Product Reviews

My Hair’s Best Friend is My Skin’s Worst Enemy- Olive Oil

Oh, do I have a love-hate relationship with olive oil. Olive oil has emollient properties and can help the hair retain vital moisture. I have moisturized hair when I use products with olive oil. BUT, my normally zit free skin becomes a cystic mess when I use products with olive oil in them.

How do I know that olive oil is the culprit? Well I did an experiment. After emerging from my teens with very little acne, I happened to be plagued with cystic acne in my early 20’s. This made no sense to me, so I began eliminating face washes, facial moisturizers, and facial toners to no avail. I went out and purchased proactive, and it only made the acne worse.

The old

Then, by chance, I had an epiphany! I thought about my hair products since the acne would get worse after my weekly shampoo days. At that time I would do hot oil treatments with olive oil and use (as it was called in 2004) Elasta QP  Mango Butter Moisturizer that listed olive oil as one of its ingredients-it is the same formula, but now the company highlights the olive oil and is now called Elasta QP Olive Oil and Mango Butter Moisturizer. I loved the hydration that the thick creamy product gave to my hair.

So, I started eliminating products from my hair regiment and guess what the acne cleared up. I mean the deep painful cystic acne cleared up in a matter of days. I didn’t know exactly why though, so I added the olive oil back into my regimen and the cystic acne reappeared. But, it could have been by chance, and I had to know exactly what was causing my skin to become to angry and inflamed.

The new

I had an inkling that it could be the olive oil, so I took some olive oil put it on a Qtip and dabbed it under my chin, and placed a red X by the spot. No less than four hours later, I had a MONSTER CYST exactly where the X had been placed. I repeated the experiment and used several products with olive oil and pure extra virgin olive oil- marking the site where I placed the products on the skin. All of the sites that were marked erupted with acne. Later, I tested other oils to find out that  olive oil was the only oil that gave my skin this reaction.

I was so upset because now I knew what caused the acne- the olive oil- and so now I avoid any hair products with olive oil listed in the ingredients. This is really hard to do since there has been an olive oil boom in the hair care industry. There are so many products with olive oil and I have to be really careful and read the labels for this ingredient.

The GOOD one- no olive oil

So, this brings me to my current predicament. After 9 years of clear, acne free skin, I had a flare up recently. I purchased Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream, and the 16 oz jar does not contain olive oil. I love this formula and it always leaves my hair hydrated.

The BAD one- with olive oil

But, I found the 24 oz version with the pump thinking it was just like the 16 oz version and the morning after using it the cystic acne returned. Lo and behold, the 24 oz pump bottle has olive oil listed as one of the ingredients in its formula. I couldn’t believe it, and now have to suffer with the painful results of cysts that have formed on my face, neck and back. This goes to show that nothing can be trusted, I must always be vigilant and all hair product must be examined- every time I purchase a hair product.

The moral of this story is that if you are suffering from acne- think about your hair products and try the elimination method to see if it clears up. Also, if you find that you are sensitive to a substance, then be hyper-vigilant about reading product ingredients.


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