Some time ago, I reported the discovery that olive oil can be used in place of expensive facial cleanser. Not only does it clean one’s face without leaving an oily film or making the user smell like salad dressing, for me it relieved an itchy spot that defied all the training and genius of two Mayo Clinic dermatologists. Five months later, here’s an update.
Since last November, I’ve been cleaning my face once or, more usually, twice a day by massaging in a little of Costco’s extra-virgin olive oil, laying a warm washcloth over my face to gently “steam” the skin, and then wiping the oil off well with the warm cloth. Then I apply a little Cetaphil as a conditioning cream. Before starting this beauty regimen, I had always washed my face with a mild soap such as Ivory and conditioned with Cetaphil or a similar drugstore-style moisturizer.
Lately I’ve noticed that my complexion is a lot more supple, soft, and healthy-looking that it used to be. Apparently regular, long-term use of olive oil to clean and condition your skin works to good effect. Over the past few years, I’ve watched my cheeks turn into something that looked like an old, dried-out leather purse, no doubt the result of spending all my life in the subtropics and growing up in an era when a deep tan was admired as a sign of good health. Although my skin is certainly not wrinkle-free now—nor, at my age, should it be—those fine networks of sun damage are almost unnoticeable, and I can go out in public makeup-free without frightening small children.
Now, here’s the weird part: despite all the stress I’ve been under, my appearance has not gone to Hell. Normally, chronic insomnia makes me look like the Wrath of God. But…
The night after I was told our office would be closed and my entire staff canned, I did not sleep at all. Not one wink. Didn’t go to bed until 4:30; lay awake until 5:30; got up and went back to work. Since then, most nights I’ve had about three or four hours of sleep. Last night and the night before, after my financial advisor demonstrated that my savings will come fairly close to supporting me despite the devastation of the Bush economy, were the first decent nights’ sleep I’ve had since March 26, when this episode started—over two weeks ago.
Even during the worst of this period, my face has looked hydrated, reasonably fresh, and well toned. No dark circles lurked under the eyes, and the color looked pretty normal, not the fish-belly gray one would expect. Don’t know what the explanation for this really is. All I know is the only thing I’m doing differently from what I’ve done during other high-stress periods is using olive oil on my face.
Yeah, I know: anecdotal evidence! Worse yet, post hoc, ergo propter hoc! But something’s working. In the absence of any other change, the olive oil treatment is a likely cause.
Adventures in Olive Oil