In humans, aging leads to gradual structural and functional skin damage.
Skin tissue goes through a series of changes. Some of the most important are that the inner and outer layers of the skin (dermis and epidermis) become thinner, elasticity is lost, the area connecting the dermis to the epidermis becomes less cushioned, fibrosis occurs with the accumulation of collagen and the tissue is less able to fight and repair damage.
External factors such as sun rays accelerate the aging process by creating free radicals. Although cells are equipped with mechanisms that neutralize their effects, it is possible to reduce cellular damage using inhibitors that lower the risk. One such natural inhibitor is extra virgin olive oil, which has a lipid profile very similar to that of human skin.
In addition to polyphenols, extra virgin olive oil contains a large proportion of vitamins A, D and K, as well as vitamin E, the main source of protection against the free radicals that cause cell oxidation. This makes it a good adjunct to specific therapies used to treat skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and seborrheic eczema.
It has also been suggested that extra virgin olive oil could play an important role in preventing continuous oxidation, one of the processes that affects the development of certain types of skin cancer, due to its powerful antioxidant effects. Studies on vitamin E have begun, but such observations take a long time, so no meaningful data are available yet. However, the theory goes that oleic acid is believed to play a major role in counteracting the ongoing oxidation.