Fats often get a bad rep but there are healthy fats that the body needs and essential fatty acids are one of them. Essential fatty acids are necessary for regulating healthy cell membranes, and maintaining a healthy moisture barrier in the skin. Unfortunately, the body is unable to produce essential fatty acids like omega 3 and omega 6 on its own and we have to rely on consuming foods like, spinach, kale, flaxseed oil, brazil nuts, avocados, pumpkin seeds, uncooked olive oil, walnuts, and fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines, and albacore tuna.
When it comes to skincare, topical application of products containing essential fatty acids work better than consumption as the liver oxidises essential fatty acids before they are able to reach peripheral tissues. In skincare products, fatty acids are often listed as linoleic acid, arachidonic acid, eicosatetraenoic acid or docosahexaenoic acid.
Insufficient fatty acids often result in increased transepidermal water loss which eventually results in parched skin. Research has also suggested that they are able to protect against UV damage as well as photoageing, which is marked by the loss of skin elasticity and firmness.
Since the body doesn’t product fatty acids, they have to be constantly replenished. In skincare products, they are most commonly found in facial oils like rose hip oil, argan oil and maracuja oil, so even if you have oily skin, it would be a good idea to include a non-comedogenic face oil in your beauty regimen to hydrate without clogging up pores.