Bring Back Fats! - Part 2

by Marie Veronique

The Right Oils
The skin ecosystem requires a vast assortment of micronutrients and phytochemicals to perform optimally. When we develop a product, numerous factors must be considered—specifically selection, variety and balance. To give you an idea of how we go about it, let’s look at the thought process behind the development of our Protective Day Oil.

Oil Selection
Oil selection is, of course, key, and we incorporate the latest research findings on the role of ingredients like essential fatty acids—vital to maintaining skin health—into the selection process.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Certain nutrients are crucial for healthy skin. But, there's one nutrient skin cannot go without, needs in rather large amounts to thrive, and is hard to get. You guessed it—omega-3 essential fatty acids. In fact, a good deal of clinical research now traces aging changes back to either omega-3/omega 6 imbalances, or a deficiency of omega-3. Of course, simply supplying omega-3s is not enough. Within the omega-3 group there are two types essential to maintaining skin health: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). These two types are either not made in the body or are inefficiently converted from alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). We need to get them from our diet and find sources we can apply directly to the skin, because, according to the Linus Pauling Institute, “topical application is also a successful route of EFA delivery to the skin.”

What they do for skin:
  • Hydration: EPA regulates oil production in your skin, and having it in abundance prevents drying and flaking. 
  • Antioxidant: Omega-3 fatty acids act as antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage.
  • Wrinkle prevention: A 2005 study in the Journal of Lipid Research discovered that EPA can help block the release of the UV-induced enzymes that eat away at our collagen, thus warding off sagging skin and wrinkles.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Omega-3s play an important role in reducing inflammation throughout the body by reducing the body’s production of inflammatory compounds.
  • Anti-cancer: An in vitro study appearing in the July 2013 Journal of Carcinogenesis, found that omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA, blocks the growth and induces cell death in early- and late-stage cancers. The head researcher noted that the levels of omega-3s required to kill cancer cells did not affect normal cells, indicating that this might be an effective treatment for skin cancer.

As we can see from the research findings above EPA primarily found in certain fish, plays a crucial role in maintaining skin health. Most experts say that DHA and EPA—from fish and fish oil—have better established health benefits than ALA. DHA and EPA are found together only in fatty fish and algae. DHA can also be found on its own in algae, while flaxseed and plant sources of omega-3s provide ALA, a precursor to EPA and DHA. 

Applying one oil alone, no matter how good, is like taking one vitamin alone; it’s just not enough to build and maintain beautiful skin. For example, we know that vitamin C delivers enormous skin benefits, but that doesn’t mean we can neglect other vitamins such as A, B complex and E, as well as antioxidants that are required to round out your skin’s safety net.

Here is what we have so far in our Protective Day Oil:
  • Antioxidants: astaxanthin, pomegranate seed oil, broccoli seed oil, red raspberry seed oil
  • Vitamin A: rosehip seed oil (contains natural retinol)
  • Vitamins and carotenoids: avocado oil, tomato seed oil
  • Omega-6 (a-linolenic acid): sesame seed oil
  • Gamma-linoleic acid: borage oil
  • Omega-3: kiwi seed oil, chia seed oil
  • DHA/EPA: algae oil

This is a lot to digest, and we still haven’t addressed many of the oils used in Protective Day Oil. Our next post will focus on the oils that provide the all-important balance to our oil blend. Balance is key to preventing inflammation, and since skin aging is considered a by-product of inflammation, I think it deserves a blog post all its own. Until next time!

Have a question about our blog content and how it may apply to your own skin concerns? Email us here to get personalized advice from our on-call estheticians, or browse our Product Recommendations here.