The art of beautification appears to have undergone a certain change in the past couple of decades. Natural beauty treatments seem to be all the rage now. Vegetable oils are constantly recommended left and right - for various types of conditions. Olive oil is no exception.
That makes us wonder why so many people are recommending the olive oil treatment for acne and what’s so special about this type of oil.
Even though it might sound counterproductive to put any kind of oil on acne-prone skin, some people claim that using extra virgin olive oil on your face works wonders for all skin types. It’s supposed to brighten the skin and get rid of pimples and acne scars. Let’s explore some of its strengths and shortcomings.
Acne is a skin condition that is a result of the hair follicles becoming clogged with oil, bacteria and dead skin cells. There are several types of acne and the cystic kind is the hardest to treat. Although it’s most common in teenagers, acne can trouble anybody due to the sheer number of possible causes.
The most common reasons for the emergence of acne is excess sebum, acne-causing bacteria, hormonal imbalances, and skin congestion. There are several lifestyle factors that play a role in the severity and progression of the condition, such as diet, exercise, sleeping patterns, stress and certain medications.
Olive oil has been used as a cosmetic treatment for centuries. It has always been a popular option for face and body lotions, hair masks and cuticle treatments. People would even sprinkle a few drops in their baths regularly. They also believed that it can help protect the skin against damage. But are these benefits a myth when it comes to acne?
Supposedly, olive oil is a miracle worker due to the amount of antioxidants and vitamins it contains. On top of that, it’s said to improve the skin’s natural elasticity and moisturize it without making it greasy, which is the last thing you’d want if you have acne-prone skin.
Sometimes the skin overproduces oil (if it’s dry and not moisturized properly), and the excess sebum leads to breakouts. Some olive oil advocates claim that adding olive oil topically signals to the skin that it’s properly moisturized, so that it lowers the amount of sebum it produces. However, so far this is all anecdotal evidence. Some claim that it has tremendous benefits, while others find that it worsens their breakouts.
Studies done on animals show that applying oleic acid, a substance found in olive oil, can actually contribute to acne. Using olive oil topically can also worsen the symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis). It can also increase the number of acne-causing bacteria found on the skin. Oleic acid feeds bacteria and makes it easier to settle down in the skin layers.
Not only that, but other studies also suggest that olive oil distorts the skin’s natural protective barrier, making it that much easier for further breakouts and congestions to appear and your skin to become drier as a result.
Olive oil is considered to be moderately comedogenic, which means that it is somewhat likely to clog pores and trigger acne in some people. This is especially important for people with acne-prone skin. Whatever your skin type is, you should consider trying it out on a small area of your face before adding it in your regular skincare routine.
Technically, all skin types could benefit from olive oil because every individual reaction will be different. No matter what your skin type is, if you have some intolerance or allergy to it your skin will probably break out as a result from using it. That being said, some skin types are more likely to have an adverse reaction to it, such as those with oily and acne-prone skin. People with normal, insensitive or dry skin should have a more positive experience.
Truth is, nothing consumed in isolation can help with a condition like acne. What matters is what you eat the majority of the time, what your diet is like overall and how it works in conjunction with other lifestyle factors.
So the short answer is probably not, since there aren’t any studies that show a correlation between olive oil consumption and acne improvement. However, if adding a tablespoon of olive oil in your leafy greens and salads helps you consume more vegetables frequently, it will probably have an overall positive effect on your acne.
If you’re one of those brave souls that does decide to try this product on their face, here is one simple method you can use. Pour a few drops of olive oil in your hand and gently rub it on your face. Leave it on for a couple of minutes and then use a washcloth that’s been soaked in warm water to remove the oil off your face.
It’s important to note that the extra virgin olive oil would work best for this case. You can use it in isolation or mixed with other oils low on the comedogenic scale.
Another option is to use a moisturizer or a cleanser that contains olive oil. You can also try a few face masks.
In order to make this mask you’ll need one tablespoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of honey. Mix them together, apply the mixture on your face and leave it on for about 15 minutes.
Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with one teaspoon of olive oil and gently massage the paste on you face for a gentle and quick exfoliator. For extra moisture, you can add a few drops of organic almond or sunflower seed oil.
Combine a tablespoon of olive oil with a pinch of turmeric and apply the paste on your face. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then wash it off thoroughly. Turmeric is very popular within the beauty community for its anti-inflammatory and brightening properties, which is why this mask would work well for people who suffer from hyperpigmentation.
Sea salt is an amazing exfoliating option since it removes dead skin cells and regenerates the skin. This scrub works for both face and body. Mix 60 ml of olive oil with 80 grams of pure sea salt. Gently massage it on the area you wish to treat for 3-4 minutes. Rinse carefully with lukewarm water. Your skin will be softer and more hydrated as a result.
We’ve already discussed the realistic outcomes of using olive oil as an acne treatment, but can it work differently for acne scars?
Acne scars are a frustrating side-effect of acne. The treatment for scarring and hyperpigmentation is usually longer than the treatment for acne, which is why it makes people impatient for quick solutions. Unfortunately, so far it hasn’t been proven that olive oil has any benefits in terms of removing acne scars and hyperpigmentation. If your scarring is severe, the best option would be to visit a dermatologist. There are a few treatment options such as chemical peels and lasers that can improve the condition. Others might find some over-the-counter products containing Retin-A helpful.
Although not dangerous to try, olive oil isn’t the best treatment option out there for acne treatment. Many people have an intolerance to added oils in cosmetic products, so if you’re one of them you might want to skip this one.
Some people with normal or dry skin might benefit from adding olive oil in their skincare routine. If you have acne-prone or oily skin, you should definitely be careful with this option and try incorporating it in your daily skin care slowly and gradually. Start by testing it out on your arms or legs, and eventually, if you’re satisfied with the results, work your way up to your face. If you don’t see any irritation roughly 24 hours after you apply it, it means that it probably won’t cause any further irritation.
It goes without saying that if you are allergic to olive oil you should sit this one out. Instead, try using other non-comedogenic oils such as almond, rosehip, sunflower or castor oil.
Remember, everyone reacts differently to every topical acne treatment. Olive oil is an amazing option for a salad dressing, but when it comes to acne, it shouldn’t be your first choice.