The olive has been a symbol of health and wellness in the Mediterranean region for centuries. Many of the components that make the olive beneficial to human health are also found in the olive leaf, and olive leaves have been used in traditional medicines for thousands of years. In scientific studies, olive leaf extracts and their phenolic components, are reported to have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and wound healing activities. One of the phenolic compounds found in olive leaf extracts, oleuropein is a potent antioxidant that protects cells from damage caused by free radicals. It has been shown that oleuropein has a direct antioxidant effect on skin, due to its free radical scavenging action at the skin level. Treatment of human embryonic fibroblasts with oleuropein was found to decrease the intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS). These cells exhibited a delay in senescence and had a fifteen percent (15%) increased lifespan. Oleuropein has many pharmacological properties that aid in the protection of skin cells. It is antimicrobial, it slows the progress of cell aging, protects the skin from environmental stress including chronic UV B radiation-induced skin damage, and it is a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
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