Olive oil has been used as a skin treatment for thousands of years. The Ancient Greeks, for example, bathed in olive oil to achieve healthy, glowing skin. However, did you know that olive oil skin treatments not only nourish and moisturize your skin, but they also help to protect and heal it from sun damage? Research even suggests that regular olive oil skin treatments can help to prevent skin cancer.
Olive Oil And The Fight Against Skin Cancer
One of the reasons that olive oil skin treatment is so effective is because olive oil is loaded with antioxidants. These antioxidants protect your skin by neutralizing damaging materials that can lead to skin damage, skin aging, and even cancer. Antioxidants are in fact world renowned for their cancer fighting properties. Olive oil also contains polyphenolic compounds and squalene, which further contribute to its cancer preventing powers. Both have been shown to have anti-cancer affects in scientific research.
In 2000, a Japanese study suggested that the topical application of olive oil could help to prevent skin cancer. The researchers applied extra-virgin olive oil to the skin of hairless mice both before and after UVB exposure. UVB is one of the ultraviolet ray types emitted by the sun that causes skin damage. UV rays damage the skin by destroying cell DNA, which leads to mutations. UV rays also induce immunosuppression, which can cause tumor growth. UVB, specifically, which has a wave length of between 290 nm and 320 nm, is a primary causal factor of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Overall, the study showed that the antioxidants in olive oil helped to prevent and heal UVB-related skin damage. The mice that were treated with olive oil after UVB exposure developed fewer tumors than the group that was not treated with oil after UVB exposure. Interestingly, the study also proved that these effects are unique to olive oil. When the researchers applied camellia oil to the mice before and after UVB exposure it did not decrease the number of tumors that the mice developed. The full research report, which was published in the Oxford Journal “Carcinogenesis,” can be found here: http://carcin.oxfordjournals.org/content/21/11/2085.full
Of course, when it comes to your skin and the sun you always want to take protective measures. The study is careful to point out that olive oil does not have sunscreen like effects. So if you’re going to be spending a day at the beach it is probably a good idea to bring along a wide brimmed hat and some sunblock. However, integrating olive oil into your daily skincare routine can certainly be of additional benefit, helping to heal your skin from UV-induced damage.
Ideas For Olive Oil Skin Treatments
If you are interested in an olive oil skin treatment, there are several different ways olive oil can be used on the skin. After getting out of the shower you can massage your entire body with olive oil for soft, glowing skin. Simply rub a few tablespoons of olive oil into a washcloth and rub your entire body. Alternatively, you can also add a cup of olive oil to a warm bath. This olive oil skin treatment is also very relaxing and soothing. Overall, there are a variety of different ways to integrate an olive oil skin treatment into your skin care routine. All help to promote healthy skin, while preventing and repairing UV-related skin damage.