Fatty acids are substances that form the outer membrane of cells, where the regulation of molecules which are allowed to pass through takes place. This is important for healthy cell function, as well as improving the look and feel of the skin.
Essential fatty acids are those that cannot be produced by the body, so in order to reap their many benefits, you need to add them to your diet through food and supplements. What many people don’t realize, however, is that you can also topically apply fatty acids to your skin to help nourish and moisturize it directly for a more youthful and healthy-looking complexion.
What Are Fatty Acids?
Fatty acids can be described as long chains of hydrocarbons with a terminal carboxyl group. They may be saturated or unsaturated. The unsaturated category includes the two primary groups of essential fatty acids: omega-3s and omega-6s. Other types of fatty acids such as omega-9s are produced via metabolism within the body, whereas these two types are not and therefore must be obtained through diet, supplements and topical application.
There are many plant sources of essential fatty acids, so these ingredients are easy to incorporate into your daily diet and skincare routine. Fatty acids may provide a variety of benefits for the skin, including improving the appearance of aged, tired-looking skin, providing moisturization free radical protection and promoting healthy cell function (Linus Pauling Institute).
Dietary Sources of Fatty Acids
Both omega-3s and omega-6s are relatively easy to obtain through your regular diet, although it’s important to keep in mind that not all sources of these fatty acids are healthy. Unfortunately, many Americans consume the majority of their omega-6 fatty acids through foods fried in vegetable or corn oils. Instead, consuming a higher ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s can offer many more health and skin benefits (Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism). Some excellent sources of healthy omega-6 fatty acids include:
- Leafy vegetables
Omega-3s are found in foods like:
- Sweet potatoes
Fatty Acids in Skincare
In addition to consuming a healthy ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s, you can also obtain fatty acids through the skincare products that you apply every day. In fact, adding fatty acids to your regular skincare routine can help to improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles by keeping your skin moisturized and plumped for a youthful tone and texture.
When searching for fatty acids in skincare, it’s important to know what to look for on the product labeling. Many ingredients such as ceramides, olive oil and jojoba oil contain fatty acids and can therefore provide gentle moisturization and nourishment that won’t clog pores or irritate the skin.
You can find ceramides and other fatty acids as part of the skinbetter science AlphaRet™ formula, which also contains a revolutionary blend of a retinoid plus an alpha hydroxy acid to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles with little to no irritation*.
Similarly, skinbetter science Daily Treatment Cream EYE utilizes jojoba esters to help diminish dryness while simultaneously locking in moisture.
The most complete approach to maintaining bright, healthy-looking skin is to combine a balanced diet with the most effective topical skincare ingredients. Essential fatty acids are necessary components of beautiful, glowing skin, so be sure to include items that contain them in your daily diet and beauty routine to give your skin the nutrients it needs to look and feel its absolute best.
*Individual results may vary.