14 Serious Side Effects Of Olive Oil You Should Know About

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Ramon Andrade de Mello, MD, FACP
Written by Tanya Choudhary

There are two sides to every coin.

This famous adage implies that there’s both good and bad side to every ingredient. Olive oil is no exception. Touted to be one of the best in food and skincare world, this oil has numerous health and beauty benefits to offer.

But olive oil also comes with certain drawbacks that can cause significant damage to your health. Check out side effects of olive oil before you start using it.

Top 14 Side Effects Of Olive Oil

Let us talk about the top 10 olive oil side effects that can take a toll on your health:

  1. Causes Acne
  2. Can Cause Allergies
  3. Causes Skin Rashes
  4. Not Safe On A Baby’s Skin
  5. Is Not Suitable For Dry Skin
  6. Can Cause Blackheads
  7. Saturated Fat-Related Diseases
  8. Trans-Fat Related Diseases
  9. Lowers Blood Sugar
  10. Lowers Blood Pressure
  11. Causes Inflammation
  12. Gallbladder Stones/Blockage
  13. Can Cause Diarrhea
  14. High On Calories

1. Causes Acne

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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Excessive use of oilve oil can harm your skin and increase the chances of acne.

Olive oil is heavy. It does not quickly absorb into your skin, and creates a thick layer on the skin, clogging the pores. Thus if you frequently apply it on your skin, it turns into an adhesive surface, trapping all the dirt, dust, and sebum into it. This process paves the way for the appearance of unwanted acne and pimples.

So, we recommend you not to go overboard with the application of olive oil on your skin—twice a week should be enough to get a complexion that’s smooth and hydrated.

Note: If you have oily skin, it’s better for you to avoid olive oil altogether due to it’s naturally sticky and oily nature.

2. Can Cause Allergies

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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Several people show acute allergic reactions to olive oil. And if you are one of them, I would suggest you stay away from it—this oil will only aggravate your condition.

Olive oil can cause severe allergies, such as contact dermatitis, eczema, respiratory allergies, and so on. It is mainly experienced during or after the topical application of the oil. Those who are prone to allergies can also face this issue after they consumed something that has olive oil as one of the ingredients in their food. It’s always better to know olive oil benefits and side effects before consuming it regularly.

Note: If you notice any symptoms mentioned here, consult your physician immediately. Remember, prevention is better than cure. And you wouldn’t want your condition to aggravate.

3. Causes Skin Rashes

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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As explained earlier, people with oily skin should avoid olive oil altogether.

Oily skin is the result of an uncontrolled sebum secretion. When olive oil combines with your naturally greasy skin, it can cause severe irritation, rashes, and redness on your skin.

4. Not Safe On A Baby’s Skin

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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Babies have the most sensitive skin, and using olive oil on them can be a bit risky. It can cause rashes, redness and irritation on the skin.

This is because, especially with the newborns, we are yet to know whether the baby is allergic to this oil or not. And seriously, why take chances when you can have other safe options, like coconut oil, to massage your little angel?

Note: Yet, if you are keen on using olive oil, always use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for your baby’s skin.

5. Is Not Suitable For Dry Skin

Olive oil is not a good option for those with extremely dry skin too. Many studies have concluded that oleic acid present in olive oil is responsible for breaking the skin’s natural moisturizing abilities in case of dry skin.

6. Can Cause Blackheads

With its extremely sticky and oily nature, olive oil can pave the way for the growth of blackheads on your face.

As explained earlier, the greasy olive oil forms a layer on your skin that traps in the dirt and dead skin into it. This, in turn, makes way for the formation of blackheads.

7. Saturated Fat-Related Diseases

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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Olive oil is a rich source of monounsaturated fat. Every tablespoon of this oil contains about 14% saturated fat and 120 calories.

This is a huge amount—almost three times higher than that of a 4 oz chicken breast. Regular consumption of unprocessed olive oil can increase the risks of lethal diseases like atherosclerosis, obesity, heart attack, stroke, breast cancer, and colon cancer (1).

