June 30, 2023
A recent study published in Nutrients has provided evidence that high-phenolic extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) may increase skin cell proliferation and improve wound healing functions. In vitro (ie, in a dish) experiments were performed using a type of human skin cells known as fibroblasts treated with individual phenolic compounds commonly found in EVOO, namely hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, and oleocanthal.
Within the first few hours of contact with the phenolic compounds, the skin cells increased the amount of proteins known to play a vital role in the wound healing process. The skin cells also demonstrated an increased capacity to migrate, another indicator of enhanced wound healing ability. After a day in contact with the phenols, skin cells demonstrated an increase in proliferation.
While the results of the present study demonstrate the capacity of hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, and oleocanthal to promote wound healing, a prior study indicated that other phenolic compounds found in EVOO, ferulic acid, p–coumaric acid, caffeic acid, luteolin, and apigenin, can also stimulate fibroblast growth and migration.
Additional studies are needed to assess the effect of EVOO phenolic compounds on other types of cells found in human skin. However, 2 prior clinical trials (1, 2) have demonstrated that the use of topical EVOO can improve healing of foot wounds of diabetic patients, suggesting that EVOO can impact human skin consisting of various cell types.Key Takeaway: Hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, and oleocanthal, which are abundant in high-phenolic EVOO, can promote skin cell proliferation and wound healing capacity.