ASCP Skin Deep

SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER 2017

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www.ascpskincare.com 29 expertadvice FEED YOUR FACE Chew the Fat The connection between essential fatty acids and healthy skin by Alex Caspero Fat is back. At least, when it comes to your diet. Enjoying plenty of healthy fats like avocados, salmon, nuts, chia seeds, and plant-based oils is great for reducing inflammation levels and adding to healthy hair and glowing skin. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid that cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained from the diet. There are two classes of essential fatty acids: omega-3 and omega-6. EFAs, especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acid (AA), make up a large percentage of the epidermis. So it makes sense that deficiency of these healthy fats can lead to suboptimal skin health that can be seen in the signs of aging, dry skin, and redness. Additionally, there is evidence that reduced fatty acid metabolism plays a significant role in inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, and correcting any EFA deficiencies can reduce symptoms. Since the skin's fatty acid composition can be significantly modified by diet, it's important to consume sources of both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids—fats that are crucial to skin function and appearance. Omega-3 fatty acids seem to have an additional protection from photodamage and UV photoaging while omega-6 fatty acids play a key role in skin barrier function and structural integrity. Good sources of omega-6 fatty acids include pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and plant-based oils. You can find omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel, walnuts, flaxseeds, sardines, and hemp seeds. Chia seeds are a great source of both omega-3 and omega-6 fats, with 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) providing 5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, along with 11 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. These tiny seeds are also loaded with calcium, manganese, magnesium, and zinc. Because of their high-fiber content, they swell when added to liquids, making them a great substitute in baked goods and for adding to oatmeal, smoothies, or jam. Deficiency of these healthy fats can lead to suboptimal skin health that can be seen in the signs of aging, dry skin, and redness.

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