While olive oil has been with us for thousands of years, and originates from the Greek island of Crete, olive oil soap is a much more recent invention. Olive oil was widely used as a skin care product by the ancient Greeks. Indeed, Homer referred to olive oil as “Liquid Gold”.
While the Greeks have been applying pure olive oil directly to the skin as a both a beauty treatment and to treat wounds, it is widely believe that the first actual olive oil soap emerged from France during the 6th Century. The soap was made by combining lye with olive oil.
Lye, otherwise known as caustic soda is fairly simple to make. The process involves burning the raw material, such as branches (or seaweed in the case of the original olive oil soap) and combining the resulting ashes with water in a barrel.
Ok, so it’s a bit more complicated than that but that is the essence of the process, and it can be made at home quite easily. However, be careful as it is a dangerous substance – therefore the precise method is not explained in detail here!
These days the process of making olive oil soap varies significantly from brand to brand but generally involves mixing lye with olive oil, glycerin and some other kind of moisturizer. As with other beauty products you will often find that lower grades of olive oil are used, compared with that sold as food, purely as a cost efficiency measure.
Benefits of Olive Oil Soap
Soap made from olive oil is rich in vitamin E, beta carotene and Vitamin A. Being an antioxidant it is also great for new cell generation and can help to promote younger looking skin by improving the elasticity of the skin. Pure olive oil soap is very popular with people with all kinds of skin conditions. It is less likely to cause skin reactions than most other chemical based soaps.
Some people believe that olive oil is too greasy for soap and can cause acne and other similar conditions. However, this is a complete myth. Oily skin can be a symptom of oil glands producing too much oil to compensate for the drying out effect caused by chemical soaps.
People with oily skin might actually benefit from using olive oil soap as it helps the skin’s natural oils to balance.
People with dry skin might also benefit from the soap as it helps to exfoliate dead cells. Its natural moisturizing and skin balancing properties help to soften the skin texture. Many people with eczema have found that using olive oil soap can greatly improve the condition.
There are many olive oil soaps available on the market, but we specifically like the Greek Olive Oil soaps because they are the most natural. Many of them are handmade using traditional methods. Virtually all of them are green, as the original ancient soap used to be, and not bleached white like many brands.
Olive oil soap is great for:
- Relieving dry skin
- Reducing scars and dark spots
- Minimizing wrinkles
- Removing makeup really easily
- Preventing or treating common skin disease such as psoriasis, eczema and acne
- Treating skin rashes