Written by Clifford Roberts; Photography Johan Viljoen
Our centuries-old pursuit of beauty and health inevitably led to questions like, is olive oil good for the skin? It never gets old because the technology that powers scientific knowledge continues to evolve and drive greater insight.
These days, even by products of olive oil production like leaves and pips or stones are the subject of study regarding potential medical and cosmetic benefits. The humble olive has indeed provided us with much sustenance, delivered by farming communities like the Swartland.
But before discovering if olive oil is good for the skin, it’s helpful to know a little more about olives and oil.
What is olive oil?
Early humans were quick to discover the usefulness of liquid fat extracted from plants. They discovered that olives can be crushed and pressed to release their oil.
Right from the beginning it was used in cooking and for fuel in lamps. But they also answered the question is olive oil good for the skin, for themselves. Giving our outer layer a smearing of olive oil became a practice originally sustained by aesthetic perceptions and beliefs of its benefits.
Its popularity rose so much, it became known as liquid gold – a commodity of great worth.
How much olive oil is produced?
Today, some 3,5 million tons of olive oil is produced per year, with the majority coming from trees around the Mediterranean. Where the plants thrive elsewhere, are locations with similar climate and soils.
Farming methods differ, but many place great value in preserving the natural integrity of fruit thanks to organic practices. Harvested groves vary in size, from small to larger operations.
The main uses of olive oil are still cooking, where olive oil and indeed olives are employed for all kinds of delicacies, and aesthetics. Where the latter is concerned, even some farms have their own ranges.
In fact, the humble olive is even the centre of attraction at events and festivals.
Is olive oil good for the skin?
It remains broadly accepted that olive oil is highly beneficial when ingested due to the presence of large quantities of health-promoting compounds. This is supported by ever increasing scientific study.
Many of its chemical constituents however also appear in skin and haircare products promoted by the cosmetics industry.
Resolving the question is olive oil good for the skin remains the subject of research. Many swear by its effectiveness. Whatever the long-term result shows, producers always advise using quality oils from reputable companies and testing oil or any cosmetic product on your skin before full-scale application.
Click HERE to read more about the olive producers in the Swartland.