Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Dermatology Blog Says that Olive Oil Good for Skin and Flax Seed Oil Even Better!

Since I began my little olive oil as face wash and moisturizer experiment I've gotten everything from "why"? to "great idea"!, but I haven't had any one with a dermatology background agree that it's a good idea or even green light it as being not harmful. Today, however, I found just the article posted on The Dermatology Blog, written by Dr. Benabio. He says that olive oil is beneficial to your skin, and recommends flax seed oil as an alternative. So, without further ado, here's the professional advice I offer as evidence to support my sanity:

Flax Seed Oil and Your Skin

Flax oil or flaxseed oil is derived from the pretty, blue-flowering flax plant. The oil, obtained from processing the seeds, is high in omega 3 fatty acids, especially alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for normal skin and body function, but they are not produced naturally by your body.

The only way to get omega 3 fatty acids is from your diet. You can add flax oil as a dressing in salads, as a substitute for other oils (except in cooking, since flaxseed oil breaks down quickly when heated), or even take a tablespoon in a healthy smoothie. Flax seed flour, which is also high in omega 3s, can be added to muffin or pancake mixes or even sprinkled on cereal. You can also buy flax seed supplements.

Foods high in omega 3s help your skin protect itself by increasing natural oils that your skin secretes on the surface. These fats and oils are critical for keeping your skin soft, protecting it from irritants and preventing it from drying out.

But will it make me look younger?

Ah, the question most people want answered: maybe. According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who consumed the most linoleic acid had the youngest-looking skin among 40-74 year-olds.

Like vitamin C and olive oil, flax oil has benefits not only from eating it, but also from applying it directly to your skin. When smoothed on your skin, flax oil can help lock in moisture and prevent water loss through the skin. Applying it can also improve your skin’s dry dull appearance and even improve the appearance of fine lines, both of which certainly make you appear younger.

As an added benefit, omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, which help minimize redness and skin irritation. There is evidence that omega-3s can improve chronic skin conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), rosacea, acne, and psoriasis, but only preliminary studies have been done. Omega 3s have been shown to aid in wound healing as well. There is even some evidence that flax seed oil might protect against ultraviolet light (sun) damage and can help protect you against skin cancer.

What to look for when buying flax seed oil:

Because flax seed oil is easily oxidized, which diminishes its antioxidant capabilities, it is important that you find flax oil that is

  • in a dark container
  • protected from light
  • vacuum sealed when you buy it
  • stored in the refrigerator after opening it

What about cold pressed oil? This is controversial. There is no standard for labeling an oil “cold pressed.” Heat and/or high pressure is needed to extract the oil from the seeds. Oil that is labeled as cold pressed and sold in the refrigerator section is certain to be a lot more expensive but not necessarily more effective. As soon as the oil is exposed to air and light, it begins to break down, anyway. So save your money.

Post written by Jeffrey Benabio, MD.


  1. I have recently read that one of the components contained in olive oil, squalene, is a potent moisturizer which is quickly absorbed into the skin. And I have a friend who takes a couple of teaspoons of olive oil each morning for her hair. She is convinced that it is the olive oil that gives her a gorgeous mane of shiney hair. Don't get me wrong, I love flaxseed oil. I do use it in my smoothies for that added kick of nutrition. But nothing beats olive oil for its many, many benefits. Not to mention taste!!!

  2. Not to mention taste!!!

  3. I have long been convinced that we should only be cooking/eating olive oil, as opposed to most other common types of cooking oils. I also can see why you can't use flax seed oil for cooking (if you want to retain it's beneficial qualities), but it seems to me that consumption of flax seed oil is more beneficial to your skin than olive oil. Is this correct, or is it that you need both in your diet?

  4. noted. will this work for any skin type? i have a very oily skin so i have to be sure that what i'm applying on my skin won't cause me acne.

  5. I had not heard of flax seed oil OR olive oil for skin care. I am going to try it myself! I have problems retaining moisture in my skin, especially in the wintertime, and this may just do the trick.

  6. This is much better than using the "doctor recommended" steroid cream for my skin conditions. Much healthier and with no side effects. Unfortunately my son has inherited my eczema skin and since he is only 5 months old, this is great! Thanks for the advice.

    1. I have also recently had excellent luck personally with jojoba oil. I now use 2-3 drops of jojoba oil each day to moisturize and a small amount of Dr. Bronner's Rose olive oil soap for washing. I have not had any breakouts, dry patches, clogged pores or oily skin since I started using this updated regimine in the last 6 months.


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