Blame the avocado craze of the 2010s, but most of us are now well aware of the importance of “good fats” to our bodies. And while including them in your diet is great (they’re an A+ energy source, can benefit our cardiovascular health, and even help us live longer), there’s also a host of benefits that can come from it. of their application on your body. the skin. And that’s where linoleic acid comes in.
Linoleic acid is an essential omega-6 fatty acid known as “vitamin F, for ‘fat,'” explains SkinSpirit physician Linne Linder, ND. It is found in vegetable oils, including hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, grapeseed, argan, evening primrose, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sweet almond and prickly pear. barbarity.
Dr. Linder explains that your body uses the ingredient to create two different types of lipids that your skin needs to function optimally: ceramides, the “building blocks” of your barrier that help fill the gaps between skin cells. the skin ; and prostaglandins, which control inflammation, help your tissues heal from injuries.
“Linoleic acid is very nourishing for the skin,” says celebrity esthetician and dermatology nurse Natalie Aguilar. “I like to think of it as the fat cushion that prevents water loss while giving skin a supple bounce with antioxidant protection.”
The benefits of linoleic acid for the skin
1. Fortifies the skin barrier
A well-functioning skin barrier is the cornerstone of healthy skin, and linoleic acid’s greatest asset is its ability to help keep yours strong. Thanks to the fact that it catalyzes your body to produce lipids similar to those of the skin, “it helps to support and repair the skin barrier, increasing the hydration of the skin and increasing its elasticity and its softness”, says NYC-based board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD. “Because it strengthens cell membranes, linoleic acid is a top-notch protector of the skin barrier,” adds Dr. Linder. It also helps defend your complexion against environmental aggressors, like pollution and damage. by UV, and prevents irritation.
2. Helps with hydration
“When you protect the skin barrier, you help lock in moisture and prevent skin from drying out,” says Dr. Linder, who explains why topical linoleic acid can be helpful for hydration. Specifically, “linoleic acid is hydrating because it helps reduce transepidermal water loss, which is the leakage of water from our skin,” says Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, MD FAAD, board-certified dermatologist. Miami administration and founder of Dr. Loretta skincare In other words, a strong skin barrier helps lock in moisture below the surface of your skin, which keeps your complexion from drying out.
3. Brightens the skin
Linoleic acid helps stimulate cell turnover, which brings healthy new cells to the surface of your skin to replace dead, dull cells. Through this process, “it increases the luminosity of the skin and softens the texture,” says Dr. Ciraldo, and “keeps the skin softer and smoother,” adds Dr. Linder.
4. Controls Acne
Acne-prone skin is commonly associated with low levels of linoleic acid, and adding the ingredient topically to your routine can help clear things up. “Because this fatty acid is an anti-inflammatory agent, it’s good for relieving acne,” says Dr. Linder. It keeps sebum soft and prevents hardening of sebum so comedones – or clogged pores – don’t form as easily. essence, this sebum-softening mechanism can help keep pores clear.
5. Reduces irritation
What’s great about linoleic acid is that it blends well with other ingredients and can be used with more intense actives to help keep your skin calm. “I recommend incorporating it into your skincare regimen as it helps alleviate the dryness and irritation that we may experience from harsher ingredients, such as retinoids, AHAs, and glycolic acid. “, explains Dr. Ciraldo.
6. Healthier hair
Consider this an added benefit: According to Dr. King, your locks will love linoleic acid, too. “Research has shown that including oleic and linoleic acid in hair care products helps the scalp absorb other ingredients faster and more effectively,” she says. “Another study found that linoleic acid promotes hair growth by improving the functioning of hair follicles and extending their life cycle so they can grow more hair.”
Who should use linoleic acid?
The short answer is everyone, because all skin types can benefit from a stronger skin barrier. According to the pros, it’s safe for all skin types (and can even be used post-procedure and during pregnancy), but it’s generally more beneficial for extra oily or dehydrated complexions.
“Acne-prone skin can especially benefit from the cell renewal and anti-inflammatory properties of this oil,” says Dr. Lindner, adding that it’s light enough that you don’t have to worry about it breaking down. clogs your pores. spectrum, a weakened skin barrier is one of the biggest side effects of super-dry skin, and the fortifying properties of linoleic acid can help.
That said, “Ultimately, anyone who desires a healthier, more youthful-looking complexion will benefit from using linoleic acid to prevent excessive dryness, irritation, inflammation, and rough texture. “, adds Dr. Lindner.
How to Add Linoleic Acid to Your Routine
Although linoleic acid rarely causes irritation (in most cases it actually helps reduce irritation caused by other products), be sure to do a patch test before introducing it into your routine. . If your skin doesn’t respond, you can start using it once a day, and as your skin develops a tolerance, you can start applying it morning and night.
Dr. Ciraldo notes that linoleic acid isn’t meant to be used as a standalone, and instead suggests looking for formulas that combine the ingredient with moisturizing actives, like vitamin E (which also acts as a stabilizer for help linoleic acid last longer). Below are three products that fit the bill.
Skinbetter Science Trio Rebalancing Hydrating Treatment — $145.00
“This treatment hydrates, supports the skin barrier, helps lock in moisture, and has even been shown in clinical studies to reduce the appearance of fine lines,” says Dr. King. “Hyaluronic acid and glycerin help hydrate skin with their humectant properties, and cholesterol, ceramides, linoleic and linolenic acids, and squalane provide barrier support.”
Dr. Loretta Skincare Intense Replenishing Serum — $70.00
Created by Dr. Ciraldo herself, this serum combines linoleic acid with other barrier-building ingredients (like glycolipids, lecithin, and linoleic acid) to lock in moisture beneath your skin and leave your complexion hydrate. It also contains vitamin E for a little extra nourishment and stabilization.
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