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Olive Oil Soap: A Centuries-Old Beauty Secret

Olive Oil Soap: A Centuries-Old Beauty Secret
Olive oil soap is a miracle beauty product... And it has been around for as long as soap has existed! The benefits of olive oil are not just in nutrition. Your heart-healthy dressing component can also do wonders for your complexion. Olive oil soap is one of the best ways to achieve healthy and smooth skin, as well as prevent common issues like body acne and dry flaky skin!

The History Of Olive Oil Soap

The history of olive oil soap might as well be a history of soap itself. Greeks used to love the stuff! They would smear olive oil all over their bodies and then exfoliate with fine sand. This helped take off the dirt and dead skin cells. They would then scrape off the mixture with a "strigil", a sort of scraper. From Greece and the Middle East, olive oil soap spread to Italy. During Roman times, personal hygiene was raised to a pedestal. Romans weren't big on curing disease - they prefer prevention over treatment. Roman baths were at the heart of city life - they were a place to socialize and discuss important topics. Legend has it that Romans were the first to discover soap. The word soap itself comes from Mount Sapo, near the Tíber river in Rome. On the side of the mountain, they saw rainwater bring together ash and animal fat. Ash naturally contains lye so a reaction of saponification followed. Of course, we now know that Egyptians also used soap. There are even frescoes from their pyramids of women using soap. What is yet unsure is what fat they used to prepare the soap. Olive oil seems to be a solid contestant. It might have even been one of Cleopatra's beauty secrets!

What Is In Olive Oil?

Before we get into the benefits of olive oil soap, let's talk about olive oil itself. Not all plant oils were created the same. Extra virgin olive oil is extremely rich in antioxidants and it is also full of fat-soluble vitamins. Olive oil is the main source of dietary fat in the Mediterranean diet. You might have heard that people from the Mediterranean region suffer cardiovascular disease and die from heart problems much less often. When compared to other parts of the world, the Mediterranean diet is the only one that has been shown to reduce the risk of hypertension, stroke, and hyperlipidemia. Yes, consuming this source of fat actually reduces the fat levels in your blood! Scientists are still unsure of how exactly olive oil does that. One of the theories suggests that by reducing inflammation, olive oil protects your cells and slows down ageing. This includes skin cells, too. By incorporating olive oil into your diet and beauty routine, you are well on your way toward a healthier, glowing complexion.

Why Make Olive Oil Soap?

It makes sense that the Greeks used olive oil for their soap. It was the most readily available oil! But why would we keep using olive oil for soap making? There are tons of benefits, that is why! Olive oil soap is one of the best natural approaches to dry skin. It is known to be deeply moisturising and nourishing. When you use it over irritated skin, it can help soothe some of the inflammation. Because the olive oil soap doesn't interfere with your skin pH levels, it doesn't disrupt normal skin physiology. Olive oil body washes are ideal for people with irritable skin or certain conditions like eczema. This is because olive oil produces the mildest of all soaps. It doesn't contain common irritants like petroleum oil or animal fats. Olive oil soap is pretty much the superhero of all soaps!

Can You Use Olive Oil On Your Face?

Since olive oil is so mild, many women ask: Can I use it on my face?  The answer is: yes and no. While olive oil on its' own is very skin-friendly, soaps, in general, are not recommended for all skin types. You have to understand that the skin on your face is simultaneously the most vulnerable (because it is the thinnest) and the most often exposed to harmful factors. Our face is out 365 days of the year. If you live in an urban area, along with UV rays you are exposed to pollution. If you want to avoid acne, you need a powerful cleanser that is both mild and effective. This is where olive oil is the most useful. If you have normal, non-irritable skin, you can use olive oil soap on your face perfectly well. Try to opt for a liquid soap formula. Liquid soaps don't contain sodium and they are much less harsh. If you also choose a fragrance-free formula, you are pretty much safe from the irritants olive oil soap can contain. Bear in mind that if your skin is dry, irritable, or prone to flaking, this is not a good option for you. Another way to use olive oil for beauty in these cases would be the oil cleansing method. Basically, you gently massage olive oil into your skin and then wipe the excess off with a warm clean towel. While it sounds counter-intuitive to be cleaning your face with oil, it works surprisingly well for sensitive skin. If you're like me and you have the worst combo - sensitive AND acne-prone, you would greatly benefit from this method. Putting oil on your face helps dissolve the dirt that has built up in your sebum. Oil penetrates your skin much better and it gives you an irritation-free deep cleanse that is nearly impossible to achieve otherwise.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Soap?

