Superstar Spotlight: Linoleic Acid

Author Team Essentialist

We want you to be friends with linoleic acid. It has moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, acne-fighting, naturally exfoliating, and brightening properties; all essential for healthy, even, clear skin. Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated Omega-6 fatty acid that is naturally found in the skins lipid layer, in fact it’s most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid in the stratum corneum (i.e. the outer layer of the skin) and has a central role to play in maintaining skin health.

An interesting fact is that acne prone skin tends to have lower concentrations of linoleic acid compared to non-acne prone skin. This deficiency means sebum is often stickier, harder, and more pore clogging. When linoleic acid is lacking the skin also triggers an overproduction of oleic acid which can cause breakouts and subsequent imbalances of both extremes- either over dry or over oily.  In and of itself oleic acid is great for the skin but, for those with skin already out of balance, it can worsen the symptoms that cause breakouts.

Let's review the benefits:

Moisturizing: Linoleic acid helps to repair the skin barrier and improve its ability to function optimally, meaning it will be better equipped to fend off infection, pathogens, and breakouts. A healthy moisture barrier is integral for maintaining healthy skin. It is often ignored and even compromised by overly drying and aggressive products, especially those targeting acne.  Maintaining hydration levels means you will not only have a plumper looking complexion but, you’ll prevent the dryness that triggers overproduction of oil, and protect the barrier from vulnerability to breakouts and infection. 

Anti-Inflammatory: We must first understand that many skin conditions are caused by inflammation. Acne, eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis are all inflammatory diseases, so addressing inflammation at the root will serve you in healing your condition. Generally speaking fatty acids modulate inflammation but  linoleic acid specifically undergoes a conversion process which ends up suppressing and resolving inflammation.  

Acne-Fighting:  As mentioned above deficiencies can lead to acne so it makes sense that topical use of linoleic acid will help reduce or resolve acne.  It also has natural exfoliating properties which help dead skin cells slough off helping reduce the chance for pores to get clogged. 

Brightening:  By naturally inhibiting melanin production spotty and uneven skin tone can be corrected.  In the case of those post acne dark spots this can be very helpful.

Guess which product is rich in linoleic acid? The DRFO! Argan, Grapeseed, Prickly Pear, Passion Fruit, Black Currant & Cranberry Seed oils all boast impressive concentrations of this wonder worker.  Remember, there are many factors that contribute to healthy skin, this is just one step that’s part of a wider holistic approach.  It’s important to understand that linoleic acid won’t do the trick to get rid of acne or heal your inflammatory condition alone but, in combination with other natural balancing ingredients, it will help you heal the cycle causing these breakouts.