If I told you that some oils are drying and others can help to fight spots, would you think it was April Fools? I don’t blame you. Oils have a bad reputation that is only just starting to change.
Like any other group of ingredients, there are oils perfect for oily skin and there are oils perfect for dry skin. Yes really!
Some essential fatty acids in skincare are proven to reduce the incidence of spots, are anti-inflammatory in their own right and can even balance an oily skin type. Other omegas or fatty acids do the exact opposite, they’ll encourage deep nourishment perfect for dry skin.
Essential fatty acids, omegas… what does it all mean? How exactly do you tell which ones are perfect for you and how the heck do you find them?
The second post in the Honesty guide to which vitamins, omegas and minerals to seek in your skincare, this ultimate guide to omega benefits for skin will have you sorted on the second.
What are Essential Fatty Acids, What is an Omega?
Every handbag you own has a personality all of its very own. There’s the black one that goes with everything, a go-to clutch for a night on the town and the perfect hands-free cross body for care free summer days. Who are we kidding, the list doesn’t stop there ‘eh *winks*.
Every handbag you own is a bag, but Jeez do they do different things. Just try fitting an umbrella in that night on the town clutch!
In reality when you look a little deeper, they are completely different – yes this is why we need a closet of at least 10!
One bag has a strap and the other a handle. One bag has 10 pockets for phone, makeup and gloves, the other has just 1. One is an everyday black and the other a bright blue.
Every bag you own is made up of lots of different elements that make it unique.
Every natural oil is also made up of different elements that make it beautifully unique.
These different building blocks have names, names you’ll probably of heard like essential fatty acids and omegas.
First thing first, let’s sort out this lingo. You might’ve heard one, all or many of these…
- Essential fatty acids
- Fatty acids
- Essential omegas
- Omega 3, 6 and 9
Are they all the same thing? Is one group better than the other?
There’s really only 2 differences this list of names describes.
Whether you’re talking about fatty acids, essential fatty acids or omegas – you’re talking about what we shorthand describe as fats… and fats are really, really good for your skin.
There are 2 kinds of fats that our bodies need and use;
- Essential fats – also described as essential fatty acids or essential omegas.
- Non-essential fats – also called fatty acids or omegas.
The difference is really, really simple. Your body cannot make essential fats, it needs to be given them. For the non-essential kind, the opposite is true.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 2 November 2016
This is why essential fatty acids are really important to your skin, deficiencies are linked to many skin conditions including acne – we’ll get chatting about that later on.
What are the Skin Benefits of Essential Fatty Acids?
I’m about to cut your wardrobe of 10+ handbags down to a capsule size of just 2. Like Gok Wan would say, this is going to make your life super simple.
There are only 2 kinds of essential fatty acids. Only 2 kinds of fat your body cannot make itself.
- Linoleic acid – which fits under a family called omega 6 fatty acids
- Alpha-linolenic acid – which fits under the family name of omega 3
I’m going to show you exactly where to find them in a second. First, you’ll want to know what it is they do.
Essential fatty acids have a jam-packed CV which I’m willing to bet money, include at least one benefit your skin will reach for *winks*…
- An aid in skin’s natural rate of exfoliation – the suspected reason a deficiency can lead to acne!
- Skin identical
- Supportive of skins healing process
- Lightening and brightening to skin tone
- Promote regeneration of healthy skin cells – anti-ageing
In other words, essential fatty acids can help protect you from;
- Scaly dermatitis, eczema type reactions
- Acne and spots
- Sensitivity reactions
- Poor and slow healing or an unhealthy skin complexion
- Premature signs of ageing
There’s a lot that can go astray if your skin isn’t fed essential fatty acids. These guys are great to find in your skincare and also work wonders from the inside out when eaten. #Yum
Let’s take a deeper look at some of their benefits…
Essential Fatty Acid Skincare Helps Treat Acne
This couldn’t go more against the grain ‘eh. For years oils have been targeted as the cause or aggravator of oily and combination skin types. As the reason you have spots. As the ‘wanted’ ingredient to be banned from your oily/combination skincare routine.
That’s why you’ll still see lots of oil-free claims on skincare targeted at spot prone skin.
While this is true for some kinds of oils – word to fellow oily spot prone skin types, stay well clear of coconut oil… it’s not true for specific kinds of oils and it’s definitely not true for essential fatty acid oils.
See, your skins top layers are all oil based… you have your own special blend *winks*.
