Fat Is Not The Enemy!
My understanding and reaction to the subject of ‘ essential fatty acids’ at one time would have made me yell, ” no no! ” Fatty’ and then ‘Acid’ in Skincare rather conjures up images of bunsen burners, the headteacher’s coat going up in smoke, school chemistry lessons and hazardous materials! Never to be touched let alone put on your face.
However, it was my son’s response to reading my description of the anti ageing benefits of Arctic Berry Oils on my web site that prompted him to respond ‘can’t you think of another word Mum ‘fat’ is such an uncomfortable word!”Hmm, I thought, fair comment, how many of us don’t have the daily battle to keep the fat off?
Okay, if it helps us to begin the process of falling in love with Essential Fatty Acids, let’s simply use the scientific jargon – the EFA’s!
Super Food For Skin
There is no official scientific definition of a super-food but we now accept that superfoods contain high levels of special vitamins, minerals and EFA’s. If you want a naturally smooth, glowing complexion, with proven clinical research and built in anti-ageing topical skin care then start believing in the EFA’s !
In 1929, a George and Mildred Burr carried out a paradigm-changing experiment. George Burr was a lecturer in Berkeley California and had recently been made an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. In their model T Ford Roadster, they smuggled their two cages of Long-Evans rats with them into hotel rooms hidden under their long overcoats to keep them safe from the fierce autumn nights. Their aim was to prove the benefits of fat to the skin and body.
By the 1920’s, researchers believed that the function of fat was to store excess energy and to act as a sort of carrier for fat-soluble vitamins. The Burrs initial experiment consisted of feeding rats a diet entirely devoid of any fat. (I guess they did not include their pet rats in that experiment!) After several months the rats developed alarming skin abnormalities. Their skin became scaly, they developed skin lesions and, more alarmingly, their skin was unable to retain fluid. This is a condition known as ‘transepidermal water loss’.
The experiments concluded by feeding the to groups of rats oil rich diets to rescue them but it was found to be only the rats given oils containing linoleic acid that would make a full recovery. The theory up until then had been that ‘fat’ was a sort of mixture of calories and carbohydrates. The breakthrough was in linking the part that linoleic acid plays in maintaining healthy human skin – the results were self explanatory.
A similar experiment was carried out in 1958 on infants fed a low fat diet, after a short amount of time, they too developed skin abnormalities.
The evidence from these to separate experiments was clear, polyunsaturated fats, in the right quantities have incredible benefits for the skin, notably where anti ageing is concerned. Now, here’s the scientific bit…
The Real Benefits Of EFA’s For The Skin
There are two basic types of EFA’s
- Omega 6 and Omega 3 which are polyunsaturated fats
- Omega 6 and Omega 3 are classified as essential fatty acids
- Our bodies can’t make EFAs
- We need EFAs in our diets
- EFAs are brilliant used topically
- EFAs waterproof the skin
- EFAs are critical to good health
- EFAs are major components of the cell membrane
- Without EFAs skin suffers premature ageing
My next blog will be all about extraction methods of oils and the big difference in the quality of levels of EFA’s retained by the various methods of oil extraction, don’t miss it!