Can Fat Help Dry Skin?

EFAs

The dreaded F-word: fat.

Although many think fat-free is the way to go, if you find that not even topical ingredients help your dry skin, take a look at your diet.  While fats are given a negative connotation, they are a crucial component of good health as it helps your body retain heat, lubricates the skin and assists in absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Not All Fats Are Created Equal

So does this mean you can overly indulge in french fries?  Wishful thinking, but no.  Fried foods don’t make the cut. However, the benefits you’ll reap from the good fats just may outweigh this notion and allow for the occasional treat.

Enter essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are acids the body can’t manufacture on its own and therefore need to be obtained through our diet.  EFAs are necessary for brain and body development, metabolism, and hair and skin growth.   At a cellular level, EFAs are important because cell membranes hold water in, and the stronger they are, the better your skin cells can retain that moisture.  A deficiency in EFAs can result in dermatitis (eczema), reduced barrier function, scaly skin and increased moisture loss.

 EFA Types: Omega-3 and Omega-6.

Linoleic acid is an omega-6 that is used to make important hormones and maintains the lipid barrier of the skin.  Linoleic acid is found in oils made from safflower, grapeseed, sunflower, corn, soybean, borage and flaxseed but is also found in raw nuts, seeds and legumes. *It’s important to note that high amounts of omega-6 can promote inflammation, so low amounts are key.  The typical American diet has an excess of omega-6.

Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 that is a popular nutrient for healthy skin and reduces inflammation.  The Mediterranean diet is high in omega-3.  Sources of omega-3 rich foods include salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, trout, cod, fish oil, walnuts, flax, pumpkin seeds and algae.

Dry skin, for the most part can be reversed with topical and ingested supplementation.  However, ALWAYS consult a medical professional and/or registered dietitian before implementing any changes in your diet to verify there are no contraindications with certain medical conditions or medications.

Do you notice a difference in your skin with certain foods you eat or don’t eat? Do share! 

Disclaimer:  The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.  

To Shea!

shea butter

Suffering from eczema, psoriasis or dry skin?

Here is one topical ingredient that can improve and relieve symptoms associated with these skin conditions.

Who: Butyrospermum Parkii, or shea butter

What skin types/conditions it can help: Dry, aging, eczema and psoriasis               

Where it comes from: The nut of the karite tree which grows in Africa

Why it’s important: Rich in vitamins A and E (antioxidants) and vitamin F (an Essential Fatty Acid known as linoleic acid), shea butter protects the skin from free radicals, helps minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and is a great emollient.  It also has soothing and nourishing properties

How it helps with dry, aging, eczema and psoriasis: Emollients maintain soft, smooth, pliable skin; remain on skin surface to act as a lubricant; reduce flaking; and improve appearance.  The soothing and nourishing aspects help repair the skin barrier.  Linoleic acid in skin care helps provide anti-inflammatory, moisturizing and healing support.