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Linolenic Acid

Linolenic Acid

Also-called-like-this: alpha-Linolenic acid, ALA, omega-3 fatty acid, Form of Vitamin F


The famous omega-3 fatty acid, the mother of all ω-3 fatty acids in our body. Next to linoleic acid, it is the other essential fatty acid that our body cannot synthesize and we have to ingest it from our food. It is also a PUFA, aka polyunsaturated fatty acid with three double bonds, a kinky chemical structure and thus a liquid consistency.

While linoleic acid is abundant in the skin, this is not the case with alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). It is not entirely clear if it is meant to be like that or if this is a consequence of not eating enough Omega-3 with the typical Western diet.

Leafy green vegetables, walnuts, flax seeds and fish oils are rich sources of ALA and if you are not eating a lot from these, supplementing with fish oil is a pretty good idea backed by research. It is a good idea both in terms of general health benefits as well as potentially improving inflammation-related skin issues such as atopic dermatitis or acne.

As for using ALA topically, we have to say that its role and effects seem to be less direct than with LA. ALA's main role in the skin appears to be modulating the immune response of the epidermis. This is probably helpful for inflammatory skin diseases but most studies examine ALA as an oral supplement and not when applied topically. One exception, we could find, is a study that found that topically applied ALA has nice spot-fading abilities.

To be honest, it seems to us that oral supplementation of ALA is more important than smearing it all over your face. However, that is not to say that topical ALA is a bad thing, it is a good thing. It is a skin-identical ingredient, it is probably moisturizing and anti-inflammatory but its topical effects are less established than that of fellow omega fatty acid, linoleic acid

Show me some proof

  • McCusker, Meagen M., and Jane M. Grant-Kels. "Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acids." Clinics in Dermatology 28.4 (2010): 440-451.
  • Ando, Hideya, et al. "Linoleic acid and α-linolenic acid lightens ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation of the skin." Archives of dermatological research 290.7 (1998): 375-381.

Products with Linolenic Acid

Nanowhite Intensive Brightening Serum Paula's Choice Resist Omega+ Complex Serum dr. denese Hydroshield Ultra Moisturizing Face Serum Paula's Choice Resist Advanced Replenishing Toner Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads Atopalm Real Barrier Control T Cleansing Foam BIOSSANCE Squalane + Omega Repair Cream Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops Hema Hello Mirror Guess My Age Facial Oil Paula's Choice Calm Redness Relief Toner For Normal To Dry Skin Blackmores Natural Vitamin E Cream + Lanolin Dermosil Anti-Stress Serum First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Barriair Cream Ole Henriksen Counter Balance™ Oil Control Hydrator Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules Daily Youth Restoring Serum Nanowhite Omega Day Shield Spf50 ++ Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum Paula's Choice Omega+ Complex Moisturizer Sante Naturkosmetik Soothing Night Cream Skin better Even Tone Correcting Serum™ HydroPeptide Redefining Serum Zelens Provitamin D Treatment Drops EO LABORATORIE` Био Масло Для Ресниц И Бровей `Eo Laboratorie` `Lovecoil` OLEHENRIKSEN C-Rush™ Brightening Gel Crème Tosowoong Vita Clinic Vitamin Eye Cream Zelens Vitamin A Treatment Drops Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream Ole Henriksen Find Your Balance Oil Control Face Wash SkinBetter Trio Rebalancing Moisture Treatment Acure Radically Rejuvenating Whipped Night Cream Murad Luminous Shield Spf 50 Josie Maran Whipped Mud Mask Argan Hydrating And Detoxifying Treatment Paula's Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream Su-Man Purifying Cleansing Gel Oil Tata Harper Hydrating Floral Mask Lumene Valo Arctic Berry Cocktail Brightening Hydra-Oil Nanowhite Dark Spot Corrective Serum Paula's Choice Calm Redness Relief Moisturizer Normal To Dry Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream Embryolisse Rich Moisturizing Cream Emma S. Ageless Day Cream Spf 15 Nano White Dark Spot Corrective Serum Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough Facial Replenishing Balm Skinbetter Science Alto Defense Serum Atopalm Real Barrier Control-T Toner Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Cream SkinBetter Alpharet® Overnight Cream Burt's Bees Renewal Refining Cleanser Cliniderm Soothing Cream