Nutritional Fat support for Dry and Inflamed Skin Conditions
Omega-3Is an essential fatty acid meaning that our body is unable to produce it and therefore must consume dietary sources.Omega-3 from fish oil contains two components in its most active form, EPA and DHA. EPA keeps our sebum very nutritionally anti-inflammatory, fluid and hydrating. EPA aids in inflammatory based dry skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea while also supporting mental health conditions such as depression that can be experienced in relation to an inflammatory skin disorder. EPA as well as DHA, which is fantastic for your brain and nervous system, is most effectively supplemented from good quality sustainable fish oil. Dietary intake of fish is also great to keep up, good accessible sources for low toxicity and high omega-3 are mackerel and sardines. There is however also an option of using liquid algae oil as a DHA supplement that can convert into the EPA your want for skin.
Omega-6Is an essential fatty acid that is very soothing for many inflammatory skin conditions while keeping our cell membranes and therefore skin hydrated and supple. Some sources say that our western diets are already too high in omega-6 and the ratio to omega-3 is out, however the dietary omega-6 they are referring to is actually oxidized trans fats that our body doesn’t know how to process, these do not resemble the anti-inflammatory omega-6 your skin is needing. The active form of omega-6 is called GLA and is a greatly functional anti-inflammatory, hydrating agent for dry skin or skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. Borage or starflower oil contains more GLA than evening primrose oil but both are great supplement sources. A sufficient dietary source for this incredible fat includes freshly ground flax or linseeds, the brown ones are better for this purpose.
PhosphatidylcholineIs an amazing lipid based nutrient for dry skin conditions as it is a major constituent of our outer cellular membranes including those of our skin cells. It enables our cells to hold a supple and firm structure while allowing adequate intracellular absorption and holding of nutrients and fluid aka hydration. It’s amazing for dehydrated, dry skin while also supporting the liver to detoxify and digest fat soluble nutrients for absorption. The skin needs plenty of these nutritional fats and fat-soluble vitamins, think A, E and K and essential fatty acids, for antioxidant/anti-ageing, moisturizing and structural functions like dead skin cell turn over. This amazing compound also functions in detoxification and nutritional replenishment when on Accutane, as this medication depletes bile production needed for the liver to process fats, stimulate a healthy bowel movement and essentially take out the liver detox trash. I love sunflower lecithin or liposomal phosphatidylcholine. You can also include or blend non-GMO soy lecithin into smoothies hot drinks and porridges as a dietary source.
Use topical oils, in winter your skin will need more hydration externally and topical oils at night are a great way to boost that moisturising nourishment for skin. Avoid applying them before going in the sun as the UV can oxidase and change the quality of the oil on your skin. Great oils that don’t block or clog the skin causing congestion include rosehip, argan and hemp oil. Oils should not be applied to peri-oral or peri orbital dermatitis in case of yeast imbalance in the skins micro biome with these conditions.
Lastly drink plenty of water we know it hydrates our body in general so why would our skin cells be any different. Remember if you are consuming diuretic beverages like coffee and black tea have an extra cup of fluid for each of those. When it’s cold drink warmer beverages and herbal teas do count to that 1.5 to 2L. If you are already drinking plenty of water but your skin feels dry and lustreless or you’ve been stressed lately you probably need to supplement with some Magnesium to draw that fluid into your cells.
Written by Elissa Roy.
Naturopathic Skin, Digestive and Hormone Specialist
Master of Applied Sciences (Traditional Chinese Medicine) -currently undertaking