What are essential fatty acids and why do you need them in your skincare?

What are essential fatty acids and why do you need them in your skincare?

When it comes to skincare, essential fatty acids are, well, pretty essential for caring for your skin. We take a deeper look into these key nutrients.

What are essential fatty acids?
In general terms, essential fatty acids are essential nutrients that our bodies can’t produce themselves and so need to obtain through diet or topical application. The main types of essential fatty acids are: omega 3, 6 and 9. Or to give them their more scientific names: linolenic acid is the most common omega 3 and linoleic acid is the most common omega 6.

They are found in fish, nuts, seeds and oils. They play a part in the normal functioning of cells, which is where skincare comes in: added into skincare they help to keep skin cells healthy.

Why put essential fatty acids in skincare?
In skincare terms, the key benefits of essential fatty acids are in strengthening the skin’s barrier and keeping skin hydrated. As such they are particularly suitable for people with dry skin and barrier issues.

They form part of the building blocks of skin cells and their role in forming and strengthening the protective barrier helps to guard the skin against infection. As your body can’t produce essential fatty acids itself, topical application via skincare is a great way of delivering the benefits straight to the skin. Essential fatty acids are usually added to skincare products via plant-based oils such as rosehip, chia seed and sunflower.

The skincare benefits of essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids work hard in your skincare because they:

Protect and rejuvenate Essential fatty acids are a key component in strengthening and repairing the skin’s protective barrier and as a natural source of antioxidants they guard against environmental damage.

Hydrate They also help to guard against skin dehydration by preventing TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss) and keep moisture levels and oil production in balance.

Boost skin lipids (fats) Essential fatty acids in skincare keep the complexion plump and smooth.

In addition, essential fatty acids are:

Anti-inflammatory Playing a part in reducing inflammation and therefore reducing the severity of breakouts.

Anti-microbial Some research has shown essential fatty acids to have anti-bacterial properties.

Smoothing Softening and smoothing dry, scaly patches.

Soothing To dry, irritated, sensitive and dermatitis-prone skin.

Good for mature skin By preventing dehydration and protecting the skin from damage, essential fatty acids are a good ingredient to look out for in products for mature skin.

Essential fatty acids in Willowberry skincare products
Now we’ve explored what essential fatty acids bring to the skincare party you can see why they are a key ingredient in Willowberry’s nutritious natural skincare. Many of the ingredients that we use in Willowberry are rich in essential fatty acids, including rosehip oil, chia seed oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil and grapeseed oil. You’ll find essential fatty acids in  our Nutrient Boost Cleansing Balm, Nutrient Boost Face Oil, Sensitive Face Oil and Nutrient Boost Day Cream.


Willowberry is nutritious natural skincare for grown-ups, for your best skin. 

A favourite with top make-up artists, Willowberry's luxurious award-winning products protect skin’s natural barrier function, to nourish and revive grown-up skin without telling women to be 'anti-ageing'.

As seen in Vogue, Independent, The Telegraph, This Morning and more.