When the temperature drops my nails dry out so quickly that it is all I can do to keep them from splitting and chipping. And with dry cracked nails come dry cracked cuticles that bleed and hurt and look awful. I have tried all sorts of creams and lotions and fancy oils but nothing seemed to help. (And the fact that I pick at my ragged cuticles doesn’t help either!) Recently a friend suggested that I rub plain old olive oil – the kind we all keep in big bottles in our kitchens – into my nails and cuticles twice a day. Skeptical at first, I figured I had nothing to lose and started rubbing oil into my nails in the morning and before bed. After a week of olive oiling my nails I’m please to admit that my nails really look better. It’s taking a while to get used to the smell, but the noticeable improvement will keep me dipping into my little olive oil dish.
Pour about 2 tablespoons into a small dish or plate, then dip your fingers in the oil and massage thoroughly into your nails and cuticles. Try to avoid washing your hands until the oil is fully absorbed, which may mean delaying a few chores for a bit!
People have used olive oil for centuries for personal care. It is a great skin moisturizer, in part because it contains linoleic acid, a compound not made by the body, but which prevents water from evaporating. According to Leslie Baumann, M.D., author of The Skin Type Solution, consuming olives and olive oil can promote healthy skin, as can applying it directly as a moisturizer. You can also add a bit of olive oil to a warm bath for a good healthy soak.
Some of the most exciting news, according to Baumann, is that olive oil also contains at least four different antioxidants, which can help “neutralize damaging free radicals that can lead to skin aging and skin cancer.” Baumann writes that in studies mice that drank extra virgin olive oil developed less skin cancer after exposure to UV light.