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What Are the Pros and Cons of Using Olive Oil for Dry Skin?

By Christina Edwards
Updated May 21, 2024
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Extra virgin olive oil is a type of oil obtained from olives. Although it is normally used in cooking, some individuals use the oil as a dry skin remedy. It is very moisturizing, much less expensive than some commercial dry skin moisturizers, and typically lasts longer too. Additionally, it contains no dyes or fragrances, but the raw smell of the olive oil may be too much for some people to stand. It may also may some people's skin oily and possibly clog the pores.

Its excellent moisturizing properties are among the biggest benefits of using olive oil for dry skin. This cooking oil contains antioxidants needed to help protect skin, as well as emollients to help keep skin smooth and supple. Applying a few drops of olive oil to dry skin can treat and prevent scaly, flaking skin.

Compared to some other commercial moisturizers and oils for dry skin, olive oil is much more economical. Some commercial products for dry skin can be expensive, and olive oil typically costs much less. It usually takes a smaller amount of olive oil to treat dry skin as well, and it will also last much longer.

Besides using olive oil for dry skin, many individuals have found that it can replace some other commercial products as well. Using it as shaving cream, for instance, can help the blade of the razor glide more easily over the skin, resulting in a closer shave and fewer nicks. Warm olive oil can be applied to the hair to help restore brittle locks, before being shampooed off. It can also be used to remove paint from hair and clean greasy hands.

Many individuals who have dry and sensitive skin also find that olive oil works better than commercial other products. This is because olive oil is a natural substance, and it does not contain many of the dyes and fragrances of typical commercial skin moisturizers.

Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, has a very distinct smell that may not appeal to some users. This smell is not necessarily unpleasant, but to many, it does not have the pleasant smell of most perfumes.

It's also best if olive oil is only used by people with very dry skin. Individuals with naturally oily skin may find their skin is even more greasy after applying olive oil. It may also clog pores, causing pimples or blackheads.

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Discussion Comments

By anon997239 — On Dec 01, 2016

Olive oil is drying, and that's why using it on acne makes your skin oily. Your skin is producing oil in response to being made dry. Simple.

By anon991403 — On Jun 18, 2015

I moved from soaps onto olive oil (for showers - not for hand-washing!) and it's done wonders for my skin! No more dry patches on my arms/etc. Hasn't stopped my acne entirely but it's definitely much less of an issue for me now, and I think it's slowly getting better.

Using my fingernails instead of a loofa/etc to scratch problem-prone skin seems to have helped a lot too: Takes a bit longer, but it's much easier to make sure I don't overdo it and cause more harm than good!

By Cochise — On Oct 21, 2013

Olive oil won't clog your pores because of its regenerative properties. So it actually helps shrink pores. Other oils that don't have regenerative properties will obviously clog them.

By anon320128 — On Feb 16, 2013

Pimples, cysts, zits, blackheads, whiteheads -- these are a result of several different factors including hormones, bacteria, dead skin cells and the buildup of these factors. It's not from putting olive oil on the face. As a matter a fact, it balances your natural oil, which helps prevent these things and it can be a partner in cleansing your face of said impurities. You need to give it three weeks.

Cosmetic companies have been telling us for years that only their products work, when in fact, their products have been stripping away essentials and creating more problems. There are a lot of resources and testimonies supporting this. There are even blogs out there where the blogger experiments on herself and her readers do as well and then report the findings.

Personally for years, I feared oil near my face because of cosmetic and acne companies' claims. I'm that person who, if you looked at my face wrong. I would break out. I would use the strongest over the counter meds and cosmetics that were the least invasive/most sensitive to cover up.

Recently, I had a chance that I would try oils. I'm in a situation at the moment where it really doesn't matter what I look like, so what the heck? Well, to my surprise, oils didn't make me look like a 13 year old boy in puberty! Sometimes my face looks better and any zits I do have go away faster. So I keep at it.

Find other oils. Not all oils are the same. As for extra virgin olive oil, do use it sparingly and it is safe for all types of faces.

By turquoise — On Feb 29, 2012

I have combination skin and unfortunately olive oil didn't work for me. It caused my face to produce even more oil and I started breaking out.

Some people told me that I should stick with it for longer and see what happens. They say that at first, the skin produces a lot of oil because that's what it's used to doing. But after continued use of olive oil, it's supposed to cease and balance out.

That might be true, but I didn't have the patience to follow up with it. I freaked out when I woke up with numerous white heads appearing and stopped using it. I do have a friend who swears by olive oil for hair though.

By serenesurface — On Feb 28, 2012

@burcidi-- I've heard about that method although I've never tried it. Thanks for reminding me, I'm going to give it a try!

Olive oil must be one of the best moisturizers for dry skin. I use olive oil to moisturize dry patches like my elbows, knuckles and knees. I just rub it on and let it soak into my skin for several minutes before I wipe it off with a wet towel. It works really well, much better than any lotion! I've also used it on my lips and around my mouth during winter months in the same way.

My sister has dry skin too and she uses olive oil as a tanning lotion on the beach. She says that the olive oil makes her tan evenly and doesn't dry her skin. Isn't that a fab idea? I can't imagine sitting on the beach covered in olive oil though. I would feel like the sun is cooking me! But she likes it.

By burcidi — On Feb 28, 2012

I don't use olive oil as a moisturizer because of several reasons. I'm afraid that it will clog my pores and I don't want my face to have a shiny appearance. The scent is not too great either as the article said.

I do however use olive oil as a cleanser every week. It's a great way to clean skin without drying it out. This is an issue for me with soap based cleansers. My skin is dry and it becomes terribly tight and flaky if I cleanse with soaps.

Instead, I use olive oil and and massage it into my face for several minutes in circular motions. It works really well, it removes dirt, makeup and even clears out clogged pores. It's also very hydrating. My skin feels baby soft after I wash it off and looks so bright and supple the next day.

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