your skin’s protective barrier making your skin “feel” lubricated, but not doing much else for it.
I will go into depth about the problems and ineffectiveness of using olive oil for skin care in Part II.
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