You already may be aware of the many health benefits of olive oil for the body. The World's Healthiest Foods reports that it helps improve insulin sensitivity, which makes it an excellent tool in managing diabetes, helps prevent high blood pressure and heart disease and raises HDL (good) cholesterol levels. While it does wonderful things for the inside of our bodies, olive oil also benefits the outside.
Olive Oil's Effectiveness
There are vital antioxidants and nutrients in olive oil that make it beneficial for the skin. The antioxidant vitamin E protects the skin from damage, particularly from the sun's UV rays, and is listed in the January 2004 issue of the "Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology" as a functional agent that can prevent and help treat wrinkles. Up to 80 percent of the content of olive oil is oleic acid. Oleic acid is the component in the oil that is believed to contribute to its health benefits. Oleic acid has another advantage when used topically, however. The April 23, 2002, "Journal of Controlled Release" states that oleic acid has the ability to effectively penetrate the skin, and is used as an enhancer for some topical products when they need to better permeate the skin's layer. Olive oil, when applied to the skin, penetrates the layers, effectively delivering vitamin E to the skin's cells as well.
Used on Skin
To use olive oil to help reduce the wrinkles around your eyes, purchase some cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil. The World's Healthiest Foods encyclopedia explains that "cold pressed" means that minimal heat was used when extracting the oil from the olives, and "extra-virgin" also indicates that there was less processing involved, and therefore the oil contains more phytonutrients. Every morning and every evening, use your fingers to gently massage the olive oil into the skin around your eyes. This is a very delicate area, and you can damage and stretch the skin very easily, so it is imperative that you do not tug or pull on your skin when applying the olive oil.
Used on Food
Topical application is not the only way to receive olive oil's benefits for fighting wrinkles. Make olive oil a regular part of your diet. A study in the February 2001 issue of the "Journal of the American College of Nutrition" shows that a diet high in olive oil protects against skin damage and subsequent wrinkles, particularly in sun-exposed areas of skin, such as around the eyes. Use olive oil as a salad topping or drizzle it over vegetables in place of butter. You'll not only prevent wrinkles, but you may prevent a number of health issues as well.
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A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."