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Olive oil inhibits aging signs induced by chronic stress in ex vivo human skin via inhibition of extracellular-signal-related kinase 1/2 and c-JUN pathways

What does the Bible say about anointing yourself with oil?

Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself and put on your best clothes, and go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. (Ruth 3:3, NASB) The meaning here was like saying, “Put on your makeup to make yourself presentable and attractive.”

Olive oil was a daily commodity for the children of Israel and this importance is reflected in several verses. Disobedience to God would result in a loss of the olive crop (Deuteronomy 28:40). The oil honored both God and men (Judges 9:9) and was a component of the anointing oil of the high priest (Exodus 30:24).

Today, a new study from the Laboratory of Tissue Repair, Department of Histology and Embryology in Rio de Janeiro have found that olive oil plays a significant role in inhibiting the signs of aging. 


Objective: Chronic stress-induced oxidative damage and protease synthesis cause a loss of extracellular matrix components promoting human skin ageing. The administration of antioxidant compounds, such as those observed in olive oil, may attenuate stress-induced ageing signs in human skin. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of olive oil administration in ex vivo stressed human skin.

Methods: Explants of human skin were treated with high levels of epinephrine (as observed in stressed patients) and olive oil in medium for 13 days. Cultures treated with medium alone were used as controls.

Results: Olive oil reversed the high epinephrine level-induced reduction in epidermis and dermis thickness and collagen fibre content in ex vivo human skin. The increase in the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde levels (an index of lipid peroxidation) promoted by high levels of epinephrine were also attenuated by olive oil in ex vivo human skin. Moreover, olive oil was able to reverse the high epinephrine level-induced increase in extracellular signal-related kinase 1/2 (ERK 1/2) and c-JUN (a major component of transcription factor AP-1) phosphorylation and protein matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) expression in ex vivo human skin.

Conclusion: Olive oil attenuates stress-induced ageing signs (thinner dermis and collagen fibre loss) in ex vivo human skin by reducing MMP-2 expression, ROS production, and ERK 1/2 and c-JUN phosphorylation.

Indeed, there's a reason olive oil has remained a popular beauty ingredient for thousands of years—it works. 

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