I have discovered a miracle right there in my kitchen cupboard. May I introduce olive oil? It's so odd how we make connections that finally result in one of those lightbulb moments that have us slapping our foreheads in recognition. Why do they take so long to click, I have no clue. Anyway, there it is.
Let me explain:
Years ago when my children were babies, they had cradle cap, a sort of baby dandruff. As with a lot of infants, the top of their scalps were scaly and flakey and there didn't seem to be any relief in sight; I wasn't about to use any adult medicated shampoos and there didn't seem to be any baby dandruff shampoos either. And this being the early 90s there was no Dr. Google yet, so the usual resources were my parenting books and my paediatrician. And what did they suggest? to massage olive oil on the effected scalp area. I was a little sceptical but I did it anyway as it seemed harmless enough. Somehow the thought of using a food on your body instead of in it was off-putting. Ugh. I don't know, but olive oil has always been a salad dressing ingredient in my world, and the connection I made with that is the sticky bottle always needing to be wiped or washed to keep it clean. Without stopping to make the distinction between an inert glass bottle and live skin, I dismissed the remedy as some kind of weird voodoo and that there would obviously be the added burden of residue on the skin. Except there wasn't. A few days of this treatment and their scalps were as smooth and lovely as a baby's head ought to be. Huh. Well. It worked. We got on with our lives and my babies grew into healthy active kids and now into healthy, active and productive members of adult society. Their bothersome skin afflictions never returned and never crossed my mind again until this year when I, a newly hatched member of the middle aged 50 something cohort, started having skin issues of my own. Well not 'started' exactly, but became more pronounced. I've always had dry, sensitive skin so I am familiar with commercial moisturizers; I've tried them all, increasingly relying on the most natural kinds. Body Shop is my personal favourite, especially their Aloe Vera line of moisturizers for my face. I'm not plugging a brand here, it's just what works for me. But in recent months, the skin on my face has been particularly sensitive to any kind of stimulation, and don't even get me started about the outside elements. So, one day this past winter, after an exceptionally cold and windy day, I had skin that was painfully dry and flaky. I was so distraught because I knew that anything I rubbed into my skin would just add to the stimulation and send it reeling. But wait. Wasn't there something about olive oil that was supposed to be great for this kind of thing on babies? Flaky skin? Gentle? How this connection eluded me for so long is baffling. I really should have been hip to this remedy ever since I saw the results on my babies' heads all those years ago. And yet here I am.
I Googled olive oil for skin and lo and behold was swamped with results because apparently olive oil as a skin remedy has been a thing since biblical times. Well. After that fateful winter day when I had reached my tolerance for dry, irritated skin, I have a bottle ready at my bathroom sink for daily face and body moisturizing. It goes on light as a feather and absorbs happily into my skin leaving it smooth and soft and, well, happy. Why is this not mainstream? I don't get it. It's also a great makeup remover and cleanser. What a miracle.
I'm also working on some unconventional recipes with olive oil in my kitchen. Blueberry lemon loaf with olive oil anyone? Here's a hint: it's yummy.