Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids
Omega 6 essential fatty acids are one of the two essential fatty acids. Together with Omega 3 essential fatty acids, they play a significant role in maintaining healthy body function.
Omega 6 Fatty Acids Speed Up Skin Repair
Contradictory to the popular belief that Omega 6 fatty acids cause 'bad inflammation' in the body, these essential fatty acids have a pivotal role in the body's renewal process.
The body's mechanism in repairing the damaged cells and tissues can be summarised in three steps:
1. The Inflammation Process
Inflammation is part of the body's defense mechanism that has a crucial role in the repair process. Without triggering inflammation, the body can't repair the damaged cells and tissues.
The ability of Omega 6 fatty acids to accelerate inflammation (acute inflammation) when the body is injured or attacked (infected) by foreign microorganism(s), helps speed up the healing and renewal process.
Depending on the duration of inflammation, it can be either acute or chronic inflammation.
1.1. Acute Inflammation
Acute inflammation is a short-term inflammation. It is part of the body's healing process. When the body is under attack from bacteria, virus and other foreign organisms; it triggers inflammation to fight off the infection.
1.2. Chronic inflammation
Chronic inflammation is a sign that the body is struggling to fight off the infection. The inflammation becomes out of control and goes on and on. Overtime, it causes serious damage to the body.
Chronic inflammation has been associated with various diseases including cancers, diabetes, heart disease, alzheimer's, arthritis, psoriasis and premature ageing skin.
2. The Decrease in The Releases of Pro-Inflammatory Agents
After fighting off the infection, the body reduces the releases of pro-inflammatory agents. This is a very crucial process to prevent acute inflammation to turn into chronic inflammation.
3. The Releases of Various Growth Factors
Along with the decrease of pro-inflammatory agents, the body releases various growth factors to build new cells and repair the damaged ones. Various growth factors such as transforming growth factor (TGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF), are released during the body renewal process including the skin renewal process.
Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids Strengthen Skin Barrier Function
Numerous studies showed that Omega 6 essential fatty acids help speed up the skin's healing process and strengthen the skin's barrier function.
It has also been reported that Linoleic Acid is beneficial for all skin types including acne-prone skin. Several studies revealed that compared to other skin types, acne-prone skin has a remarkably lower content of Linoleic Acid. Hence, the regular topical application of Linoleic Acid may reduce skin breakouts.
Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids Help Prevent UV-Induced Skin Discolouration
A study published in Archives of Dermatological Research (Journal) showed that omega 6 essential fatty acids help maintain even skin tone and prevent UV-induced skin ageing.
A regular application of Linoleic Acid has been proven to help prevent and reduce uv-induced hyperpigmentation commonly known as age spots, sun spots or liver spots.
Cacay oil which contains up to 85% Linoleic Acid can be used as the vegan alternative to conventional skin-tone perfecting ingredients such as kojic acid, retinol, tretinoin (trans retinoic acid), niacinamide, arbutin and hydroquinone.
The Best Sources of Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids
There are some sources of Omega 6 fatty acids such as Cacay oil, Pumpkin Seed Oil, Flaxseed oil, Hempseed oil, Lucuma nut oil and Grapeseed oil.
Cacay oil contains up to 85% of Linoleic Acid. It is one of the best sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), the healthy fats. Linoleic Acid boosts skin renewal and helps protect skin against environmental damage.
The Cosmetic and Skincare Uses of Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids
As a skincare product formulator, I like to use Cacay oil as the source of Omega 6 fatty acids. It is surprisingly light yet very nourishing. It is suitable for all skin types, even acne-prone skin can benefit from Cacay oil. It is one of the main ingredients in both Bio-Renewal Face Oil, Rose Gold Antioxidant Youthful Serum and Rose and Cacay Hydrating Cream.
For skin that needs extra protection against dryness and daily stress, Chamomile & Cacay Oil is the ideal product. Gently massage 4 to 6 drops into clean face & neck. Use it after serum or before moisturiser to lock in moisture, strengthen skin's natural defense, promote radiance and reduce wrinkles and lines.
If you are concerned with signs of ageing and yet prefer the light-texture formula, try Rose Gold Antioxidant Youthful Serum or Rose and Cacay Hydrating Cream. Both contain cacay oil, rose extract and saccharide isomerate to soothe, strengthen and protect skin from premature signs of ageing.
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Sources: Wound Healing and Omega-6 Fatty Acids: From Inflammation to Repair, Mediators of Inflammation, 2018: 2018: 2503950; Linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid lightens ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation of the skin, Archives of Dermatological Research, 1998 Jul, 290(7): 375-81; Digital image analysis of the effect of topically applied linoleic acid on acne microcomedones, Clinical And Experimental Dermatology, 1998 Mar: 23(2): 56-8.