Why Arab Americans Use Olive Oil: 10 Beneficial Uses
By: Sarah Chaudhry/Arab America Contributing Writer
Olive oil is deeply rooted in the Mediterranean and Arab culture, where it was developed and sold more than 4000 years ago. Even today, Arab Americans value the importance of olive oil, and purchase it constantly, not only as food intake but also for many other purposes. Here are the many uses and benefits of olive oil!
1. Nourishes Hair and Scalp
Full of vitamins and minerals, olive oil can use its natural properties to add some extra shine and moisture to your locks. If you have a drier scalp, you can just massage this natural oil directly on and leave it for as little as 20 minutes to begin seeing results! When the weather begins to get a little drier, olive oil can help prevent split ends and frizz by adding some moisture and weight to your hair.
During the winter, hair can tend to look a little dull, and in order to fix that, you can replace your normal conditioner with olive oil to promote healthier and shinier looking hair. Using olive oil regularly, whether replacing it with your conditioner or otherwise, can help people dealing with hair loss. Hair loss can occur due to various reasons, however, hair follicles narrow due to the production of the hormone DTH and olive oil can prevent DTH from possibly even forming.
2. Skin Care
There are reasons people used to bathe in olive oil in ancient times! Olive oil contains many antioxidant properties due to a high concentration of squalene, these properties are so strong that they can even reverse damage from ultraviolet radiation. This oil has the ability to even your skin’s texture and tone, even out discoloration from things like sunspots, and give the skin a healthy, radiant glow.
You can add some drops of olive oil in a bath, or simply add some oil to damp skin once you get out of the shower. To add moisture to your facial products, you could add a couple drops to your daily moisturizer for an extra boost of nutrients for your skin!
3.Cleanser and Makeup Remover
Buying makeup wipes can be a pain, and a lot of the time they don’t even remove all the makeup from your face! Just go to your pantry and grab a natural replacement of olive oil to gently remove eyeliner, mascara, foundation, you name it! In addition to removing makeup, olive oil will moisturize your face and help to clear any acne.
Many of you are probably thinking if I have oily skin, why would I use more oil to remove my makeup? Usually, people have oilier skin because their skin is overcompensating for a lack of natural oils due to chemicals in things like makeup wipes, leading to more breakouts, blackheads, etc. By putting natural olive oil on your face, your natural oils will not be removed from your face like what a makeup wipe does, it will instead bring a balance.
4. Polish Furniture
If you ever want to just add a little shine to your furniture or get rid of some scratches on your favorite dresser, look no further. There are a couple of methods to use olive oil in order to polish your furniture.
The first method involves mixing olive oil and lemon juice (the amount depends on how big the piece of furniture is) and applying the concoction with a soft cloth. Then just rub and buff the cloth on the areas you want to polish, and leave to dry! To get a mark out of your furniture, you simply just mix ¼ cup of vinegar with a ¾ cup of olive oil and just put it wherever the mark is to rub it away.
5. Ear Pain Treatment
Although not 100% scientifically proven, olive oil has been able to help with ear pains in many patients. The olive oil will not necessarily cure any ear infections, however, if you warm some oil and use it like ear drops, some of the pain should subside. If you cannot reach the doctor soon, this is a good alternative to relieve the pain until you can!
6. Soothes Sunburn
If you’ve just come back from a vacation and were out in the sun for a tad bit too long, you may have gotten some sunburn. Olive oil contains these polyphenol compounds that can help to repair the damage done from too much sun exposure. Using olive oil will keep the skin moisturized and prevent the skin from peeling. All you need to do is rub the olive oil until the area is moist, and then wait a couple of hours to wash it off when you don’t feel too much oil left. Preventing sunburn should be the priority, so make sure to use sunscreen so your skin doesn’t get damaged!
7. Relieve Arthritis
Olive oil is almost as effective as medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin when it comes to arthritis pain. Olive oil contains oleocanthal, a natural compound that aids in preventing arthritic inflammation. Instead of rubbing it into your skin, to reap the benefits for your joints, consume around 3 ½ tbsp to help relieve the pain. This amount equals around to a 200 mg tablet of Ibuprofen. Many times, using ibuprofen for an extended period of time for pain can be worse for your health, so if you are suffering from constant arthritic pain, olive oil is a good substitute.
8. Olive Oil Soap
Arabs have used olive oil in their everyday routine, from using it in countless food dishes to things like shampoo and soap. Many Arabs make and use olive oil soap in order to nourish and protect the skin/hair from damaging environmental factors. If you have drier skin like psoriasis and eczema, this soap can provide relief to the affected areas with many other benefits. If you do not want to expose your skin to the harsher chemicals of store brand soaps, you could try finding olive oil soaps with less chemicals or try to DIY it. Some more famous olive oil soaps are from companies like DHC care, Pre de Provence, Birchbox, and a ton more. If you want to make it, all you need is olive oil, Sodium Hydroxide, and distilled water!
9. Smoother Shave
Finding good quality shaving creams can be a pain, and olive oil can be a good alternative to these harsher substances. For shaving your skin, extra virgin olive oil is your best bet. Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed type of olive oil.
A benefit of using olive oil is that you can see exactly where you are shaving, and if you’ve removed the hair or not. Before putting olive oil on your skin, make sure that the area is washed and ready to be shaved. Use one bottle of olive oil for the sole purpose of olive oil, otherwise, it could possibly get contaminated by other users.
10. Reduces Cellulite and Stretch Marks
A quick, safe, and easy method to help remove cellulite and stretch marks is through olive oil. All you have to do is massage the oil in the affected areas, and the oil will simply attack the cellulite or area with marks. The key to making this work is consistency. One mixture that is proved to be effective for cellulite is mixing coffee grounds and olive oil, the caffeine helps tighten the blood vessels, while the olive oil smooths the skin out. For stretch marks, the Vitamin E is used as a skin conditioning agent that will take time to help the marks disappear.