Is olive oil a good product for skin care? My answer is a big ‘yes”. Here are the reasons based on research and not just gossip. This article describes the general skin aging process, identifies what nutrients are required for skin care and what are their effects, shows the risks to be assumed when using cosmetics and explains skin penetration. This is not just theory, but facts that we must all be aware of!
Choosing a skin care product is not the same like asking a professional to fix an object that is broken for you. And this statement is not crazy. In the “fixing case” we must not care how that particular object works, why it is broken and how it can be repaired. We just want to have it fixed. Unfortunately the same approach we have when choosing cosmetics. All we want is a product that will smooth and soften our skin whatever the cost without really caring for what our skin needs and what a skincare product has to offer. And this is very wrong. Skin cannot and must not be treated this way.
And now you probably ask why we should know all this when there are professionals who create them and laws that guard their production.
Here is why:
Most of the ingredients of skin care products are in the best case just moisturizing since they cannot penetrate the skin enough to make the promised on the label improvements and they are not skin-soluble. One of the best examples is the collagen myth: scientists proved that collagen molecule is too big to penetrate the conium stratum.
E.U. banned to this moment more than 1300 ingredients from cosmetic products and most of them in the last 10 years. Still, there are more and more of them to be prohibited. While the law is prohibiting a particular chemical ingredient, other ones are being created. These ingredients are a great risk for our health in case they are absorbed by our body which is more likely to happen if the skin is cut (even a small scratch is enough) or irritated.
If cosmetics really had the effect they promise, women would not make plastic surgeries or inject Bot ox etc.
So let’s see what actually happens with our skin.
Why the skin gets old/damaged/fragile?
The human skin is 75% made of collagen. Collagen is a protein made by amino acids that are built from carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Collagen represents 30% of the human body proteins and plays a very important role in the protection function of the skin. Collagen is responsible for skin firmness, skin moisture, skin suppleness, constant renewal of skin cells. We definitely look better when collagen is not damaged. In order to produce collagen, the body needs the three basic elements: carbon, oxygen and hydrogen where carbon is the building block. Our skin is finally the air we breathe (oxygen), the water we drink (H2O) and the food we eat (proteins = oxygen + nitrogen + hydrogen and carbohydrates = oxygen + carbon + hydrogen). Generally collagen is very stable but only for approximately 30 years, after that it starts to break down and scientists call this “fragmented collagen”. Cellular oxidation or oxidative stress (the free radicals theory of aging) goes hand in hand with collagen’s fragmentation and this is what causes wrinkles and other skin damages. It is unfortunately a perpetuating cycle of damage where fragmentation elevates cellular oxidation which in turn results in more collagen fragmentation. And all this is the natural course of the aging process.
The anti-aging solutions
One word: antioxidants. They prevent the human cell destruction. Antioxidant powers have vitamins E, A and C, some minerals and enzymes and other nutrients and compounds. Generally, vitamins have also other multiple effects on our health and beauty. Essential oils (Omega-6 and Omega-3) are also necessary for healthy skin and hair. Here are the most important vitamins for skin care:
Vitamin E: except its antioxidant powers, offers great sun protection and fights against UV radiation, reduces the risk of skin cancer, reduces wrinkles, soothes dry and rough skin, helps in red blood cell formation and scalp circulation being essential for hair growth, improves skin colour.
Vitamin A: also an antioxidant, needed for maintenance and repair of skin tissue, reduces lines and wrinkles, offers good acne control and psoriasis relief, great effects for scalp and hair.
B complex: repairs the damaged cells, has anti-inflammatory properties, contains biotin which forms the basis of nails, skin and hair cells, helps production of melanin which gives hair its colour, improves skin colour.
Vitamin C: antioxidant powers, stimulates collagen production, reduces wrinkles, improves skin texture, important for tissue growth, iron absorption and hair health.
Vitamin K: great effects against skin discoloration, reduces dark circles and bruises and wrinkles.
The best way to supply these nutrients to our body is to have a good, balanced and natural diet. All skin’s conditions are the outcome of the body’s internal needs, including nutrition.
Beauty of course, comes from inside out. Still, some help from outside can only benefit it!
Applying antioxidants and vitamins on our skin is great. But, since our skin is designed to protect us from bacteria and other factors, why would the skin allow the vitamins to penetrate it? And if penetration is difficult to achieve, what other ingredients might help?
Skin penetration and absorption
Skin has three layers: the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, the dermis (the middle layer) and the deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) where stratum conium is the outermost layer of the epidermis. Stratum conium is the biggest guard against the bacterial world, chemicals, UV radiation etc. Skin penetration occurs when some ingredients pass through stratum conium and stay between this layer and the outermost layer of epidermis. If antioxidants are brought there, the skin condition might be improved significantly and the body system will not be affected. The skin is permeable to lipid-soluble substances and gases and vapours. It is not permeable to water. Most of the cosmetics are not soluble in skin and are too large in molecule to manage to pass through stratum conium. Absorption is when the ingredient penetrates the skin so deep that reaches the bloodstream. It is more likely for absorption to occur when the skin is damaged, irritated, has cuts, scratches, abrasions etc. This is the reason why we must be very careful when choosing a cosmetic product (it might have some dangerous for health components).
Since skin penetration requires lipid-soluble substances and small in molecule, which are these substances?
Fatty acids are among the most popular skin penetration enhancers. Researches show that unsaturated fatty acids are more effective than the saturated fatty acids and among the unsaturated ones, oleic acid (monounsaturated fat) shows the best permeation.
Here this small theoretical approach has finished… For now.
Wrinkles are the natural course of life. If you still want to fight them, do it naturally: be careful what you drink and especially what you eat! And if you want to help your skin and hair from outside, be aware of all the risks when buying a cosmetic product.
Use olive oil!
Olive oil has up to 83% oleic acid in its composition which is perfectly penetrating the outermost layer of the skin. It also has essential oils that are even smaller in molecule and will definitely pass through. This liquid gold contains also antioxidants like polyphenols, vitamin E, A, K, D and B complex, Squalling (also used in cosmetics) and other nutrients. It is 100% natural, non-toxic and hypoallergenic. The oleic acid will go deep in the epidermis and take with it all the necessary elements to heal the damages, to improve skin tissue and colour, to reduce lines and wrinkles. Olive oil will offer sun protection and will reduce skin cancer risk. And much more.