Acne Treatment With Essential Fatty Acids

acne is an embarrassing problem

Scientists are amazing with the things they can come up with and understand.  They are pretty sure of the role of essential fatty acids in the body and on the skin.  This is good to know for it is helping many an acne sufferer as their conclusions have led to some scientists and natural health practitioners into looking at the effects and benefits of essential fatty acids for skin conditions.

There is much ado about nutritional deficiencies and problems that can cause or exacerbate acne, though they are not as simple as the usual ones about chocolate and greasy foods! The core belief to these scientists I that hard fats (saturated fatty acids) and proteins block narrow pores or channels in our skin, and that blockage invite bacteria to come in and feast upon the clog.

The belief then becomes that acne is a result of the degeneration of fat.  The connection for this belief is:

  • There are too many hard fats
  • There are not enough essential fatty acids
  • Fats relate unsuccessfully with protein.

Hard fats are found in most food, including animal fats and dairy.  Their name comes from the fact that the fat molecules carry the maximum amount of hydrogen molecules that they possibly can. This has significance in the way these fats act in our body. Some of these saturated fats have a high melting point, like butter and milk fat.

An excess can cause problems for our arteries and heart health.
Fatty acids, of the essential and non essential kind, are found in our cell membranes. This includes the membranes of the skin. Since the characteristics of saturated fatty acids are that the stick together, have a high melting point and will most likely clump together to form deposits  when we consume them in excess.  This then makes them much harder for our body to get rid of. Not only do they clump together but they also will clump with other important things like protein, minerals, and cholesterol. Excess sugar can be a problem because our body converts excess sugar into saturated fatty acids.
Other problems with excessive saturated fatty acids include the fact that the body can convert them into unsaturated fatty acids, which can then oxidize if we don’t consume enough fatty acids.

Saturated fatty acids can reduce the supply of oxygen to our tissues, by making blood cells which carry oxygen stick together and so impede that vital transportation system which normally carries oxygen to our cells.

Excess fat, including excess saturated fats, are stored in the adipose cells in our skin. These are fat storage centers.

So the scientist thinking along this line believe it is imperative that people consume W3 (alpha linolenic acid) and W6 (flax and linoleic acid) essential fatty acids in the correct ratio.

Essential fatty acids have free receptors for hydrogen bonds. This characteristic changes the way the molecules are structured in terms of the shape they have. And it is this different shape, a kinked shape that means they don’t clump together with the affinity that saturated fats do. And they also have a lower melting point – so they are more liquid. Because of this difference in structure, they also have a slight negative molecular charge, and given that like charges repel, this is another reason why they don’t clump together. These properties are characteristics of unsaturated fats as providing ‘fluidity’ to cell membranes and this allows the cells to fulfill important chemical functions.

Inflammation, a characteristic of acne, is associated with a deficiency in the essential fatty acid LNA or alpha linolenic acid and when people add alpha linolenic acid supplements to their diet, this symptom can be reversed.

The essential fatty acid, linoleic acid (LA) is particularly indicated for acne. When there is a deficiency of linoleic acid, the oil producing glands in the skin make sebum that is mixed with oleic acid. Oleic acid is found in butter and land animal fats. However, in excess, it can interfere in essential fatty acid use. But more importantly for acne sufferers, sebum mixed with oleic acid is irritating to the skin. It lends itself to blockages of the pores that result in acne, blackheads and whiteheads.

Filed under: General Issues

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