Olive oil is a great component in a heart-healthy salad dressing, but its benefits don't end there. Since ancient times, people have taken advantage of the skin-softening benefits of this miracle oil. When blended with lye to make a soap, olive oil contributes to smoother, more elastic skin.
Olive oil soap cleans your skin without stripping away the natural oils -- so you don't end up dry and flaky after it's use. Olive oil also allows the skin to sweat and shed cells naturally; commercial soaps that contain synthetic cleaners and fragrances can block your pores and cause irritation. Glycerin, a byproduct of the soap-making process, is retained in most natural olive oil soaps. Glycerin is highly moisturizing -- it actually absorbs water from the air. Commercial soap producers usually remove the glycerin from their products to use for other purposes.
Olive oil soap is hypoallergenic, so you are less likely to experience an allergic reaction when using it. A 2008 publication of "Pediatric Dermatology" found that olive oil was a suitable ingredient in creams used on pre-term infants. If it's safe for the skin of these newborns, it is likely to be gentle on your sensitive skin. Most olive oil soap contains only natural ingredients, as opposed to many other soaps that contain sodium laurel sulfate, a known skin irritant and potential toxin.
You encounter free radicals every day as you expose yourself to food, pollution, pesticides and chemical beauty products. These free radicals damage cells, potentially causing disease and accelerating aging. Olive oil is a natural source of the antioxidants vitamins E and A, which fight free radicals -- and the benefits are there regardless of whether the oil is ingested or rubbed into the skin in the form of soap. Olive oil also contains oleocanthal, a compound touted for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Inflammation in the body can compromise your immune system and put you at risk for illness and disease, including chronic skin rashes, heart disease and digestive problems.
Long Lasting, Lightly Scented and Vegan
Olive oil soaps offer a pleasant, fruity aroma, rather than an overtly perfumed scent that can irritate sensitive noses. Soap made with olive oil is hard and lathers minimally, so the bars tend to last a long time and you get a lot of use out of your investment. Many commercial soaps are made with animal fats, rather than plant oils. Olive oil soap uses plant products, making it appropriate for people who wish to avoid using animal products.