FUN FACT: Only two of the more than 300 known fatty acids are considered essential – linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid; and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. They’re considered essential because they are the only two that our bodies don’t produce, so we must get them through external sources. Our bodies need Essential Fatty Acid’s (EFA’s) for various functions, including maintaining healthy skin. We can obtain them through our diets or when it comes to our skin, we can also apply them externally. Interesting isn’t it?!
Someone who knows a thing or two about essential fatty acids and the skin is multi-award-winning Ella Searle founder and formulator Kelly Searle. I spoke with Kelly to answer my questions about essential fatty acids and the skin.
What role do EFA’s play in maintaining healthy, beautiful skin?
Linoleic acid (omega-6) is particularly important for the structural integrity of the skin. It contributes to the formation of ceramides, which make up 50% of the lipid (fat) molecules in the skins outer layer. These fatty molecules help to form a barrier that protects your skin from the external environment and locks in moisture, preventing dryness and irritation. Linoleic acid is an important building block used by our skin to produce these ceramides. Linoleic acid also keeps the skin hydrated by reducing the rate at which the skin loses water.
Alpha-linolenic (omega-3) reduces inflammation and helps to prevent skin ageing associated with UV exposure. The suns damaging rays are responsible for many signs of premature ageing, including wrinkles, age spots (or liver spots), and rough skin texture. Alpha-linolenic acid protects against the damaging effects of sunlight and has been shown to lighten dark pigmentation caused by repeated sun exposure.
Do our diets provide all the essential acids needed for our skin? What is the benefit of applying them topically?
Our main source of essential fatty acids comes from our diet, however a significant portion of the essential fatty acids we ingest are oxidized by the liver before they can reach the skin. Dietary deficiencies may also exist, particularly in omega-3. This becomes an issue in many vegan diets.
Essential fatty acids are important for maintaining a healthy skin barrier function and youthful looking skin and luckily for us, applying them to the skin is an effective way to directly boost skin levels. This means that if you’re wanting all the essential fatty acid skin benefits, you should not only consume them, but also apply them topically with some high-quality vegan skincare.
What are the consequences of having low skin levels of EFA’s?
Low levels of essential fatty acids have been linked with dry skin and premature skin ageing. Research also shows that low levels of EFA’s are associated with reduced UV protection, impaired wound healing and increased inflammatory skin disorders such as dermatitis and eczema. Interestingly, patients with acne have been shown to have low levels of EFA’s in their skin surface lipids, contributing to the severity of the condition.
Tell me about the essential fatty acids in your award-winning face oil (which is divine by the way!)
When choosing the main oils to include in my face oil formula, one important consideration was the level of essential fatty acids. Some commonly used oils have low levels, or don’t contain both.
To add to this, research shows that plant oils containing a higher ratio of essential fatty acids and a lower ratio of oleic acid (omega-9) are more effective for skin barrier repair. They are also better suited to acne prone skin. When skin levels of essential fatty acids are low, sebum is produced with more oleic acid, which is denser and more likely to block the follicle, leading to a pimple. Applying essential fatty acids helps to correct the imbalance and clear the follicle, while reducing inflammation.
So, one of the reasons I chose to use red raspberry and blackcurrant seed as my base oils, is they’re excellent sources of both essential fatty acids (omega-3 and omega-6) while being lower in oleic acid (omega-9). Getting this calculation right in your vegan skincare routine means better skin barrier function and repair, as well as better care for acne prone skin.
Kelly, how on earth do we get this formulation of high EFA’s and low Omega 9’s right?
You don’t have to. You can buy highly researched products where someone has created this formula for you! But if you want to check the percentages of different fatty acids in commonly used plant oils, you can usually find this information online by searching the botanical name and ‘fatty acid profile’.
So, in layman’s terms, why do we need EFA’s for our skin and where can we get them?
Essential fatty acids play a crucial role in keeping your skin functioning the way it should and looking its best. You can give your skin a concentrated dose of these important nutrients by applying a well-formulated face oil.
Aside from boasting high levels of both EFA’s, how does Ella Searle differ from other face oils on the market?
The research that has gone into creating my award-winning formula and the inclusion of high-quality base oils, is one important factor that sets my oil apart from others. Many brands appear to choose base oils around what is the cheapest, rather than what is most nutritive. I initially created my oil for personal use only and made sure that only the highest quality and scientifically proven ingredients made the cut.
While many other ‘natural’ face oils on the market are a combination of only plant oils and essential oils, my formula also features clinically tested actives, such as coenzyme Q10 and oil-soluble vitamin C, to effectively address visible signs of ageing. This gives my face oil the potency of a serum. Importantly, it is formulated with non-comedogenic oils and sinks in quickly, leaving the skin feeling satiny smooth and hydrated, with no oily residue.
There are no cheap fillers, no synthetic fragrance and of course, no animal testing or animal derived ingredients. My formula is certified by Vegan Australia and Choose Cruelty Free. It has also been certified toxic-free by Safe Cosmetics Australia. By choosing Youth Infusion Active Facial Oil, you are also supporting a small, Australian owned business with an Australian made product.
So there you have it! Kelly’s Youth Infusion Active Facial Oil is as good as it gets when we are talking about quality, science-based, vegan oils that provide our skin with the EFA’s that will help our skin look it’s best!
Here at The Vegan Box we were sold on it from the moment we tried it last year. That’s why we were thrilled to feature Kelly and her beautiful oil again in the June/July beauty box.
Happily this box has sold out in record time! But luckily for you, we have a sneaky, exclusive discount code for our readers to use at checkout on the Ella Searle website – simply enter VEGANBOX20 at checkout for 20% off your purchase!