Applications of Essential Fatty Acids in Skin Care, Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals

February 20, 2009 | Contact Author | By: Janice Brenner, BSP, MSc, MH, WT Bioriginal Food & Science Corp.
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  • Keywords/Abstract

Keywords: essential fatty acid | lipid | barrier function | prostaglandins | inflammation | eicosanoids | gamma linolenic acid | eicosapentaenoic acid | docosahexaenoic acid

Abstract: Skin benefits of essential fatty acids include enhancement of cell membrane structure and function, barrier maintenance and recovery, anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory effects and penetration enhancement. Their metabolism is described and their use in cosmetics and cosmeceuticals is surveyed.

The essential fatty acids (EFAs) include fatty acids of the omega-6 and omega-3 families. The omega-6 family is comoprised of linoleic acid (LA) and it longer chain derivatives such as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid (AA); the omega-3 fatty acid family is comprised of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and its loonger chain derivatives eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

The beneficial effects obtained from these physiologic lipids may be achieved by increasing the dietary intake of essential fatty acids, and perhaps more so, by topical application of essential fatty acid-enriched formulations. Topical products incorporating essential fatty acids include moisturizing creams and lotions, bar soaps, lipsticks, shampoos, and therapeutic skin preparations for dryness, eczema, and psoriasis.