Used as ointment and perfume, olive oil has been a key element in body care since time immemorial. It cannot be relegated to the kitchen. It is the oil of pleasure and joy, a reviving fluid that is good for both body and soul.
The benefits resulting from its usage have been widely documented throughout most of the history of Man. The recipe for an ancient Egyptian ointment made with olive oil, milk, juniper berries and grains of incense, was recently revised by the cosmetic industry and marketed with great success.
While other oils only exert a soothing action, that obtained from olives also moisturizes and nourishes the skin, preserving it from the aging processes that are inevitably triggered by the nefarious action of free radicals.
Antioxidants and other compounds present in olive oil are particularly effective in delaying the onset of wrinkles and skin flaws. Two biophenols in particular, namely oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, can significantly inhibit the oxidation processes to which the skin is naturally subjected.
The skin cells are constantly attacked by a range of external agents and therefore require defence mechanisms that can prove adequate in counteracting the damage provoked by the environment, especially the polluted ones that are so typical of our times.
On the other hand, it has been proved that rubbing olive oil into the skin can help protect it from the ravages of time. The oil penetrates through the pores and follicles and creates a protective film on the surface of the skin, as well as making it significantly firmer. The latter property is still widely exploited in Maghreb, where women use olive oil to massage their breasts and keep them soft and turgid.
Nowadays olive oil, and extra virgin oil in particular, is used extensively by the cosmetic industry but when choosing what products to purchase, great attention should be paid to the label. What really counts is the percentage of olive oil, not the fact that it is present. The sooner it appears in the list of ingredients, the better, since it means that it is present at a higher percentage.