Esthetician advice: essential fatty acids for acne + skin

Essential fatty acids for acne and skin health

We all know that we need essential fatty acids to stay healthy. But so many people don’t realize that the health and appearance of your skin depends on them, too. Supplementing with essential fatty acids helps improve your skin from the inside out in many ways, including helping with acne, moisture content and elasticity, wrinkles, and even hormone balance.

The role of your skin’s protective barrier and why it’s so important

Essential fatty acids for acne and your skin barrier- illustration
Your skin barrier: working to retain moisture and protect from environmental factors (left) versus losing moisture and allowing hormone-disruptive chemicals to enter (right).

The outer layer of your skin (the stratum corneum) serves as a protective barrier, helping to keep chemicals, germs, allergens, and other substances from entering the skin. When your skin’s protective barrier is functioning correctly, you can minimize absorption of chemicals that lead to hormone imbalance, reduce acne, and also raise moisture levels, retain nutrients, and minimize the look of thin, papery-looking skin.

It’s easy and common for the skin barrier to become damaged or lose its integrity. Aging and the transition to menopause naturally change the health of the skin and the amount of protection it can offer. So can environmental factors, like the sun, aggressive or frequent exfoliation, and some astringent or drying cosmetics or personal care products. Redness, dryness, and acne lesions are all outward signs your skin barrier isn’t functioning optimally and needs help. When a client has symptoms of hormone imbalance, it’s also a good idea to evaluate the protective barrier. Improving it can limit pass-through of environmental hormone disruptors.

Why essential fatty acids work so well for your protective barrier (+ acne and skin health)

Our entire body (and every cell in it) needs essential fatty acids—they’re not just for acne and skin health. But when you improve the level of fatty acids in the body, you greatly help the skin. Essential fatty acids (omega-3s and omega-6, 7, and 9) give skin cells what they need to repair and restore their membranes and minimize transepidermal water loss (retain moisture). That keeps your skin’s protective barrier intact.

When used consistently over time, fatty acids lower inflammation in the skin. Reduced inflammation helps reduce redness and manage acne, including cystic hormonal acne. EFAs also reduce fine lines and areas of hyper-pigmentation. Evening primrose oil, a gamma-linolenic acid, has been used for nearly 100 years for eczema. It also relieves psoriasis plaques and symptoms of menopause for some women.

What to look for in supplementing essential fatty acids for your skin barrier

Any supplement you use should be high-quality and pure. My spa, k.e.y esthetics, is a DMK Paramedical-Certified Clinic. We recommend DMK EFA+, a potent supplement with essential fatty acids 3, 6, 7, and 9. This product has been personally helpful for me and also for my clients’ skin and is made from pure materials. It contains sea buckthorn oil and evening primrose oil, which comes straight from New Zealand valleys, right from volcanic soil. When looking for EFAs, the method of extraction also matters. For example, if a company soaks seeds to extract ingredients, the end result won’t be as powerful. Active ingredients can be destroyed in the process. A better way to extract ingredients and make sure they’re effective is to use carbon dioxide.

Another thing to look for in an EFA supplement for your skin: omega 7. DMK’s research shows omega 7 correlates to skin and gastrointestinal tract health. Building better gut health helps your body absorb the nutrients from food and your supplements. That way, you actually reap the benefits of what you’re taking.

If your esthetician recommends DMK EFA+, the standard dose equals one or two capsules once or twice daily. Sometimes, that dose is increased to meet what your skin’s unique needs. Make sure to take it on full stomach and drink a glass of water.

Possible side effects of essential fatty acid supplementation

Essential fatty acids are overwhelmingly safe. Talk to your doctor if you’re taking a product with evening primrose oil while on certain medications or have specific health conditions, like epilepsy or hormone-sensitive cancers.

Kristie Duduka, L.E., Paramedical DMK Skin Therapist
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