Linoleic Acid For Persistent Acne

What Is Persistent Acne?

Persistent acne refers to a wide variety of types of acne that are resistant to treatments. Over time, an acne sufferer may try a multitude of treatments including both oral and topical treatments, including lifestyle changes to no avail. Unfortunately, persistent acne takes a toll on one physically and mentally. It may seem as though there is no way to cure or significantly improve the acne. However by learning about the benefits of supporting the skin barrier and taking steps towards overall skin health, your acne can and will improve.  

Is Linoleic Acid Good For Acne Prone Skin?

Linoleic acid is a type of essential fatty acid found in the skin. It is also found in a number of different plant oils that can be applied topically and consumed orally in the form of capsules. It is an incredibly important fatty acid that plays a major role in skin function. The skin barrier is made up of a network of proteins, structures and other substances that balances water content and moisture in the skin. This keeps out microbes and other types of bacteria to reduce chances of infection and other skin conditions such as dry scaly skin. Linoleic acid is part of sebum. It helps to condition the skin, maintain the lipid concentrations in the skin barrier, regulate sphingolipids in the skin, and contributes to the pH balance of the skin.

Major factors that contribute to acne formation includes a high pH, damaged skin barrier, reduction of fatty acid content, the introduction of bacteria to the skin, and the use of cosmetic formulations that irritate the skin and clog hair follicles. Since linoleic acid plays a role in conditioning the skin, a reduction in linoleic acid has been implicated in the pathogenesis of acne. The structure of the skin barrier is heavily reliant on the integrity of the stratum corneum, or the top layer of the skin. The level of free fatty acid content in the skin is incredibly important in maintaining proper functioning of the skin. Therefore, low concentrations of linoleic acid in the skin can cause inflammation in the skin which leads to redness and breakouts.

The presence of linoleic acid in the skin is very important and beneficial for acne prone skin. When the skin barrier is damaged, the permeability barrier is breached and causes the skin to be more susceptible to inflammatory reactions. Diets low in linoleic acid can cause dry and scaly skin. It plays a role in managing the water content in the skin. Low linoleic acid content causes transepidermal water loss, which damages the skin barrier and leads to breakouts.

Is Linoleic and Linolenic Acid The Same?

Although these are similar names, linoleic acid and linolenic acid are not the same. While they are both essential fatty acids, linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid while linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid. The differences between their structures involves differences in the double bonds of the carbon atoms in their chemical structures. Both of these acids are needed by the body for growth, repair, metabolism, and play a role in inflammation in the body. Often, an imbalance between omega-6, omega-3, and omega-9 fatty acids causes an imbalance in the body which can contribute to the formation of acne. Therefore, it is important to receive adequate amounts of each through diet.

Is Jojoba Oil High In Linoleic Acid?

Since jojoba oil is more of a wax-substance than an oil, it is not high in linoleic acid. Instead, it is composed of another type of fatty acid as well as a small amount of oleic acid. Jojoba oil has been shown to display anti-inflammatory effects when applied to the skin. In addition, it speeds up wound healing and has antioxidant effects. It is soothing on the skin and resembles skin sebum closely, which reduces the chance of irritation and redness when applied topically.

Is Olive Oil High In Linoleic Acid? 

Olive oil has varying amounts of linoleic acid. The majority of content in olive oil is made up of oleic acid (more than 50% of the composition is made up of oleic acid). While olive oil may seem great to use for its moisturizing properties, it can actually have detrimental effects on the skin. Olive oil may provide some anti-inflammatory properties and speed up wound healing, however, it has been shown to promote a damaged skin barrier and frequent use of olive oil in cosmetic formulations may contribute to skin dryness, an increase in transepidermal water loss, and a reduction in the function of the permeability barrier of the skin. 

Which Oil Is Highest In Linoleic Acid?

Both safflower oil and grapeseed oil have the highest percentages of linoleic acid content. With both of these oils having a linoleic acid content of over 70%, they can be an amazing addition to your skincare routine, both on their own, and when they are present in cosmetic formulations. Safflower oil, when taken orally and administered topically, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin. However, more research must be done to see its effects on wound healing and the skin barrier. Grapeseed oil has phenolic compounds, displays antioxidant activity, and contains a multitude of vitamins that may contribute to overall skin health. Although more studies are needed to identify its benefits when applied topically to the skin, grapeseed oil contains substances such as resveratrol that have shown to be anti-inflammatory and speed up wound healing.


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