Emollient plant oil (Latin name Olea europaea) with benefits similar to those of several other non-fragrant plant oils. Olive oil is beneficial for dry skin because of its fatty acid content, some of which comes from the emollient squalene. Olive oil contains essential fatty acids dry skin needs, including oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. It also contains phenolic compounds that provide antioxidant benefit. A small number of animal tests show that topically applied olive oil can protect against UVB damage. [1,2,3]
Used alone, olive oil has been shown to be problematic for skin because it seems to reduce skin’s barrier integrity and delay healing of injured skin, especially when compared with sunflower seed oil, a plant oil whose fatty acid profile is markedly different from that of olive oil. It’s believed that olive oil’s high oleic acid content may be responsible for this. This plant oil maintains a low potential for irritancy or allergic reaction. [4,5,6] To be very clear: When olive oil is mixed in a formula in small amounts with other beneficial ingredients, you get the benefit of its slip and emollient properties along with some antioxidant benefit. The negative effects of olive oil are apparent only when used alone on skin, particularly infant skin.
- Zarrouk W, Carrasco-Pancorbo A, Zarrouk M, Segura-Carretero A, Fernandez-Gutierrez A. A. Multi-component analysis (sterols; tocopherols; and triterpenic dialcohols) of the unsaponifiable fraction of vegetable oils by liquid chromatography-atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-ion trap mass spectrometry. Talanta. 2008;80(2):924-34.
- Raederstorff D. Antioxidant activity of olive polyphenols in humans: a review.. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2009;79(3):152-65.
- Covas M, Nyyssonen K, Poulsen H, Kaikkonen J, Zunft H, Kiesewetter H, Gaddi A, de la Torre R, Mursu J, Baumler H, et al. The effect of polyphenols in olive oil on heart disease risk factors: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med. 2006;145(5):331-41.
- Danby S, Al Enezi T, Sultan A, Lavender T, Chittock J, Brown K, Cork M. Effect of Olive and Sunflower Seed Oil on the Adult Skin Barrier: Implications for Neonatal Skin Care.. Pediatr Dermatol. 2013;30(1):42-50.
- Verallo-Rowell V, Dillague K, Syah-Tjundawan B. Novel antibacterial and emollient effects of coconut and virgin olive oils in adult atopic dermatitis. Dermatitis. 2008;19(6):308-15.
- Kranke B, Komericki P, Aberer W. Olive oil – contact sensitizer or irritant?. Contact Dermatitis. 1997;36(1):5-10.