Oleic and Linoleic Acid: are you using the right balance for your skin type?


Oleic acid is a fatty acid that occurs naturally in various animal and vegetable fats and oils. It is the most common fatty acid in nature and is the most abundant fatty acid in human adipose tissue, and the second in abundance in human tissues overall, next to palmitic acid. Oleic acid also goes by the name, omega-9 fatty acids. Oleic acid is excellent for dry or aging skin as it penetrates easily and deeply into the skin’s surface, replenishing lost moisture and stopping additional moisture from evaporating. Oleic acid has the ability to restore the natural oil of skin, without clogging pores and leading to break outs. It’s also very rich in antioxidant compounds that fight free radical damage caused by environmental stressors, such as UV rays, that lead to skin aging. It’s an anti-inflammatory that stimulates wound healing and repairs daily skin damage, as well as soothes conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis as it provides compounds that strengthen the integrity of cell membranes. 

Linoleic acid, known as omega-6, is not produced in our body’s tissue like oleic acid. However, it plays an equally important role in skin health as a fat that promotes healthy cellular activity. Linoleic acid is also an anti-inflammatory that stimulates cell regeneration, however the main difference is it penetrates the skin less easily than oleic acid.

One factor that makes some creams and moisturizers work for some and not others, is the ratio of linoleic and oleic acid. When combined, linoleic and oleic acid lock in intense moisture into the skin to soothe, heal and protect the skin from environmental exposure and aging. When choosing skin care oils, creams and moisturizers, choose one with an abundance of oleic acid if you have drier skin, so that the oils can penetrate the skin, but one that is also non-comedogenic so that it will not clog pores. If you have oilier skin, it’s best to choose a moisturizer or oil that is higher in linoleic acid. When the skin is deficient in linoleic acid, the skin’s natural sebum becomes thick and sticky, clogging pores and creating acne. Oily, clogged skin’s sebum is mostly composed of oleic acid. This can be reversed by applying oils that are higher in linoleic acid to restore the natural balance of the two types of acids, leading to healthier, clearer skin, with less break outs and acne.

Oils higher in oleic acid include argan oil and tamanu oil. Oils higher in linoleic acid include sun-flower oil, hemp seed oil, Rosehip seed oil, passion fruit (maracuja) oil. Jojoba oil is an oil that has a balanced amount of oleic and linoleic acid.

If you’re looking for an anti-aging cream with a healthy balance of oleic acid and linoleic acid, that is non-comedogenic and will not leave your skin oily, try the Volcanics Anti-Aging Cream.


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