Olive oil may be unique among dietary oils for its anti-aging benefits to your skin.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a high-oil diet, but when you do use oil in your food, olive oil may be the best choice for your skin.
Results of a recent large French scientific study showed that the signs of skin photoaging were significantly lower in people who consumed olive oil. The study surveyed almost 3,000 French men and women aged 45-60 and correlated dietary information with photographic ratings of skin photoaging. The study’s investigators removed confounding factors that impact skin aging (such as smoking, sun exposure history, body mass index, menopausal or hormone replacement status, home geographic location, etc.) and olive oil consumption was still correlated with younger looking, less sun-damaged skin. Consumption of dietary fats from animal sources (i.e. dairy and meat) was not associated with this protective phenomenon, nor was consumption of the other most frequently used vegetable oils in the French study population (safflower and peanut oil).
The study’s authors hypothesize that olive oil may be uniquely beneficial to skin because it is rich in polyphenol antioxidants and squalene. Both of these act as antioxidants to help fight oxidative free radical damage. Sun damage of skin is caused by oxidative free radical reactions. The authors note,
Squalene is to a large extent sequestered in the skin (sebum is reported to contain 12%), where it is believed to exert a major protective effect against free radical damage and skin dryness. Polyphenols are also known to be powerful radical scavengers. Both squalene and polyphenols have been assumed to be primarily responsible for the beneficial effects of the Mediterranean diet.
So, the next time you’re about to melt some butter on your green beans or spread butter on a piece of bread, stop. Use olive oil instead. Make it your salad dressing oil too. The polyphenols and squalene may help bolster your skin’s defenses against stray UV rays. Simply substituting olive oil for other dietary oils may give you a slightly better edge over wrinkles, sun spots, and skin cancer – helping to keep your skin healthy and attractive.
Of course, you still need to protect your skin from the outside too by wearing a high-quality, mineral-based, broad spectrum sun screen on your exposed skin 365 days a year. It’s the single most important skin care step for preventing wrinkles, premature skin thinning (solar elastosis), uneven pigment, and skin cancer. Click here to learn more about WHY I believe that zinc oxide is the best sunscreen ingredient for your skin health, and to see the products that I trust.
If your skin is already wrinkling, you can do something about it without resorting to surgical procedures. Learn which products work the best to reduce the appearance of your skin’s fine lines and wrinkles. These products also help boost the collagen in – and health of – your skin. Read my post on What’s The Best Over-The-Counter Wrinkle Cream.
Reference: Latreille J, Kesse-Guyot E, Malvy D, Andreeva V, Galan P, et al. (2012) Dietary Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Intake and Risk of Skin Photoaging. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44490. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044490
Photo: Thanks and Gratitude to USDAgov