Important in foods like fish and nuts, these essential fats are good for good health – and radiant skin! We’re talking omega fatty acids – unique ingredients that straddle the line between both the health and beauty spaces, with skin-healthy benefits that are out of this world.
You might think of omega-3s as fish oil supplements or as the alpha-linolenic acid commonly found in moisturizers and creams. However, others like oleic acid and linoleic acid are stars for strengthening and smoothing the skin.
Read on as we discuss the benefits and uses of these two common compounds found in skin care products. We’ll also tell you how to decide which one is right for your skin type.
olek vs. Linoleic acids: Which one is right for your skin type?
When trying to find the best skin care products and ingredients, you may have come across oleic and linoleic acid. While these names may sound a bit intimidating, they are not.
In fact, you’ve probably heard of omega-6 or oleic acid and omega-9 or linoleic acid. They play key roles as building blocks in skin cells. It strengthens the skin’s surface layers for smoother, healthier, younger looking skin.
Knowing your skin type will help you choose between fatty acids. Oils rich in linoleic acid are thinner, while oils rich in oleic acid are heavier, providing deeper hydration.
Linoleic acid is easily absorbed into the skin. It is a better choice for oily, acne-prone and sensitive skin. However, oleic acid is thicker and feels richer. This benefits those with dry, dehydrated and aging skin.
Linoleic acid is also more lightweight than oleic acid, which means it can be more easily absorbed by the skin. Since individuals with acne generally have lower levels of linoleic versus oleic acid in their sebum, linoleic acid can help treat acne. This means that oils with higher levels of linoleic acid are helpful in controlling acne.
Both of these acids are great for keeping your skin happy, healthy, and glowing – and they work well together too! If you have combination skin, you can benefit from a balance of both or roughly equal amounts of linoleic and oleic acids. But depending on your skin’s needs, you may be better off with one over the other.
Common Sources of Oleic Acid
If taking supplements isn’t your thing, no problem. It is actually important to consume enough of these healthy fats through your diet. Let us take you through some of the best food sources of oleic acid.
If you’ve ever heard of the Mediterranean diet, much of its health success is attributed to the healthy fats found in olive oil. Oleic acid turns out to be the most abundant component in olive oil, making it an A+ fatty acid for health and skin.
Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid found in many healthy, high-fat foods, including plant and animal sources. You can get oleic acid in your diet by eating avocado, almond, and macadamia nuts, as well as marula, canola, and sesame oils.
Common Sources of Linoleic Acid
The body does not produce linoleic acid naturally, but it is found in abundance in the epidermis (the outer layer) of your skin. You may be wondering, where does it come from if the body doesn’t produce linoleic acid? Well, our bodies can manufacture them from the foods we eat.
We can get linoleic acid from vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, soybean, corn, rosehip, evening primrose, and canola oils, as well as nuts and seeds. Foods that are high in ALAs include flaxseed oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, canola oil, walnuts, edamame, navy beans, avocado, whole wheat bread, and oatmeal.
How to use oleic or linoleic acid in your skincare routine
You can either search for a product that contains fatty acids directly or search for products that contain vegetable oils rich in omega fatty acids. Some of the most common ones include safflower (omega-6), sunflower (omega-6 and 9), rosehip (omega-6 and 3) and black currant seed oil (omega-6). You can use these oils in place of moisturizer or on top of moisturizer for extra hydration.
Looking at this breakdown alone provides a good indication of the benefits it can provide to the skin. Of course, the fatty acid content isn’t the only thing to look at, but it’s a great place to start. Using the information above, you can narrow down the oils to suit your skin type and needs.