Cosmetic Ingredients

Ingredient highlight – Omega Fatty Acids

Omega Fatty Acids are one of the building blocks of our body. They produce and repair the cell membranes and ensure they function – meaning our cells receive the nutrition they need and release the waste. What are Omega Fatty Acids, and how do they benefit the skin? Should you include them in your skincare routine?

What are Omega Fatty Acids?

Omega Fatty Acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are 11 Omega Fatty Acids. The three most important for our body and skin health are divided into the essential and non-essential.

Derived from Oleic acid, Omega 9 is non-essential since the body can produce it if there are enough essential fatty acids.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential because we can’t produce them, and food is their primary source.
The sources of Omega 3 (Alpha-Linoleic acid) include oily fish, some nut oils (chia, flax, and walnut), and leafy greens.
Several plant oils like safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, and sesame are Omega 6 (Linoleic acid) sources. Likewise, good sources of Omega 6 include nuts like almonds, as well as avocado and olives.
In general, we get plenty of Omega 6 from various food sources, but we are often deficient in Omega 3s.

What role do the Omega Fatty Acids play in our body?

Omega Fatty Acids produce prostaglandins, active lipid compounds that regulate several bodily functions such as blood clotting, blood pressure, and heart rate. Likewise, they are considered essential for our cardiovascular health, nervous and immune systems.

How do Omega Fatty Acids impact the skin?

Omega Fatty Acids play a critical role in our skin’s health. Omega Fatty Acids are a vital component of the Stratum Corneum (the uppermost layer of the skin) together with sebum and Ceramides. If we don’t get sufficient amounts of Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids through our diet, it can affect our skin. It can result in dryness, flakiness, and irritation (among other things).

Are there skin benefits to topical application of Omega Fatty Acids?

In short, yes. Omega Fatty Acids keep our moisture barrier healthy.

• They prevent Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and help the skin retain moisture.
• Omega Fatty Acids protect and repair the skin’s barrier and, by doing this, they keep it looking smooth and healthy.
• When Omega Fatty Acids are present in the required amounts, they regulate sebum production and improve the skin’s elasticity.
• Research suggests Omega Fatty Acids help photoprotect the skin against UV light (although that doesn’t mean you should forgo your sunscreen).
• Research also proposes they prevent photoaging.
• Omega Fatty Acids regulate the inflammatory response in the skin.

Should you include products with Omega Fatty Acids in your skincare routine?

Some argue there is no need for Omega Fatty Acids in your skincare routine if your skin is normal and healthy. It means you are getting the required amount in your diet.

However, consider them if your skin is dry, dehydrated, or your moisture barrier is impaired. Omega Fatty Acids can be a good way to replenish, hydrate, and soothe the skin. As always, if you are using a new product, make sure to patch test first. Look for skincare products that combine Omega Fatty Acids with other skin-replenishing ingredients like Ceramides, Cholesterol, and Glycerin. Likewise, some plant oils are a rich source of Omega Fatty Acids and may work great for dry, irritated, and flaky skin.

Do you use skincare products with Omega Fatty Acids? Are you happy with the results?

About the author

Roberta Striga

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