Extra virgin olive oil is the best buy for treating dry skin (xeroderma) conditions.
Olive oil for dry outer skin (stratum corneum)
Mechanism of action of olive oil on the dry skinAs an emollient it has three basic actions of occlusion, humectation and lubrication on the dry epidermis.
Its Occlusive action of providing a fine layer of oil on the surface, makes skin air and water tight.
Occlusion slows down loss of moisture from the epidermis and helps in increasing the moisture content (hydration) of the outermost skin layer, stratum corneum.
Its humectation action is due to its hygroscopic (moisture absorbing) properties.
It penetrates deep into epidermis and increases its capacity of holding water.
Its lubrication action causes the dry skin to glide and slip, preventing 'chafing'. The above actions treat dry skin, improving its texture and tone.
Now let us look at its bio-chemical part of action on dry skin.
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols, natural antioxidants.
Our skin, being exposed to sun and external elements continuously, is robbed of its natural sebum.
Further the free radicals formed due to exposure to sunlight cause damage to the stratum corneum and reduce the function of the sebaceous glands.
When olive oil is applied it penetrates the skin and the antioxidant polyphenols present in it neutralize the free-radicals; thus the sebaceous glands get reactivated and sebum production becomes normal.
Olive oil treatments for dry skin
- Extra virgin olive oil is best applied as such on the dry skin to rehydrate it and also to lock in moisture.
Clean the affected area with warm water and mild neutral or low pH soap to remove dead debris and grime.
Dab it with soft towel and immediately rub the oil gently on to the skin.
The rubbing movement is to get it deeper into the skin and to stimulate the cells for their normal functions.
Do not rub hard as this may further damage the already delicate dry stratum corneum; further the pores may get closed causing more problems.
- Alternatively you can make its cleanser with other ingredients. Blend one egg yolk, one table spoon of olive oil and a few drops of essential oil of your choice. After applying wait for 15 minutes and wash with warm water. After dabbing gently, take a few drops of extra virgin oil in your palm and rub gently on to the skin to lock in moisture.
- You can also blend it with other well known moisturizers like shea butter in equal proportions for enhancing the hydration of the stratum corneum. The blend is applied after washing and dabbing the troubling dry skin.
- This olive extract can also be blended with one fourth volume of castor oil.
Castor oil is known for its deep penetrating action due to its low molecular mass.
This blend delivers the olive oil deep into the epidermis and helps in its hydration.
The method of application is similar to the first mentioned one. You can also add a teaspoon of honey to the above blend, as honey, being highly hygroscopic, along with olive oil acts as an excellent humectant hydrating the skin.
- Alternatively you can use commercial products of well known brands containing extra virgin olive oil, like shampoos, exfoliators, cleansers, toners, moisturizers, night creams, body butter and bathoil to improve the dry epidermis condition.