The Naked Chemist solution for happy healthy skin that glows is simple:
A balanced diet and physiological skin care = healthy cells = healthy skin.
- Dry skin
- Dry hair
- Poor nails
- Atopic dermatitis
- Flaky scaling skin
- Poor wound healing
Then chances are, you may be seriously lacking in the essential fatty acid, linoleic acid.
One of the most important lipids for the skin and maintenance of your barrier function.
Additionally, studies show that fatty acids in the stratum corneum – the skin’s outer layer – are important for the maintenance of the surface acid mantle.
The importance of linoleic acid for a healthy skin has been known since 1929, when George and Mildred Burr carried out a series of pre-clinical experiments.
What was found was that a prolonged fat-free diet would lead to severe, scaly dermatosis, and a significant increase in transepidermal water loss (TEWL). They discovered that oral intake of linoleic acid could reverse these symptoms.
So why essential? Because you need them to LIVE, and your body can’t construct them naturally, so they have to be sourced externally.
Your skin contains cells embedded with an oil rich matrix known as lipids.
These lipids are made up of 50% ceramides, 20% fatty acids and 25% cholesterol.
These natural fats are an extremely important barrier substance, necessary for skin health.
They are essential for the organisation and structure of cells, protecting against water loss and keeping invading allergens and bacteria out.
Linoleic acid comes from the Omega 6 family of fats, they are required by our body to make ceramide 1 linoleate.
Ceramides play a vital role in the formation of the lipid bi-layers, found between the cells of the stratum corneum, keeping your skin strong and resilient.
Linoleic Acid Improves Barrier Function
The integrity of your skin’s barrier function depends on these interlocking sheets of lipids, that act as a type of mortar around the corneocyte cells.
Research has found that within two weeks of a fat free diet, plasma levels of linoleic acid significantly decrease and an abnormal fatty acid made from oleic acid makes its appearance.
This fatty acid results in a dry, inflamed skin.
Benefits of Linoleic Acid
It acts as an anti-inflammatory, acne reducer and moisture retainer.
Linoleic acid keeps your sebum (oil) flowing, preventing comedones. If sebum is deficient, it becomes dry and is more likely to block your pores.
One study on those suffering from acne, showed a regular intake of linoleic acid significantly reduced pustule size by up to 25%, in as little as one month in some people.
Products containing linoleic acid are the appropriate formulas for those suffering from dermatitis, as their skin generally shows a ceramide I deficiency.
Linoleic Acid, an Anti-Inflammatory
Apologies, but I am going to have to get a bit sciency here:
Our skin contains cool little chemical messengers called eicosanoids, which play a critical role in inflammatory and immune responses in our skin.
Eicosanoids are produced by enzymatic reactions between linoleic acid and lox enzymes, which produce hydroxy fatty acids, such as 13-hydroxyoctadecdienoic acid, that has anti-proliferative effects.
You can eat your linoleic acid in the form of omega 6 fatty acids as discussed earlier, or you can also put them directly on your skin for maximum benefits.
The Naked Truth
If your skin type is dry or sensitive, or you suffer from rosacea, eczema or dermatitis, then linoleic acid should be your new best friend.
I believe all preventative treatments should be about maintaining the health of your skins cells, internally and topically and should have a particular focus on keeping your barrier function intact.
My formulas are inspired by the skin’s natural structure. Fortify Barrier Repair Cream and Bio Lipid Complex contain linoleic acid and lipids similar to those found in the skin, and have a physical structure similar to the skin’s barrier defence layers. Replenishing your skin with a topical application of skin-identical ingredients containing linoleic, cholesterol, and ceramides, will significantly improve the health of your skin.
When you apply missing lipids topically, your skin incorporates them as part of the stratum corneum lipids, leading to a significant improvement in the barrier function and reduction in many skin disorders.