Exactly What Olive Oil Can (and Can't) Do for Your Skin, According to an Expert

olive oil for skinolive oil for skin

If you're as immersed in the beauty world as I am, you’ll probably know a lot of famous people have launched beauty brands in 2020.

From the Benjamin Button products that keep Pharrell Williams looking 26, to Goop by Gwyneth Paltrow and Rihanna's Fenty Skin, A-list skin care is basically the new celebrity perfume.

Celebrity skincare brands are great for business, because, who doesn't want to know about (and maybe even buy) the skin treatments and products your favourite celebs use to look they way they do?

Jennifer Lopez aka JLo is one of those celebrities for me. And even as a dermal clinician who's very into her cosmeceutical skin care, I was bloody excited when the singer, actress and entrepreneur announced on Instagram she was launching her own skin care.

Among a bunch of other ingredients like hyaluronic acid and peptides, JLo says she's "a big olive oil person", and started using "nature's magic ingredient" on her skin, hair and body to get her signature glow around 20 years ago, thanks to her mum.

But before you start pushing past people in the supermarket condiments aisle for giant tubs of olive oil like it's toilet paper in a pandemic, let's break down exactly what using olive oil can do for your skin.

And what it 100 per cent cannot.

Olive Oil for Skin - Pros and Cons.

Using olive oil as a skincare ingredient isn’t anything revolutionary - or new. In fact, Cleopatra is said to have used it on her skin, too. (This was before cosmeceutical skin care and Botox were invented, obvs.)

Here are the benefits of using olive oil in skin care:

  • Olive oil is an emollient ingredient, meaning it moisturises the skin to keep it supple and bouncy.

  • It contains antioxidants that fight free radicals that can damage the skin, and may help prevent premature ageing.

  • Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (healthy fats), vitamins A, D, E and K, and squalene, which is an incredibly hydrating ingredient we’ve spoken about before.

  • It has anti-inflammatory properties that may help treat inflammation and heal damaged skin, including assisting with eczema.

In other words, olive oil can moisturise the skin efficiently and may be beneficial in treating ageing concerns.

Now, here's a definitive list of what olive oil can't do for your face:

  • Sadly, slathering your face in olive oil is unlikely to turn you into JLo. Or make you look 'younger' (and who says we all want to look decades younger, anyway?).

  • It can’t replace your skincare routine - specifically vitamin A, an ingredient that has decades of scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness in managing the signs of ageing.

  • Olive oil can't instantly transform your skin or face (or at least, not like good injectables can).

  • Using too much can lead to clogged pores and/or blemishes for some skin types.

You can learn more about face oils for different skin types in our helpful YouTube video below!

Who Shouldn't Put Olive Oil on Their Skin?

If you're acne-prone or have an oily skin type, I’d tread with caution around the olive oil trend.

Why? Well... have you ever felt olive oil?! It's a pretty heavy oil with a deliciously thick consistency, but from a skin health perspective, it's also a moderately comedogenic oil which means it may clog your pores.

Of course, everyone’s skin is different and some acne-prone skin types may tolerate this oil well. However, it wouldn’t be my go-to oil choice for oily skin.

There are so many other oils on the market specifically formulated for the face, here are just a couple of the best-selling ones on Adore.

A Final Word on Olive Oil for Skin.

To conclude, there may be some method to JLo's olive oil skincare madness.

(Although, let’s not underestimate the difference professional chefs, personal trainers and unlimited funds to spend on skincare products and treatments can make, too.)

Olive oil is fine to put on your face and there's a good chance it won't negatively impact your skin, but I wouldn’t expect any miracles from using olive oil on your skin and not much else.

If you're really keen on trying it, I'd recommend using non-GMO, certified-organic, cold-pressed and unrefined extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO). These are olive oils produced without the use of heat or chemical refining, and contain the highest concentration of olive oil's beneficial compound.

And finally, while I rate olive oil highly both in and out of the kitchen - but mostly for dipping focaccia bread in - I wouldn’t ditch your entire skincare routine for it. 

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