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Natural Skin Care

March 9, 2009 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

If you flip through the advertisement sections in your local newspaper or favorite magazine, you’ll probably see multiple ads for skin care creams and lotions. You might even see some promotions for anti-aging dermatologists and skin care spas. But when’s the last time you’ve seen an ad promoting the value of nourishing your skin from the inside out? In today’s blog, I want to share some tips that may help you improve the quality of your skin and reduce the number of products that you “need” to put on it.

Borage FlowerWhen it comes to skin care, there’s one major misconception that I hope I can dispel: Eating fat does not make your skin oily or damage your skin in any way. That’s 100% untrue, provided that you choose to eat healthy fats. In fact, there are certain fats that are especially good for your skin. Here are a few studies that highlight several excellent oils that support the appearance and feel of your skin:

Flaxseed and Borage Oil

A study published in the March 2009 issue of the British Journal of Nutrition reports that both flax and borage oil can improve several key characteristics of skin quality in women. Over the course of 12 weeks, three groups of women consumed either a) flaxseed oil; b) borage oil or c) a placebo. Both during and after the trial, several skin tests were conducted. The results of the testing revealed the following information:

  • Those taking borage and flax oil showed signs of decreased skin inflammation and a reduction in skin sensitivity.
  • Skin hydration increased in both of these groups as well. This effect tended to improve with time.
  • A “surface evaluation” determined that there was decreased roughness and scaling in the flax and borage users.
  • The placebo group (who received a “neutral” oil) showed only a slight improvement in one area: skin hydration.

Evening Primrose Oil

Borage oil and evening primrose oil are often used interchangeably. They both contain a rare fatty acid called Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA). Modern research indicates that GLA possesses natural anti-inflammatory properties. Many skin conditions ranging from acne to dermatitis to eczema to psoriasis all have one thing in common: inflammation.

This next study examined the effects of evening primrose oil (EPO) on a condition called atopic dermatitis (AD). AD is generally characterized by a dry, irritated and itchy rash. It very commonly affects babies and children, but isn’t unheard of in adults.

This particular trial took place at the Department of Dermatology in Kolkata, India. For this experiment, a group of AD sufferers were given one of two treatments. Evening primrose oil supplements were provided to half of the AD patients. The remainder were supplied with sunflower oil supplements. The duration of the study was 5 months.

In total, 96% of the patients taking the EPO showed significant reductions in the intensity of their AD symptoms. Only 32% of the sunflower oil users claimed any benefit at all. No adverse effects were reported in either group.

Damaged Skin Cycle

Fish Oil

Fish oil and flaxseed oil are both good sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These oils are often recommended by doctors to support the cardiovascular system, a healthy mood and they’re even given to pregnant mothers for the benefit of developing embryos.

This final experiment supports the earlier findings I shared about flaxseed oil. In this trial, a purified fish oil supplement was tested to see if it could help improve skin elasticity in women.

24 healthy, middle-aged women participated in this study. For 3 months they were asked to take fish oil on a daily basis, after which a special dermatological assessment was made using a device called an “optical cutometer”. It was found that there was a 10% increase in skin elasticity by the end of the trial.

A dry, irritated complexion leads to hastened aging of the skin. It’s uncomfortable and it doesn’t look good either. But as you can see, there are things that we can do to address this annoyance. By adding more healthful fats to your diet, you’re literally prompting your body to display its inner health on the the outside. You’ll feel better, you’ll look better and it’ll cost you a lot less than most of the skin care “miracle” products out there.

Be well!


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10 Comments & Updates to “Natural Skin Care”

  1. Glenn Fernandes Says:

    Everyone loves to have a good skin. People try out various skin products and according to me, its useless. First, you need to care about your diet. You need to have good nutritious food. Fish oil is very beneficial.

  2. JP Says:


    I agree that diet plays an important role in skin health. Healthy fats can/should be vital part of such of menu-plan, IMO.

    Be well!


  3. Den Says:

    Arent borage and evening primrose sources of primarily omega 6 though too? And the reason we take omega 3 is to negate all the omega 6 already in the American diet?

    On to my question… how much fish oil / omega 3 would you recommend for skin problems?

    B T W -I love how your captchas are geared toward health and not generic

  4. JP Says:

    Thank you, Den.

    Blackcurrant seed oil, borage oil and evening primrose all contain omega-6 fatty acids. However, they also possess a rather unique fatty acid known as GLA or gamma-linolenic acid which has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity – unlike other omega-6s. It is hypothesized that some people lack the ability to convert linoleic acid into GLA and that this may contribute to certain inflammatory disorders including skin conditions.

    It’s hard to offer a specific recommendation re: fish oil quantity. However, I can tell you that one study used 1,000 of EPA (from fish oil) in combination with several other ingredients:


    Be well!


  5. Den(work) Says:

    Thanks for that. The toughest thing is figuring out the right dosages of these supplements. There is no real authoritative entity and of course WE know more than our doctors do so that’s no help there. So it’s like a guessing game, aside from Googling and reading others’ experiences. Frustrating.

  6. JP Says:


    You’re welcome. It often is a guessing game. But a lot can be learned when individuals share their personal experiences. Heck, that’s frequently the starting point for the scientific study of supplements anyhow. 🙂

    Good luck your own experimentation. I’d be happy to hear what you find.

    Be well!


  7. Wondering Says:

    How much GLA should one take if treating a skin condition? I looked at evening primrose, borage, and black currant seed oils today and was surprised at the low % of each’s GLA level. The best I found was a NOW product called Super Borage which features 240mg GLA per 1000mg capsule. I might buy that.

  8. JP Says:


    This is far from a comprehensive review. But it may provide a starting point:

    Borage oil is the richest source of GLA percentage-wise. Some studies have used between 360 to 920 mg of GLA daily. Please note that the highest dosage wasn’t found to be effective – in the second study. It’s unclear if the higher dose contributed to the poor results.



    Evening primrose oil may be effective even at dosages ranging from 240 to 480 mg of GLA/daily. In the first linked study, the 480 mg dosage was intended for adults and children over the age of 12.


    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1943500 < --- 432 mg of GLA/day I hope this helps. Be well! JP

  9. Tera Says:

    Eventually, after spending numerous hours online at last we’ve uncovered somebody that certainly does know what they’re discussing many thanks a lot for the wonderful post.

  10. JP Says:

    Thank you, Tera! 🙂

    Be well!


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