Let’s have a look at how skin and fatty acids and how they’re used in the skin. First we should refresh our memories about the most smashing of organs: skin. Skin has a large amount of things it must do and many of them seem paradoxical. It has to keep things out, it needs to keep things in, and it has to let things pass. That is a lot of functions! The only possible way our skin can get all these competing jobs done is to be flexible, literally. Skin desires to keep moisture, and be soft and flexible. You don't need to be a doctor to be in a position to decipher what is healthy skin and what is not. We are hardwired to understand lovely skin because stunning skin is clear skin. You know that if you are having a look at hard, cracked, dry skin, that it's not healthy.
So how can fatty acids help our skin? We produce many fatty acids internally that are used all though our system. In fact there are just two that we don't and they are known as the indispensable fatty acids (EFA). The EFAs are Omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid and Omega 6 linoleic acid. We want to nourish our skin from the inside and the outside. So depending on what we are eating and how well we are looking after ourselves, hopefully we are manufacturing fatty acids internally. But we can (and should) also apply them topically to help our skin.
I have taken a look at the essential functions that skin needs to perform and tried to classify some of the commonest acids by how they can help the skin. This is just my classification, so take that bit of information and do with it what you will. In order for skin to be healthy and to function properly it needs to do 3 basic things: (1) create an efficient barrier; (two) stop damage to the skin; and (3) fix damage to the skin. Truthfully each acid performs a broad spread of functions in helping our skin, so this is not to say that simply because an acid isn’t listed under a certain category that it doesn't perform that function. Based totally on these three parameters, I've classified several of the fatty acids as follows:
Aids barrier function- keep bad stuff out, keeps moisture and good stuff in and permits suitable things to pass through the skin
-Palmitic acid (forms occlusive layer)
-CLA (antimicrobial, improve epidermal differentiation)
-Stearic acid (flexibility and moisture retention)
-Linoleic acid (provides moisture, lack of it leads to dry skin, scaling and acne)
-Oleic acid (moisturizing, softening, anti inflammatory)
-Gamma Linoleic acid (anti-inflammatory)
-Lauric acid (anti-fungal and antibacterial)
-Myristic acid (provides moisture, links proteins that form outermost layer of skin)
-Palmitoleic acid (prevents burns, injuries and scratches)
-Stearic acid (flexibility)
-Linoleic acid (absence of it leads to poor wound healing)
-Oleic acid (regenerating- aids with collagen and elastin)
-Gamma Linoleic acid (repairs skin barrier, helps reverse epidermal hyperproliferation)
-CLA (flexibility, ease inflammation, lighten skin)
-Myristic acid (regulates skin cell regeneration).