Olive Oil in Natural Soaps
Olive oil has been used by humans for thousands of years as a culinary oil and for cleansing and skincare. Olive oil was a valuable medicine in the hands of ancient doctors. Ancient Greek texts mention 60 different conditions which could be treated with it, such as skin conditions, wounds and burns, gynaecological ailments, ear infections and many others. Olive oil has a long history of being used as a home remedy for skincare. Egyptians used it alongside beeswax as a cleanser, moisturiser, and antibacterial treatment. Archaeological finds proving that the Minoans used olive oil in their daily lives are found everywhere in Crete. The Minoans used olive oil in their diet, as a cleanser instead of soap, as the base for scents and ointments, as a medicine, in tanning, for lighting and to protect delicate surfaces.
Olive oil is, of course, now best known for many uses in cooking and its place in a healthy diet. Supermarket shelves are lined with hundreds of oil bottles containing different brands with different origins and different extraction methods. Adding olive oil to food is known to reduce risk factors of coronary heart disease, prevent some types of cancer and improve the body’s immune and inflammatory responses. Eating olive oil helps the body produce compounds which keep the skin moist, smooth and firm and help fight cell degeneration.
People are recognising once again that olive oil is one of the best beauty secrets. Olive oil is found in shampoos, soaps, face powders, scrubs, hair conditioners, lipsticks, anti-wrinkle lotions, moisturisers, eye make-up remover, cuticle & nail treatments and even eyelash oils. Used on skin olive oil helps keeps skin moist, smooth and soft; extra virgin olive oil has the added advantage of containing strong antioxidants, making it a natural anti-ageing ingredient. These antioxidants help fight off free radicals which attack cells and speed up the ageing process.
Olive oil has long been recognised as an excellent base oil for natural soaps, its health benefits being preserved when soap is made using the cold process where lye is allowed to work slowly and naturally to convert the oils to soap. Olive oil soap is extremely mild and cleanses skin gently without stripping away natural oils. The natural process of manufacture retains glycerine so the soap moisturises as it cleans. Pure olive oil soaps and soaps made with a mixture of olive oil and natural oils such as coconut and castor oil are hypoallergenic and safe for people with sensitive skins including infants. Olive oil produces a lightly scented soap that is hard and lathers minimally so the soap is long lasting and non-irritant.
Olive oils soaps are available with many added natural ingredients to improve lathering, speed curing, add scent or skin nourishing qualities to the soap. As long as it is a pure natural soap made with natural oils and no added chemicals or preservatives the qualities of the olive oil, long recognised by people all over the world, should remain and give you a reliably gentle, moisturising, skin enhancing soap.