An ancient beauty secret
Olive oil has always played an important role in the life of Mediterranean people generally and especially in the life of the Greeks. It has been a main component of their culture since the antiquity. Olive oil has represented a symbol of peace, fertility, purification, power, victory and repentance, and it has been used not only in cooking, but also in tanning, weaving, perfumery, pharmacy, medicine, religion, as well as as a fuel for oil lamps. Thus the olive tree, its fruit and the golden liquid released from the olives has always been a part of the identity of the Greeks, establishing a strong link between the past and the present.
Olive oil as a skin care product
It was only recently that modern cosmetology discovered the benefits of olive oil. However, this “liquid gold”, as Homer called it, was originally used as a cosmetic. The cosmetic use of olive oil was already known during the Mycenaean era (1600-1100 B.C.) and is first attested in Mycenaean Greek forms written in the Linear B syllabic script. During the Homeric age (1100-750 B.C.) athletes ritually rubbed olive oil all over their body and people smeared with it the bodies of dead people. In Homer’s Iliad the Greek goddess Hera anoints herself with an aromatic olive oil, whereas in Homer’s Odyssey the Graces anointed the Greek goddess Aphrodite with salves based on olive oil. We have to mention, that only high quality olive oil was used for skin care. Olive oil became an alimentary product later as an ingredient of most foods and seasonings.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used olive oil for their personal care. They anointed their muscles with olive oil so that they remain elastic. Athletes and people of the higher class anointed themselves with olive oil, so that their body remains clean. Then they removed the oil using a stlengis, a tool with a concave blade, removing at the same time the dust and the sweat from their body. Hannibal, a Punic Carthaginian military commander, knew the benefits of the olive oil for the body, and therefore he commanded his soldiers to eat well and then smear their body with olive oil before the great battle of the Trebia (218 B.C.).
Olive oil is also known for its great therapeutic properties. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, described in the Hippocratic Corpus more than sixty pharmaceutical uses of olive oil, the most prominent being the use for skin conditions as well as for contraception. As of today, the therapeutic properties of olive oil have been scientifically proven and the “liquid gold” is still considered as one of the best natural products for skin care.
Ingredients and properties of olive oil
The benefits of organic extra virgin olive oil for skin care are due to its unique chemical composition. Olive oil:
- is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which protect the cell membrane preventing water loss and the entry of toxins from the skin, and thus keeping the skin healthy and young.
- is rich in vitamins (ascorbic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, B6, A, D, E and K), nourishes the skin and helps it maintain a fresh and healthy glow.
- contains vitamin E, which offers UV protection and acts as an antioxidant for the skin by boosting collagen and elastin production.
- is a source of trace elements (Ca, Fe, K, Na, Zn, Cu, Mn, Se), which are necessary to build tissues and are vital to skin health.
- contains amino-acids, which participate in the synthesis of collagen, elastin and keratin, contributing to the maintenance of normal cellular metabolic activity.
- is rich in squalene, a substance that acts as an antioxidant.
- is rich in tocopherols, which are known as antioxidants and promote collagen and elastin production. Tocopherols help reduce the effects of UV-radiation on the skin.
- is rich in polyphenols, which protect the skin from the free radicals, which are mainly generated under oxidant stress conditions (UV exposure, pollution etc.) and are responsible for skin damage and are related to skin aging.
- contains vitamin K, which improves the elasticity of the skin and helps reduce the wrinkles.
- is rich in chlorophyll, which helps heal scars and wounds, while it prevents dry skin and hair because of its antioxidants.
So, there is no doubt that olive oil can help us maintain a healthy and beautiful skin and prevent aging. Therefore all the products of “the land of Corfu NATURAL PRODUCTS” are based on olive oil.