7 Best Benefits of Olive Oil for Skin

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The use of olive oil for skin dates back thousands of years, and even when compared to modern cosmetic products, it delivers an impressive amount of health benefits.

Olive Oil

Olive oil is perhaps the most popular vegetable oil in the world, not only because it provides such a delightful flavor to foods, but also because of its unique nutrient composition, and consequent health benefits. The idea of putting oil on the skin is difficult for some people to understand, as oily skin is commonly thought of as a bad thing. However, the volatile oils, organic acids, antioxidants, and fats in this oil can be extremely beneficial. Around the world, olive oil is regularly used for the skin, and it has been verified by countless research studies over the years.

A woman with bare shoulders, smiling while touching an oil bottle

Olive oil is packed with anti-aging antioxidants. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Olive oils are categorized depending on their processing techniques, so it is important to understand what type you are using if you are trying to enjoy certain benefits. Extra virgins olive oil, for example, is one of the best options, considering that it undergoes very little processing and is considered “pure”, without exposure to any additives, bleaches or other chemicals. Using olive oil for skin can also come in many forms. You can apply it directly to areas of inflammation, or you can blend it with other carrier oils or essential oils. Olive oil can be included in natural cosmetic products, such as creams and moisturizers, or used in the face or hair masks. Thanks to the rejuvenating, moisturizing, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties of this oil, it remains one of the most popular natural remedies for a wide range of skin conditions. [1]

Benefits of Olive Oil for Skin

Due to the anti-aging antioxidants found in olive oil, it helps in boosting skin tone and complexion, eliminate wrinkles and age spots, and smoothen the skin, among others.

Wrinkles and Age Spots

The polyphenolic compounds found within olives are also found in olive oil, which can help to reduce oxidative stress in the body, the same type of chronic inflammation that can cause wrinkles and age spots. When these antioxidants seek out and neutralize free radicals, they can help you look and feel young, while also tightening the skin and increasing elasticity. [2]


Olive oil is known as a great moisturizer, because it can penetrate deep into the skin, delivering important nutrients like vitamin E and A to the layers of skin cells that need it most. This can keep your skin balanced in terms of moisture, and make your skin feel and look healthier. [3]

Skin Tone and Complexion

The color of your skin and the evenness of your complexion can be affected by olive oil, so regular use is recommended for people who struggle to maintain an even tone. Olive oil can stimulate circulation and the elimination of toxins, generally giving a boost to the overall quality and health of your skin, anywhere on the body. [4]

Eye Makeup Remover

Leaving eye makeup on is an excellent way to invite a breakout or inflammation, but removing eye makeup can be hard, and rather physically rough on the skin. Applying a bit of olive oil with a cotton swab, you can more easily eliminate the makeup, without having to scrub so hard. [5]


The skin is the largest organ in the body and is susceptible to attacks from all sorts of pathogens. By applying olive oil to your skin, the natural antibacterial actions of this oil will help to boost your immune system and keep you safe from a wide variety of pathogens. [6]

Sun Protection

Studies have found that olive oil is able to reduce the damage of the sun’s ultraviolet rays on the skin, combating the oxidative stress and potential cellular mutation. This oil can help to protect against and relieve the impact of a sunburn, which makes it a popular alternative to traditional sunblock. [7]

Shaving Inflammation

Many men and women experience inflammation in sensitive areas of the body after shaving. The application of a small amount of olive oil can quickly soothe discomfort and inflammation, and help to speed the healing process. [8]

Word of Caution: Clearly, there are many benefits of using olive oil for skin, but there are some potential side effects to consider, including a worsened complexion, dry skin, and potential allergic reactions. Basically, while olive oil can help to balance the oil levels in your skin, if you use it too often or leave it on for too long, it can cause blackheads or a breakout of pimples. Furthermore, some people are allergic to olive oil and may experience skin rashes or topical inflammation. You should discontinue using it immediately if you experience these topical symptoms and it is always safe to use it in moderation.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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