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Effects of Essential Fatty Acids on Skin

Microalgae is rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids — often referred to as essential fatty acids, because they are essential for our health and wellbeing. But, as our bodies cannot make them, we need to eat food that is rich in these fatty acids if we wish to maintain optimal health. In his book, The Wrinkle Cure, Dr Nicolas Perricone, a skin care expert and dermatologist, highlights the role omega-3 fatty acids play in reducing the production of inflammatory compounds that actively contribute to the aging process, including the formation of wrinkles. Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids have several health benefits and that a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can cause many health problems, including dry skin [1]. Topical skin applications rich in omega-3 fatty acids have several beneficial effects on the skin, including ability to reduce the effects of aging [2].

DHA - Docosahexaenoic acid
The primary structural component of human skin (and other organs) is DHA - Docosahexaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold water marine fish oils and microalgae on which these fish feed. DHA is also extracted from commercially grown microalgae to produce nutritional supplements rich in DHA. Because it's the primary building block of human skin, DHA is essential for skin renewal and overall skin health. The two species of microalgae grown on our aquafarm, and ingredients in our Alginique Morning Rose Facial Elixir, Isochrysis galbana (T-iso) and Tetraselmis chuii contain minimum 9.7% and 7% of DHA respectively.

EPA - Eicosapentaenoic acid
The effects of aging on the skin can be attributed largely to sun damage as a result of repeated long-term exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays over the course of our lives, which over time damages skin collagen. Studies [2][3] have shown that EPA (an omega-3 fatty acid) applied topically to human skin reduces UV-induced thickening of the skin’s epidermis and inhibits collagen decrease typically associated with exposure to UV light. Topical application of EPA has been shown to reduce the effects of aging by increasing gene expression of skin collagen and elastic fibers in youthful and aged skin alike [2]. Nannochloropsis oculata is another species of marine phytoplankton that is part of our Alginique Morning Rose Facial Elixir and it contains minimum 51.4% of EPA.

ArA - Arachidonic acid
Microalgae is also rich in the omega-6 fatty acid knwn as ArA or Arachidonic acid. ArA is a skin conditioner that reduces flaking skin and restores skin suppleness. It is usually added to skin products to prevent and treat dry or damaged skin. Tetraselmis chuii is yet another species of marine phytoplankton that is an ingredient of Alginique Morning Rose Facial Elixir and provides minimum 4% of ArA.

Aside from skin rejuvenation and anti-aging properties, essential fatty acids found in marine microalgae also have healing properties, and have been shown to reduce inflammation in skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis [4].

References & Further Reading

[1] Omega-3 fatty acids | University of Maryland Medical Center
[2] Kim HH, Cho S, Lee S, Kim KH, Cho KH, Eun HC, Chung JH. Photoprotective and anti-skin-aging effects of eicosapentaenoic acid in human skin in vivo. J Lipid Res. 2006;47:921-930
[3] Kim, H. H., C. M. Shin, C. H. Park, K. H. Kim, K. H. Cho, H. C. Eun, and J. H. Chung. 2005. Eicosapentaenoic acid inhibits UV-induced MMP-1 expression in human dermal fibroblasts. J. Lipid Res. 46: 1712–1720
[4] WebMed
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