Why Olive Oil is Such a Great Natural Skin Care Oil

When it comes to natural plant oils, keep in mind that the oils that most closely resemble your skin’s natural oil (sebum) are the ones that will produce the best results for your skin and your overall health. They also tend to be more stable, with a considerably longer shelf life than most other oils.

Sebum, your body’s natural oil, is secreted by your oil glands (sebaceous glands), which are typically located at the root of every hair as well as other places throughout the body. This oil is very important to skin health. It softens and lubricates the skin and hair and prevents the skin from drying and cracking. It also has anti-microbial properties that protect the skin from infection and damage.

Many factors (living in dry or windy climates or higher altitudes, for example) can lead to excessively dry skin, where the sebum you secrete is simply not enough to do the job and additional moisturizers are needed. By the same token, overactive sebaceous glands that lead to excessively oily (and acne-prone) skin can sometimes be a sign of an oil deficiency in the body. As counter-intuitive as that may sound, if your body isn’t getting enough Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) from food or supplementation, it can respond by over-producing and secreting sebum to counteract the potential harm or damage to your skin that can come from this deficiency.

All fats and oils (including sebum) are composed of molecules called fatty acids. There are two ways of classifying these fatty acids. The first is based on saturated fat vs. unsaturated fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). The other is a system of classification based on molecular size or the length of the carbon chain within each fatty acid. If I can get technical here for a minute . . . fatty acids often consist of long chains of carbon atoms with hydrogen atoms attached. So oils can have short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), or long-chain fatty acids (LCFA). Sebum contains medium chain fatty acids, in the form of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), so oils that consist of MCFAs are those that most closely resemble sebum.

The two plant-based culinary oils that are richest in antioxidants and most closely resemble your sebum are Virgin Coconut and EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil), which is what makes them such excellent skincare ingredients, and the main ones to look for in high quality natural lotions, creams and cleansers.

Heal Dry Skin with Natural Skin Care Oils Good Enough to Eat!

Even though March is already here and the official start of spring is just a few days away, the lingering cold and continuing winter weather conditions throughout most of the country (as I discovered on a recent trip to Florida) can be very tough on your skin – especially on your face, lips, and hands.

There are a number of things you can do during the winter months to keep the toll on your skin manageable including simple things like increasing your intake of fluids (preferably purified water and herbal teas), antioxidants (Vitamins A, C & E), and essential fatty acids (Omega 3s); avoiding conventional soaps and cleansers and petroleum-based moisturizers; and using body oils instead of lotions and creams as your primary moisturizer.

In my continuing series on safe, natural alternative ingredients for radiant skin, I want to explore the benefits of this nearly ubiquitous plant oil that’s commonly found in the kitchen that’s not only good enough to apply to your skin, but equally good to eat! Can you guess which oil I’m talking about?

Many of the plant-based culinary oils you use in the kitchen can play a dual role in promoting and maintaining skin health not just in the dead of winter, but also throughout the year. Vegetable and nut oils like coconut, high-oleic safflower or sunflower, extra virgin olive, almond, or avocado are not only healthful when consumed internally, but can also be highly effective at hydrating, moisturizing, and protecting your skin when applied topically.

In fact, incorporating this oil (along with virgin coconut oil) into your regular diet and skin care regimens (either alone or as primary ingredients in your products) will give your skin the extra boost it needs to not only survive, but to thrive in even the most challenging of winter environments. I’m talking about EVOO. I know, you’re probably scratching your head and going what on earth is that? Well it’s just an acronym for Extra Virgin Olive Oil!