Important Chemical Components:
fatty acids (predominantly oleic acid with some stearic and linoleic)
sterols (mainly β-sitosterol, avenasterol, and campesterol)
This ingredient is natural, but organic forms are available.
Personal Care Category:
Occlusive and emollient, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant
Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:
DRNW, DRNT, DRPT, and DRPW
Olive oil is derived from the olive tree (Olea europaea) and has long been considered one of the most significant of the natural essential oils. In the Mediterranean diet, known as one of the world’s healthiest diets, it is the primary source of fat. It was also used for dermatologic purposes among ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.
Olive oil is an effective hydrating agent and has been shown to confer anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties.1,4,5 In fact, topically applied olive oil has been reportedly used successfully to treat xerosis, pruritus, rosacea, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis (particularly in the diaper area), eczema (including severe cases on the hands and feet), seborrhea, and various inflammations, burns and other skin damage.1 In terms of additional potential cutaneous applications, olive oil has demonstrated promise as a photoprotective agent.5
Olive oil has been used for dermatologic purposes for thousands of years, since the times of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, known to be one of the healthiest around the world, olive oil has long been considered one of the most important of the natural essential oils. For as long as it has been a component in the human diet, people have also used olive oil for its beneficial effects on the skin. Ancient Greeks bathed with olive oil,1 and the essential oil was also used in various ways – food, cosmetic, massage oil for athletes, anointing oil, salve for soothing wounds – by ancient Egyptians and Romans. In an interesting historical study, Nomikos et al. used a comprehensive study of Greek and world literature, including works attributed to Hippocrates and Aristotle, as a portal through which to assess the use of olive oil for the prevention and treatment of sports injuries in the ancient world. They found that olive oil was used in massage to diminish muscle fatigue, eliminate lactic acid, and promote flexibility, thus possibly preventing the occurrence of injury. The authors also noted that the ancient world openly acknowledged the therapeutic use of oils, which were distributed freely to athletes at sporting events.6
In contemporary times, the topical application of olive oil has reportedly been successful in treating xerosis, rosacea, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis (especially in the diaper area), eczema (including severe cases on the hands and feet), seborrhea, and various inflammations, burns and other skin damage.1