In human beings ageing leads
to gradual structural and functional skin damage.
Skin tissue goes
through a number of changes. Some of the chief ones are that the inner and outer
layers of the skin (dermis and epidermis) grow thinner, elasticity is lost, the
area joining the dermis to the epidermis becomes less cushioned, fibrosis occurs
with the accumulation of collagen and the tissue is less able to fight against
and repair damage.
External factors, such as the sun's rays, speed up
ageing by generating free radicals. Though cells are equipped with mechanisms
that neutralise their action, it is possible to reduce cell damage by using
inhibitors that lower the risk. One such natural inhibitor is olive oil, whose
lipid profile is very similar to that of human skin.
On top of
polyphenols, olive oil has a large proportion of vitamins A, D and K, as well as
vitamin E, the main source of protection against the free radicals that produce
cell oxidation. This makes it a good aid in specific therapies to treat skin
disorders such as acne, psoriasis and seborrheic eczemas.
It has also
been suggested that because of its pronounced antioxidant effect, olive oil
could play a choice part in the prevention of continuous oxidation, one of the
processes that influences the development of certain types of skin cancer.
Vitamin E studies have begun, but these kinds of observations take a long time,
which means that conclusive data are not yet available. However, the theory is
that oleic acid is believed to play a major part in counteracting continuous