Beauty is very personal and different products resonate with each person in a different way. There is no definitive “best” routine, solution, cream, or serum for the skin; rather, the best skin care products are the ones that work best for your skin. That said, there are certain ingredients in various products that stand out more than others. In fact, it is universally understood that certain body oils are great for most skin types. The best part? They are unscented and have high concentrations of essential fatty acids.
A Little Info About The Skin
The skin has two main layers, the epidermis and the dermis. Both of these primary layers are comprised of specialized cell types that contribute to the uniqueness of each layer. The epidermis consists of keratinocytes in varying states of differentiation. They help to prevent water loss and the invasion of toxins and microbes, serving to enhance skin barrier function. The dermis, which mostly consists of collagen and elastin, helps to provide physical and nutritional support to the epidermis.
What Are Essential Fatty Acids?
Essential fatty acids, like other essential nutrients, are types of fatty acids that the body cannot create on its own. This is because the body lacks the necessary enzymes to manufacture these ingredients from alternative food sources. That’s why you have to supply them via a steady, dietary stream. There are two families of essential fatty acids: omega 3 fatty acids, and omega 6 fatty acids, both of which are polyunsaturated fatty acids. You can obtain these essential fatty acids by eating different foods, or you can apply oils that contain them topically on the skin.
The Role Of Essential Fatty Acids In The Skin
When you supply the body with adequate amounts of essential fatty acids, it can perform optimally in several ways. As mentioned earlier, the epidermis (the skin’s top layers) form a barrier that locks in hydration and keeps irritants, allergens, and bacteria out. Essential fatty acids maintain the stratum corneum permeability barrier, serving as building blocks for the synthesis of complex lipids. These fatty acids are essentially part of the seal that sits in the cracks between cells in the epidermis, according to dermatologists. In simpler terms, fatty acids are like grout that sits between bathroom tiles. They maintain the integrity of the outer skin layer, helping the skin barrier do its job.
Although you can find essential fatty acids in various skin care products, they work particularly best in oils. The reason for this is because they complement an oil’s intended purpose, which is to create a protective seal on the skin. Face and body oils are always the last step in a skin care routine for a reason, and it is because they are occlusive. Products with occlusive properties work to lock in moisture and nutrients into the skin.
How To Find A Body Oil That’s Rich In Fatty Acids
Some brands infuse fatty acids directly into the formula, while other plant oils are naturally rich in them. If you purchase face or body oils, check to see if they have oleic acid, linoleic acid, or linolenic acid on the ingredient list. If you opt for plant oils, consider the following:
- Prickly pear seed oil: This oil is naturally rich in antioxidants and contains three major fatty acids (linoleic, oleic, and linolenic). Prickly pear seed oil also contains polyphenols that help the skin fight off free radicals.
- Grape seed oil: Having a good blend of linoleic, linolenic, and oleic fatty acids, grape seed oil is traditionally made by pressing grape seeds that are collected after grapes have been turned into wine. It also works to feed the skin nourishing vitamins and antioxidants, helping to moisturize and condition the skin.
- Sunflower seed oil: This oil primarily contains oleic and linoleic fatty acids, but it does exhibit an impressive vitamin E content. Because sunflower seed oil is a light oil that dries down quickly, it is ideal for the body. Beauty experts refer to it as a dry oil for this reason.
- Safflower seed oil: Most of safflower seed oil is of about 70% linoleic acid, with the remaining amount being linolenic, oleic, and other fatty acids. Most beauty experts agree that safflower oil is very well-rounded and noncomedogenic.
- Rosehip seed oil: This oil is mostly used for facial skin and has a great balance of oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids. In fact, it is an excellent source of these fatty acids!