Taking A Closer Look at Linoleic Acid and Its Role in Skincare
Linoleic acid promotes proper brain function, aids in skin and hair growth, and regulates our metabolism. This multifunctional component is essential for healthy tissue and cell formation, so let's take a closer look at how we keep it balanced.
- Linoleic acid is the most common omega-6 and alpha linoleic acid is the most common omega-3
- We need EFAs (essential fatty acids including omega 3s and 6s) to function properly
- EFAs work on improving skin appearance internally and externally by promoting healthy cell formation
Why do we need it?
In 1929 a series of studies determined the necessity of various fatty acids by giving rats fat-free diets. Fat-deficient rats showed obvious skin defects, increased water loss across their skin (also known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL), reduced development, and decreased reproduction.
It was shown that oils rich in particular polyunsaturated fatty acids (corn oil, linseed oil) could totally restore the skin abnormalities in the deficient animals, but oils containing solely saturated fatty acids (coconut oil, butter) were ineffective. These experiments lead to the knowledge that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs): omega-6 and omega-3, are essential for good skin function and appearance.
Linoleic acid is the most common omega-6 and alpha linoleic acid is the most common omega-3.
- Linoleic acid is a necessary building component for ceramides, which are one of the skin's primary moisturizing components. Our bodies cannot produce this vital fatty acid, we must obtain it from diet or apply it to our skin. LA strengthens the skin's barrier, allowing it to efficiently keep water in and irritants out while keeping the skin moisturized and healthy. It is an unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid found in maize, safflower, and sunflower oils that is utilized in cosmetics as an emollient and thickening agent. Some research indicates that it is useful as a skin restorative, antioxidant, and skin-soothing agent.
- Alpha linoleic acid is another kind of linoleic acid; it is a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid found in vegetable, flax seed, canola, and soy oils. It works as a skin-conditioning and skin-restorative agent. Walnuts are an excellent source of this fatty acid, and it has been shown in studies to aid with a variety of skin issues when applied topically.
When included in our diet, linoleic acid provides us with many skin health benefits including:
Erythema, commonly known as a sunburn, is caused by excessive ultraviolet light exposure (UVR). Even at levels that do not produce sunburn, UVR promotes cellular damage in the skin, causing inflammation and suppressing the immune system.
Because omega-6 and omega-3 EFAs are both transformed into chemicals that contribute in inflammatory and immunological responses, their amounts in skin can give you extra protection. There is also evidence that topical application of omega 3s can provide this benefit.
Preventing photo aging
Extrinsic photoaging is caused by external factors such as UV exposure and smoking, but intrinsic chronological skin aging is caused by time and genetics. Photoaging causes shape and tissue changes in the skin, such as deep wrinkling, loss of elasticity, altered pigmentation, and collagen degradation. Higher dietary intakes of EFAs are correlated with younger skin appearance, lower incidence of dry skin and skin thinning.
Inflammation, tissue creation, and tissue remodeling are the three overlapping processes of wound healing. Inflammation is required early on to remove foreign particles and stimulate new tissue development. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can be harmful and slow down the healing process. Given their involvement in structural integrity and inflammatory response regulation in the skin, it is likely that linoleic acid speeds up recovery.
When we don't get enough omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in our meals, we don't operate correctly. Essential fatty acid deficiency is characterized by a dry scaly rash, delayed growth in neonates and children, increased susceptibility to infection, cognitive and memory difficulties, and poor wound healing.
Adding linoleic acid to your routine
When used topically, linoleic acid also grants further benefits, including: retaining moisture, reducing inflammation, reducing acne, protecting against UV rays and blocking irritants. Safflower, grape seed and poppyseed oils are all options you might try due to their high linoleic acid levels.
It should be noted that linoleic acid has a limited shelf life, which means that most oils with high linoleic acid content will lose potency within three to six months. Destabilization occurs swiftly in vegetable oils having 60% or more (like the ones above). Oils with less LA, such as Rosehip Seed Oil and Argan Oil, are far more stable.
Skin care products with high quantities of Vitamin E, stabilize linoleic acid, allowing it to remain effective for much longer. The right manner to use it differs based on the product, but the pure version of the oil may be used as part of your regular routine both morning and night. But it is best to start off with once per day to see how your skin reacts to it before increasing frequency or quantity.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) omega-6 and omega-3 are essential for skin function and beauty. EFA supplementation, both dietary and topical, can have a significant impact on the fatty acid content and appearance of skin. The addition of different EFA-rich oils containing linoleic acid to the skin can regulate the inflammatory response in both the dermal and epidermal layers. Skin barrier function and structural integrity require omega-6 EFAs. Skin sensitivity and inflammatory skin problems are alleviated by omega fatty acid supplementation. Because omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids compete for the same enzymes, both specifically should be included for the best results.
Written by Kiana St. Onge