Although oily, spot prone skin types tend to make more oil (sebum), they’re usually deficient in a certain kind of oil. That special oil is one of our essential fatty acid friends – linoleic acid. Crazy ‘eh. A skin type that can make so much, can actually be oil deficient.
Now this bit will rock your mind.
This linoleic essential fatty acid, is suspected to play a vital role in triggering your skin to exfoliate. When skin exfoliates as it was born to, your pores are kept clean and free of dead skin that serves as food to spot causing bacteria. When skin doesn’t exfoliate at a healthy rate, dead skin cells become trapped, where they help to feed spot causing bacteria.
— Cheryl Woodman (@HonestyForSkin) 2 November 2016
Exfoliation is crazily important for spot prone skin types. Research studies have shown daily application of linoleic acid over a month helped to reduce spot size and incidence by 25%, not bad ‘eh.
Essential Fatty Acid Skincare Reduces Skin Stress
…and stress means ageing. The good news is you can help say no thanks to that with a healthy injection of essential fatty acids into your skincare diet.
When your skin is under stress it triggers all sort of biology that ends up as inflammation. Just like when you’ve been playing squash, get wacked with a ball travelling 100, 000 miles an hour and end up with a bruise that looks like the squash ball embedded itself within your skin.
That mound my friend is inflammation.
While it’s sometimes very obvious, other times it’s not.
When you catch a sunburn, your skin will suffer from inflammation.
When you’ve had too many late nights, your skin will suffer from inflammation.
When you’ve drunk too much alcohol or had too much sugar, your skin will suffer from inflammation.
While it’s not the kind that leaves you with a frame-able lump, it is still the kind that’s causing stress within your skin.
A good ol’ dose of essential fatty acids helps to reduce, manage an mitigate any stresses your skin is experiencing. #GoTeamOmega.
Essential Fatty Acid Skincare Makes Your Skin Strong
If I asked you to list me off the vitamins that would be great for your skin, I bet you’d guess all of these heros – Vitamins A, B, C, D and E. If you follow that series on a little, there’s a much less well-known skin vitamin – vitamin F that’s also essentially yummy to skin #HintHint.
Vitamin F is an old school name for our 2 essential fatty acids – linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.
We first knew how important these 2 essential fatty acids were to skin way back in the 1920’s and something that is that essential is usually called a vitamin. Thing is, once you take a closer look at these guys, there really best described as a fat, which is why vitamin F now goes by the modern day name of essential fatty acids.
Essential fatty acids help to make your skin healthy. They help skin to resist damage and they keep your skin hydrated and elastic.
AKA – they help prevent wrinkles, dryness and dermatitis type reactions. #WhyDiddn’tYouJustSay *winks*.
In fact, studies have shown daily application of essential fatty acids to skin gives it a 52% better chance of resisting a loss of elasticity with a 76% greater chance of your skin being well hydrated. Essentially without a healthy supply of essential fatty acids, your skin has a much higher risk of becoming dry, scaly and saggy.
Wondering where the heck you can immediately get yourself a lovely dose of essential fatty acids? Thought you might be, let’s take a look at the best oils to find you some in…
The Best Skincare Oils for Essential Fatty Acids
Remember how every handbag in your closet is uniquely different and brilliant? Yes, man in your life, they really are *winks*…. so too is every skincare oil. Some are high in essential fatty acids, some are low and others have none.
So, how do you tell which oils are high in essential fatty acids? My friend, I’ve done the investigative work for you so you don’t have to. Just click here to download this free list of the best oils to find a very high and healthy dose of essential fatty acids for your skin.
Here’s a peek at some of the best…
- Rosehip oil – 45% linoleic acid, 33% alpha-linolenic acid
- Grapseseed oil – 72% linoleic acid
- Evening primrose oil – 75% linoleic acid
- Hemp seed oil – 55% linoleic acid, 22% alpha-linolenic acid
oh and a little helping hand for some facial oils that are perfect for a high dose of them…
- trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil, £22/20ml
- Honesty Revive Omega Facial Oil, £22/30ml
- Fushi Organic Hemp Seed Oil for Omega 3 & 6, £23/100ml
If you’re looking for facial oils high in essential fatty acids, make sure the first few ingredients are on this list of essential fatty acids. Tick that box and your skin will be winning with a hit of these uniquely nourishing, capsule wardrobe *winks* omegas.
Take a look at the label of your go-to facial oil. Can you spot a few oils high in essential fatty acids? Tell me in the comments below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.