we have always been a little on the fence about our clients using olive oil. while it seems to be safe for most, if we don’t see improvement in the area around the mouth after a certain amount of time (and they’re using acne-safe toothpaste + lip products), we recommend switching to an acne safe(r) alternative.
a little background research FYI: olive oil was rated a 1-2 by dr. fulton in his research paper, “common ingredients” written in 1989, and sS has rated olive oil a 0-. we have it in our sS brand lipbalm, and have only seen (maybe) a handful of clients that reacted better with another lipbalm. as far as cooking and eating though, it’s an oil that is abundantly available at restaurants and grocery stores, and is certainly a ton better than the super-comedogenic coconut oil.
little did we know that a scandal rocked the olive oil industry and several well known and trusted brands have not measured up to snuff. this may be contributing to some of the reasons olive oil is not working for particular clients. many extra virgin olive oil brands have been found to be of poor quality, rancid or “adulterated” with other types of oil. at skinSALVATION, we know that a lot of cooking oils out there are not acne safe.
in july of 2010 the uc davis olive oil chemistry lab published a study about olive oils sold in california. the lab inspected the quality of the oils and whether they met the standards set for “extra virgin olive oil.” in a nutshell: german, italian, australian and california brands were put through a series of tests to see if they were, in fact, the real thing. 2 panels conducted sensory testing (sense of smell) followed by testing of each brand’s chemical makeup like fatty acids and diacylglycerol content. “sensory defects are indicators that these samples are oxidized, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper refined oils.” the sensory standard for extra virgin olive oil is that there is “zero defect and more than zero fruitiness.”
in an NPR live interview, tom mueller, a correspondent from new york magazine, stated that olives of poor quality, like those that are overripe or damaged, can contain free radicals and impurities. olive oils labeled as extra virgin may contain cheaper oils like soybean and canola. (soybean oil: there goes the acne-safe alert bell ding!).
this can mean bad news for our skinSALVATION peeps.
every country had multiple big name brands that failed these tests.
realfarmacy.com has a list outting some of the companies that “failed” the tests. these include Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Star, Pompeian, Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman’s Own, Safeway, and Whole Foods.
this same blog post also lists EVOO brands that did pass the uc davis test like California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, Lucini. Kirkland Organic Toscano (NOT the ones in the plastic liter jugs!), Lucero (Ascolano) and McEvoy Ranch Organic.
shopping local? how do you figure out the posers from the real deal?
tom mueller’s blog post on the “truth in olive oil” can help you choose brands in supermarkets that are easy to access. tom even performed a taste test of different brands from places like trader joe’s, whole foods and costco. the ones listed above that passed the uc davis test are included in his approved list; he also lists a few more that weren’t in the study.
the secret to finding a genuine extra virgin olive oil?
look for a harvest date. if there is no harvest date then it is instantly suspect. it’s also important to choose olive oils from the most current harvest (olives are traditionally harvested august through november depending on the local.)
what do you do if you have acne?
do your research and do your best to make sure the olive oil you’re using is the real thing. even then, we can’t guarantee it won’t break you out if you’re one of the few that is sensitive to it. adulterated olive oil (especially if it’s cut with soybean oil!) could be the reason for your lack of success on this, but only time and testing will tell.
for more information on cooking oils that are good at cold, warm and high heat cooking temperatures, check out our blog on acne safe favorite cooking oils!