There are different grades of olive oil. The main difference between is the acidity, as well as the processing techniques. Extra virgin olive oil is the best type to use for cooking. It's much more expensive but well worth it in terms of benefits. Some olive oil soap brands specify that they only use the highest grade of extra virgin olive oil for their products. This is the ideal case... But it makes the product much pricier! Since all olive oil grades have a similar fatty acid makeup, using a lower grade still yields pretty much the same soap. If you insist on buying extra virgin olive oil soap look out for the color. Pomace oil is the lowest grade of olive oil (actually, it doesn't even get to be called olive oil because it comes from the final 'scraps' of the olive processing). Pomace has a distinct greenish colour. When soap makers use it, it comes through in the final product as a darker hue.

As a rule of thumb, the lighter coloured the soap is, the better quality olive oil has been used.

The Top Benefits Of Olive Oil Soap

Now that we've cleared some of the history and science behind olive oil soap, let's look at the main perk of using it. By incorporating olive oil into your beauty routine, you will be reaping all of these benefits!

Moisture, Moisture, Moisture

Winter is officially here and this means it's dry skin season again. The colder weather makes you naturally more prone to flaking and that is neither pretty nor comfortable. Olive oil soap is a gentle enough cleanser to not strip your natural oils. It allows sebum, sweat, and skin shedding to continue as usual. This is perfect for the colder months where all the layers you wear can literally smother your skin. Olive oil based soaps will not clog your pores or otherwise interfere with normal skin function. Buy a natural olive oil soap - they are rich in glycerin. Glycerin is a by-product of the saponification reaction and it's one of the most moisturizing substances you can put on your skin. Most cosmetics brands put it in face creams and body lotions but remove it from soaps. Natural olive oil soap retains the glycerin, which makes the soap even better at moisturizing!

It Keeps Your Skin Youthful

Free radicals are all around us. These highly reactive chemicals actively damage cells down to the molecular level. They are potentially cancer-causing and they definitely accelerate ageing. Antioxidants can pick up these harmful radicals and neutralize their negative effect. Olive oil is very rich in antioxidants - it's actually one of the best plant sources of these miraculous little compounds! Both vitamins E and A, as well as the mono and polyunsaturated fats, act as antioxidants. By applying olive oil to your face, whether pure, in the form of a face cream, or as a soap, you protect your skin from oxidative damage. In short: Olive oil stops skin ageing down to the DNA level!

No Allergies With Olive Oil Soap

Olive oil is a perfect base for a hypoallergenic soap. Paediatricians even recommend olive oil for pre-term babies. Because olive oil soaps are based on a gentle and sensitive-skin friendly ingredient, they are perfect for children and allergy-prone alike. Look for brands with low sodium laurel sulfate levels. If it's one of the first ingredients listed on the packaging, choose a different brand. Little to no sodium laurel sulfate plus the soothing benefits of olive oil make for the perfect hypoallergic product!

Olive Oil Soap: In Conclusion

There are so many perks of switching to natural olive oil soap... And I surely didn't mention all of them! But the bottom line here is clear: you can reap tons of benefits by incorporating it in your beauty routine. Look for a natural brand and see as your skin begins to glow!
Buy premium olive oil from Selo Oils here.

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