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Introduction to Essential Fatty Acids

Obesity rates are climbing, and as a society, we need to be more mindful of the quantity and types of fats that we consume in our diet. Not all fats, however, are "bad." Particular fats are required for our bodies to function properly. In moderation, these healthy fats actually need to be consumed.

The human body can manufacture most of the fatty acids that we need for optimal health. Those fatty acids that we cannot manufacture and need to acquire from our diet are called Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Essential Fatty Acids are necessary for human functions and for healthy, youthful skin.

Those that are lacking in the proper intake of Essential Fatty Acids may demonstrate severely dry skin or they may become prone to more serious skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema.

Using natural skin care products that include vegetable oils and other lipids (fats) rich in essential fatty acids can significantly help nourish and improve the look and feel of the skin. Including foods rich in essential fatty acids also will help encourage healthy skin and overall health and wellbeing.

Essential Fatty Acids are generally classified into two groups: Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids. The hardest to acquire EFAs are those classified as Omega-3.


Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids:

Alpha linolenic acid is the primary Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid found in plants. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are more beneficial than Alpha linolenic acid, but EPA and DHA are only present in fish oil.


Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids:

Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid are examples of Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids found in plant oils.


Omega-7 and Omega-9 Fatty Acids:

You may occasionally read about Omega-7 or Omega-9 Fatty Acids. Omega-7 and Omega-9 Fatty Acids are not considered Essential Fatty Acids. The body can manufacture these fatty acids. These omega acids, however, are still nourishing and beneficial when included in natural skin care products.


Natural lipids that are rich in essential fatty acids include, but are not limited to, the following pure vegetable oils:

  • Acai Berry
  • Almond
  • Black Raspberry Seed Oil
  • Blackberry Seed
  • Blueberry Seed
  • Camelina
  • Camellia Seed
  • Cranberry Seed
  • Evening Primrose
  • Flax Seed
  • Grape Seed
  • Hazelnut
  • Hemp Seed
  • Kukui Nut
  • Maracuja (Passion Flower)
  • Papaya
  • Sesame
  • Strawberry Seed
  • Sunflower
  • Watermelon Seed

If you suffer from dry skin, psoriasis, eczema or another skin disorder, consider utilizing natural moisturizers and other skin care products that include ingredients rich in essential fatty acids. Read Natural Ways to Help Control Psoriasis, Eczema and Other Autoimmune Skin Disorders for more information.

Including an essential fatty acid dietary supplement and/or salmon and other fish proteins that are rich in essential fatty acids within your diet may also lead to healthier skin over time. Consult with your doctor to learn if this is a recommended course of action for your specific needs.


Shopping for Personal Care Products Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Beauty By the Batch is a practical resource for assisting you in finding artisans that include oils and lipids that are rich in essential fatty acids. Begin your search by visiting the Beauty By the Batch Artisan Directory. Not only do the artisans that appear within the Artisan Directory support the efforts of Beauty By the Batch, but they have all agreed to adhere to Beauty By the Batch's Artisan Code of Conduct. By agreeing to our Artisan Code of Conduct, artisans promise to abide by truthful and accurate marketing and a number of other practices that are in the best interest of consumers.

Visit the Beauty By the Batch Artisan Directory


A small portion of this text is copyrighted by AromaWeb and is used with express permission.

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