(BeWellBuzz) Recently American dieticians and researchers took note that people eating a Mediterranean diet are a heart healthy bunch, and they discovered that one of the healthful staples of their diet is olive oil (OO). The history of OO in that region dates back thousands of years.
In the second millennia BCE, it’s written that God led the Israelites from Egyptian captivity into the Promised Land. It was “a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey.” OO was and still is associated with prosperity, gladness and spiritual blessing.
It’s also a tool to denote spiritual authority, the “anointing” oil that officiated a person’s authority to enter the Holy of Holy places, to preach, to perform healings, or release blessings over the people. It was used as currency, when the people tithed with olive oil, or brought it as a sacrificial offering from the first fruits of their harvest. Kings gifted kings with hundreds of thousands of gallons of the fruit’s oil.
It’s been fuel for lamps and a beauty treatment for the king’s bride. The people dressed wounds with oil. The good Samaritan found a beaten and abandoned Jew on the side of the road “and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.” The people knew, even then, that olive oil contained powerful healing properties.
Just What is OO Really Made Of?
The oil pressed out from little green fruits of olive trees is a healthful part of a balanced diet, this much is well known. It provides:
- Omega-9 oleic acid (MUFA): lowers LDL, raises HDL; fights cancer; promotes fat loss.
- Omega 3 and 6 EFAs (PUFAs)
- Vitamins E & K
- Trace amounts of choline and betaine
- Minerals calcium, iron, potassium and sodium
Phytosterols are of special interest to us. They’ve been shown to slow the degradation of collagen caused by sun-exposure, and encourage new collagen production. Collagen is a protein that makes for healthy, smooth, firm skin. Phytosterols are your facial friends.
Beautiful Results: “OO” for the Skin
When I first heard from a girlfriend that I could put OO on my face, you should have seen my face. This was a fearful proposition. But it turns out that olive oil is a universal skin treatment. Whether you have dry, combination, or acne-prone skin, applying olive oil directly to the affected areas is the single most delightfully inexpensive skin remedy you’ve probably never heard of.
Radiant skin is not for the faint of heart, but nor is it reserved for the rich and famous, who can afford to spend $10,000 on 1oz. of skin cream. I’ve almost entirely eliminated my expensive, often toxic face washes, tonics and spot treatments, and as I discover new all-natural recipes, I expect to be completely off them soon. No matter what your skin condition is, give this a try and let us know how it goes. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Recipes for Success
Once you get into this you might get creative with variations. For now, here are some basics.
Acne Home-Spa Treatment
Time: 2-3 minutes
Ingredients: 1 T OO
Put the OO in a bowl. Dip your fingers and gently apply the oil using circular motions. Think loving thoughts. Pray for healing. Be excited. You’re finally about to see results. Then, take a fresh washcloth and douse it with steamy hot water. Squeeze all excess liquid and place it over your face. Breathe in the steam and relax for a minute, or until the cloth cools. Rinse it good and prepare it the same way, only this time, use it to gently remove the oil completely. Pat dry with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel. Finish by adding a final thin layer of OO to your skin. After a few moments, blot softly to remove any excess oil. Do this every day, twice per day. You should see results within one week.
Time: 1 minute
Ingredients: 1/3 c OO, ¼ c sea salt or sugar
This is a nice treat to do 1-3 times per week. I like to make a few servings at once. Adjust proportions to the quantity you desire. The mixture should result in a little more oil than sugar or salt.
Try separately with salt or sugar to figure out which one you like best. Sea salt absorbs toxins. It’s antiseptic and increases circulation. Sugar contains glycolic acid, which is a natural exfoliator, skin protectant and skin lightener. Both sugar and salt are great exfoliators. When you apply, be sure not to rub too hard or you’ll damage healthy skin cells.
Mix well in a bowl or glass storage container. Dip your fingers and gently apply to skin using a circular motion. Be soft, but don’t be afraid of the areas at the corners of your eyes or other areas where fine lines appear. Rinse with warm water, finish with a “cool shot” of water and pat dry, or pat with a cold dampened wash cloth. The cold shot closes the pores and seals in moisture. As you pat dry, allow the cloth to absorb any excess oil.
Antioxidant Rich Exfoliation
Time: 1 minute
Ingredients: ½ c OO, ¼-1/3 c spent coffee grinds
Studies show that drinking caffeinated-coffee reduces the risk of skin cancer. Coffee grounds are rich in powerful antioxidants. The caffeine is shown to promote fresh skin cell regeneration. Applying under the eyes can reduce puffiness and inflammation.
Once you’ve made your morning coffee, take the used or “spent” grounds and mix well with OO. There should be a little more oil than grounds. Apply gently using a circular motion, making sure to get to the forehead, around the eyes, and any rough patches. It’s highly abrasive so handle tenderly. You can let the coffee mask sit for 30 seconds or so. Then rinse with warm water and finish with a cool shot. Pat dry, letting the cloth absorb excess oil, and glow!
Time: 30 seconds
Ingredients: A few dabs of olive oil
As scary as it may be at first to apply OO to your face, you might actually find that isn’t moisturizing enough. Just take a little into your hand, rub between fingertips, and apply to skin. This is especially great for acne or blemish prone skin. If you tend to have dry skin, and if you still need more hydration, you might play with adding organic virgin coconut oil or, for a heavier touch, vitamin E oil.
With these basic recipes, and as you explore more of the skin benefits of OO, you may discover that you can ditch the counters for the kitchen for most of your skincare needs.
 Zambon, A., Sartore, G., Passera, D., Francini-Pesenti, F., Bassi, A., Basso, C., Zambon, S., Manzato, E. and Crepaldi, G. (1999), Effects of hypocaloric dietary treatment enriched in oleic acid on LDL and HDL subclass distribution in mildly obese women. Journal of Internal Medicine, 246: 191-201. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2796.1999.00550.x
 Geria, Navin M. “The role of phytosterols in cosmeceutical products” The Free Library 01 December 2009. 19 March 2013 <http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The role of phytosterols in cosmeceutical products.-a0214793388>.