8. Trans-Fat Related Diseases

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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Olive oil is often refined or partially hydrogenated under high heat and pressure. This process alters its molecular structure and burns the healthy omega-3 fatty acid contained in the olives.

It also affects the cholesterol levels in our bloodstream by decreasing ‘good cholesterol’ and increasing the ‘bad’ one. This, in the long run, raises the danger of cardiovascular diseases (2).

9. Lowers Blood Sugar

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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This oil can lower your blood sugar below the normal level. Olive oil makes way for an increased insulin resistance; that is the main reason for its activity against blood sugar levels. Over consumption can make you prone to several health complications, like hypoglycemia, sweating, trembling, weakness, etc.

10. Lowers Blood Pressure

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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Olive oil is known to keep our heart healthy. But, studies have found that over-consumption of olive oil can cause a massive fall in the blood pressure. It is detrimental to our overall health as we become vulnerable to many problems like dizziness, lightheadedness, stroke, and kidney failure (3).

11. Causes Inflammation

Loaded with fat, olive oil increases the chances of developing inflammation in our body.

It contains a high amount of oleic acid (about 78%) which plays a vital role in releasing the lipopolysaccharides (LPS)), appended to the large fat-rich lipoprotein particles called chylomicrons, from the gut into the bloodstream. The more the LPS present in the blood, greater the extent of inflammation caused by the immune cells.

Additionally, olive oil also promotes higher levels of markers, like inflammatory cytokines, that are linked to chronic inflammation (4).

12. Gallbladder Stones/Blockage

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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One of the serious side effects of olive oil. You should stay away from consuming too much olive oil as it may block the gallbladder or cause painful gallstones. Our liver produces bile, which is accumulated inside the gallbladder. But, when our body holds excess fat, and we include olive oil in our daily diet, this stored bile starts to secrete and emulsify the fats. It ultimately results in stones or blockage.

13. Can Cause Diarrhea

Side Effects Of Olive Oil

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The high-fat content of olive oil may cause digestive disorders and trigger gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea.

We all know the strong laxative properties of olive oil. So when we consume it in large amounts, our system becomes unable to digest it completely. As a result, we develop minor to moderate diarrhea (5).

14. High On Calories

Unnecessary weight gain is one of the major side effects of too much olive oil consumption.

Olive oil, just like all other oils and fats, are a chief source of calories. You will be surprised to know that every 16 ounce of olive oil contains calories that are equal to your two days of calorie requirement (4,000 per pound); far more than even refined sugar (1,725 calories per pound).

This is why you should never cook your whole course meal in olive oil. Drizzling on top of your meals, of course, is a safer option.

Olive oil is a natural oil with excellent health-promoting properties. The monounsaturated fats in olive oil offer several health benefits. However, excess consumption of olive oil may cause several side effects. It may cause acne, allergies, skin rashes, blackheads, and saturated- and trans-fat-related diseases. It may also cause diarrhea and inflammation in some people. Hence, consume it in moderation to avoid its adverse reactions. Consult your doctor in case of emergencies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it ok to take olive oil every day?

Yes, it is okay to take olive oil every day as long as you consume it in moderation and do not use it to prepare main course meals.

Is a spoonful of olive oil a day good for you?

Yes, a spoonful of olive oil every day can help you get the benefits of this oil.

Can olive oil make you throw up?

In rare cases, olive oil may cause nausea or vomiting as some individuals may find it difficult to digest or have adverse reactions.

Is extra virgin olive oil bad for your heart?

No. On the contrary, extra virgin olive oil may improve heart health. However, you need to consume it in moderation and avoid cooking with it under high heat or pressure.

What is the healthiest olive oil?

Extra virgin olive oil is the healthiest type of olive oil as it is minimally processed, extracted using natural methods, and held to high purity standards.

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Dr. Ramon Andrade de Mello

(MD, FACP, PhD)
Prof. Ramon Andrade de Mello is a board certified medical oncologist in Portugal and Brazil. He received the MD degree... more

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