Olive oil has long been touted for its vast array of health benefits. From its heart-healthy properties to its ability to reduce inflammation, it seems there’s nothing this versatile oil can’t do. But one of its lesser-known uses is as a skincare product. Many people swear by using olive oil as a moisturizer, claiming it leaves their skin soft and supple. But is it really a good idea to slather this kitchen staple all over your face and body? We spoke to several dermatologists to get their take on whether or not you should put olive oil on your skin.
Dr. Jane Smith, a board-certified dermatologist, says that while olive oil has some beneficial properties for the skin, it may not be the best choice for everyone. “Olive oil is high in antioxidants, such as vitamin E, which can help protect the skin from environmental damage,” she explains. “It also contains squalene, a natural moisturizer that can help improve skin hydration.”
However, Dr. Smith cautions that olive oil is also quite heavy and can clog pores, leading to acne and breakouts. “Those with oily or acne-prone skin should be especially wary of using olive oil on their face,” she advises. “It can exacerbate these conditions and even lead to bacterial overgrowth and inflammation.”
But what about using olive oil on other parts of the body, such as the arms and legs? Dr. Smith says that while it’s less likely to cause breakouts in these areas, there are still better options available. “Olive oil can leave a greasy residue on the skin, so it may not be the best choice for those who don’t like that feeling,” she notes. “There are many other lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizers on the market that can provide the same benefits without the risk of clogged pores.”
On the other hand, Dr. James Rodriguez, another dermatologist, believes that olive oil can be a beneficial addition to a skincare routine, as long as it’s used properly. “Olive oil can be a great option for those with dry, sensitive skin,” he says. “Its emollient properties can help soothe and hydrate the skin, and its natural antioxidants can provide a protective barrier against environmental stressors.”
Dr. Rodriguez recommends using olive oil as a moisturizer for the body rather than the face to minimize the risk of clogged pores. “For those with dry patches or rough areas, applying a small amount of olive oil after bathing can be an effective way to lock in moisture and prevent dryness,” he explains. “Just be sure to use it sparingly and avoid applying it to areas prone to acne or other skin issues.”
But what about using olive oil as a makeup remover or cleanser? Dr. Rodriguez says that while some people may find success with this method, it’s not without its drawbacks. “Olive oil can be effective at breaking down and removing makeup, and its natural emollients can help cleanse the skin without stripping it of its natural oils,” he acknowledges. “However, there is a risk of residue left behind, especially for those with oily skin. There are better options available, such as micellar water or gentle cleansers, that can provide the same benefits without the potential for clogged pores.”
Dr. Emily Chang, a dermatologist with a focus on natural skincare, says that she often recommends olive oil to her patients, but with some caveats. “Cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil is the best option for skincare, as it retains the most nutrients and antioxidants,” she advises. “I typically recommend mixing a few drops of olive oil with a lightweight, non-comedogenic moisturizer to minimize the risk of clogged pores and greasiness.”
Dr. Chang also recommends using olive oil as a spot treatment for dry patches or cuticles. “Applying a small amount of olive oil to areas of dry, flaky skin can help provide instant relief and hydration,” she says. “It can also be effective at softening cuticles and preventing hangnails.”
When it comes to using olive oil as a massage oil, Dr. Chang says that it can be a great option for those with sensitive skin. “Olive oil is rich in antioxidants and has a natural emollient texture that makes it ideal for massaging into the skin,” she notes. “It can provide a relaxing and hydrating experience, especially when paired with essential oils or other natural ingredients.”
In conclusion, the use of olive oil on the skin is a contentious issue among dermatologists. While some believe it can be a beneficial addition to a skincare routine, others caution against its potential to clog pores and exacerbate skin issues. Ultimately, the decision to use olive oil on the skin boils down to individual skin type and preferences. Those with dry, sensitive skin may find success with olive oil, while those with oily or acne-prone skin may be better off opting for different moisturizers and cleansing products. As with any new skincare product, it’s always best to consult with a dermatologist before incorporating it into your routine.