10 Olive Oil Benefits for Your Skin, Hair and Health

It's a staple of the Mediterranean diet, but olive oil benefits go well beyond your heart. It's packed full of anti-aging antioxidants, making it great for your hair, skin, nails and more.

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Olive oil in vintage bottles and small bowl
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Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis

Believe it or not, there’s a compound in olive oil—oleocanthal—that works similarly to ibuprofen. A study the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that olive oil can reduce inflammation, and could help control pain and inflammation for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.

Of course, check with your doctor before changing your medication regimen.

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scrub with sugar, honey and olive oil

Heal Cracked, Dry Lips

Forget store-bought lip balm. Take advantage of olive oil’s moisturizing properties and make your own at home. To heal seriously cracked or dry lips, make a paste by mixing olive oil and sugar. Rub it on your lips to gently exfoliate them.

To make it even more delicious, add peppermint to the lip scrub!

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Woman washing face (have wide pores) with white foam by her hand.

Exfoliate Your Skin

That same olive oil and sugar scrub you made for your lips also works wonders on the rest of your body. Instead of using soap, rub the paste on your face during your morning shower. It works especially well during the winter, protecting your skin against the cold weather and dry indoor heat. This is the best olive oil to buy, according to the Taste of Home Test Kitchen.

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Beautiful composition with jar of cream on light background
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Protect Against Bacteria

Is there anything olive oil can’t do? Its powerful antibacterial properties make it a great addition to natural remedy salves. Simply combine it with coconut oil, beeswax, essential oils and healing herbs like lavender and chamomile to help heal cuts and burns.

Love using natural products? Check out six ways to upgrade your all-purpose spray so it doesn’t smell like vinegar.

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Unrecognizable woman applying oil mask to hair tips in a bathroom
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Hydrate Your Hair

Smooth out your hair and give it a healthy glow by treating it with good ol’ olive oil. You can rub warmed olive oil directly on your scalp and dry ends, or make this DIY olive oil hair mask to fight frizz and promote growth.

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Female hands take care of cuticles with oil.

Grow Longer, Stronger Nails

Applying a drop of olive oil to your cuticles will not only keep them soft and healthy, but it can also promote new growth. The vitamin E in the oil is extremely moisturizing and can repair damage, leading to stronger, longer nails.

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Acupressure, hand massage.
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Work as a Natural Moisturizer

Olive oil works wonders against patches of super-dry skin. You can rub a small drop into your skin as needed, or give your hands an intense treatment by using a whole teaspoon. Once you rub it in, cover up with gloves or plastic wrap for a few hours (or overnight) and they’ll be smoother than you could imagine. Keep in mind that in cold weather, you may find harmless white stuff in olive oil.

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Small white bowl with olive oil and cotton pad for natural skin care

Prevent Premature Aging and Wrinkles

You can use also olive oil to make a super nourishing DIY face mask. The antioxidants in olive oil can neutralize the free radicals that damage your skin, and its vitamins enhance cell turnover. Put it all together, and you’re left with smoother, brighter skin!

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caucasian woman shaving legs with razor
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Skip the Shaving Cream

Olive oil is a natural lubricant, so why not use it when you run out of shaving cream? It’ll help the razor glide over your skin without creating razor bumps or irritation. Talk about a surprising use of olive oil!

We have a few more surprises up our sleeve. Check out how you can use olive oil around the house.

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Beautiful smiling young woman removing make up with a facial wipe in front of mirror.

Remove Eye Makeup

This one might sound odd, but trust us: It works! Since oil grabs onto oil-based products, it works better than soap to remove stubborn eye makeup. Like soap products, avoid getting any oil in your actual eye and rinse the oil off with warm water.

Lindsay D. Mattison
Lindsay is a professional chef, recipe developer, writer and developmental editor. After years of working in restaurant kitchens, she turned to writing to share her skills and experience with home cooks and food enthusiasts. She's passionate about using local, organic ingredients and teaching others how to incorporate seasonal food into their diet. Lindsay still cooks professionally for pop-up events, writes for several publications and is the co-author of two books about Ayurveda.