Is your skin dry, or sensitive? Do you burn within minutes of being out in the sun without sunscreen? Does your skin react negatively to retinoic acid or glycolic acids? Are your menstrual cramps a bit too unbearable? Do you crave fast food, French fries and chips on a regular basis? You are most likely deficient in good fats – i.e. Essential Fatty Acids.
What are essential fatty acids?
EFAs are fatty acids needed by the human body for proper cell function, protein processing and energy synthesis. They are “essential” for human life, yet are not produced by the human body. EFAs need to be supplemented into the daily diet from food sources (as explained below.) Omega 3, 6 and 9 are often grouped together in supplements, yet 3 and 6 are the only essential fatty acids. Omega 3 is broken down further into 3A and 3B. Both are needed by the skin for healthy metabolism, moisture content and collagen (the most abundant skin protein) production. EFAs have all sorts of health benefits (including weight management, energy production, brain function, etc.) Without them, we would not be able to survive for long…. literally.
Why are they important for skin health?
Essential Fatty Acids help with the production of collagen. Without EFAs, the body cannot produce healthy proteins. Collagen is the most prominent and important protein in your skin, keeping it healthy, soft, supple, and youthful. If EFAs are needed in the production of healthy collagen, they are definitely important for preventing pre-mature aging and correcting signs of skin damage.
EFAs are also powerful anti-inflammatories. Since most skin imbalances stem from internal inflammation…maybe it would be a good idea to bulk up you internal supply.
Omega 6 is known for being the all-important skin fatty acid. In addition to supplementing your daily diet, Omega 6 is beneficial when applied topically – and is a great ingredient to look for in your skincare products (usually in the form of safflower, sunflower, and evening primrose oils.) Omega 6 helps the skin produce natural oils that keep the surface moisturized and protected from hypersensitivity, as well as from the elements. To be blunt, EFAs help keep your skin strong and balanced – which leads to a reduction in all kinds of skin symptoms like dryness, irritation, breakouts, hyper-pigmentation, and fine lines.
*Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, ACNE, and dermatitis can all benefit from EFA supplementation. Want more info? Here is an article on the importance of essential fatty acids.