Lesser known health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for skin and hair

Updated on May 19, 2022 11:46 AM IST

While the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids is well known for heart and joints, the skin and hair benefits are lesser known. Fitness experts spill the beans on the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for skin and hair

Lesser known health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for skin and hair (Shutterstock)
Lesser known health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for skin and hair (Shutterstock)
ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi

Our skin and hair are the two things that need utmost care, irrespective of the season - be it summers, monsoon or winters - since every season has its pros and cons that directly affect our skin and hair health, which is when omega-3 fatty acids come in handy. Besides taking care of our hair and skin with skin care and hair care products, there is one thing whose consumption can ease out the care taking process. This product is Omega 3.

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Arthi Raguram, Founder of Deyga Organics, shared, “Omega 3 fatty acids are in abundance in foods like fish and flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and dietary supplements like fish oil. There are three main omega 3 fatty acids-ALA, EPA and DHA, found in various plant foods and fish and sea food.”

She added, “These nutrients are found in supplements and food categories of different types. Omega 3 fatty acids have the quality of preventing the skin from harmful UV rays radiated by the sun. Not only this, they help in fighting hair loss as well. Rather, they give a boost to hair growth. The best part is that besides taking care of our hair and skin, they take care of our overall health as well.”

Highlighting that Omega 3 Fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that are predominantly found not just in fish oils but also in chia seeds, flax seeds and soybean oils, Dr Geetika Srivastava, Dermatologist and Founder of Influennz- Skin & Hair Clinic, said, “These are considered as “healthy fats”. Omega 3 PUFAs include linoleic acid (ALA), eicosapentanaeoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA). Since these cannot be produced by our body, these have to be only supplemented by diet hence, known as essential fatty acids.”

While the health benefits of omega 3 fatty acids is well known for heart and joints, the skin and hair benefits are lesser known. Dr Geetika Srivastava listed some of the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for skin and hair:

1. Ensures skin barrier function and structural integrity - Our skin is a complex structure with protein and lipids sandwiched together to form a strong barrier against the external insults, be it dirt, allergens and microbes. Omega-3 fatty acids are integrated in the skin barrier as epidermal lipids. This ensures the structural integrity to be maintained.

2. Helps in skin hydration and regulates oil production - Sebum is what we call as “skin oil” in normal language. Essential fatty acids like omega 3/6 helps in production of sebum and therefore maintains skin hydration by reducing transepidermal water loss (TEWL).

3. Reduces sun damage - Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-oxidant properties. These are then used as internal sunscreens which reduces UV induced damage.

4. Delays the signs of ageing - Ageing is of 2 types: the intrinsic ageing which is the result of biological clock and extrinsic ageing which is due to external factors, sun damage being the most important one. Due to the anti-oxidant properties of omega-3, they can delay extrinsic ageing too.

5. Has anti-inflammatory action - Omega-3 Fatty acids have found to be effective in many inflammatory skin disorders such as psoriasis, eczema, atopic dermatitis and contact hypersensitivity.

6. May boost hair growth - Omega-3 fatty acids may lead to stronger and thicker hair.

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