Healthy skin has multiple areas of significance. For one, skin health contributes to overall health, as your skin is a living organ that supports the healthy function of the rest of your body. On the other hand, healthy skin can also mean improved confidence.
Consuming the right nutrients may help you achieve both, and one nutrient to start with is alpha-linolenic acid. Taking alpha-linolenic acid regularly could go a long way toward supporting the health of your skin from the inside out.
What Is Alpha-Linolenic Acid?
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is an omega-3 fatty acid precursor, with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) being the two forms of true omega-3. Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid found in the body which serve as a source of energy, help form the building blocks of new cells, and support cell interactions.
Some of the general health benefits of consuming ALA omega-3s include:
- Supporting a healthy blood pressure
- Helping to maintain cholesterol levels already within the healthy range
- Supporting healthy heart function
Of the three omega-3 fatty acids, ALA is the easiest to obtain as it is found in many plant foods. You can consume ALA through plant oils, like canola oil, olive oil, or flaxseed oil, as well as through nuts and seeds, like walnuts and chia seeds.
What Are the Benefits of ALA for Your Skin?
ALA has a reputation for supporting healthy skin, but how it works is less discussed, so let’s look at some of the science. Consuming ALA regularly offers five key benefits for your skin.
1. Supports Hydrated Skin
Moisture is vital to the health of your skin — hydrated skin is more protected against the elements and has proper elasticity, which means it is resistant to scrapes and scratches.
While moisturizing products can help create a barrier between your skin and the outside elements, you may not know that your skin has a natural process that serves this same purpose.
The skin is supported by the skin barrier, which helps regulate the moisture in your skin and prevent damage to the epidermis. By consuming more omega-3s, you can support the strength of the skin barrier to lock in more moisture and keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
In doing so, you can also support the strength of your skin, its elasticity, and its overall integrity.
2. May Soothe Irritated Skin
Many of the issues that affect the skin are the result of dryness. For example, irritation, redness, and roughness are often made worse by dryness, as the skin does not have the proper hydration to heal. By sealing in moisture and supporting the health of the skin barrier, ALA may help soothe signs of irritation to support healthy, comfortable skin.
Research shows that ALA and other fatty acids may have soothing and supportive properties that can help ease feelings of skin dryness and general skin irritation, so if you’re dealing with sensitivity or other concerns, ALA may be able to lend a hand.
3. May Help Support Overall Clear Skin
We all get frustrated at the sight of blemishes or other spots when we look in the mirror. Not to mention that there are hundreds of products out there to sift through, making the process even more frustrating. As it turns out, the answer to beautiful skin might be as simple as consuming more of the right nutrients.
Since omega-3s can have a soothing effect on the body and help support general wellness, these benefits may show up on your skin as well. Some research has suggested that supplementing with omega-3s can help support overall healthy and clear-looking skin. Still, more research is needed to confirm this link.
However, given the other potential health benefits of consuming omega-3s, you can’t go wrong with adding more omega-3 into your diet.
4. Helps Support Immune Health
When you think of your immune system, your skin may not immediately come to mind. However, your skin is the first line of defense for your body to ward off outside pathogens. The same skin barrier that helps lock moisture into your skin also helps keep you feeling your best by keeping invaders away.
This skin barrier contains billions of healthy bacteria that target invading bacteria before they can enter the body. Consuming omega-3s helps to strengthen the skin barrier and support these healthy bacteria in keeping harmful pathogens out of your body.
5. May Help Support Proper Skin Repair
Omega-3s may even help support your skin’s natural ability to repair itselfthanks to their ability to support the skin barrier. The skin barrier plays a key role in maintaining proper wound-healing processes, keeping bacteria out and supporting the healthy formation of new cells.
How Do Other Omega-3s Benefit the Skin?
Although there are plenty of potential benefits from consuming ALA omega-3, this fatty acid does not work alone in supporting your skin health. In fact, ALA is not the most beneficial omega-3 for your overall health and wellness — that title belongs to the combination of the other two types of omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA.
Studies following the effect of DHA and EPA on the skin have demonstrated even more potential benefits, like the potential to support the skin during exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. More research is needed, but there do appear to be benefits that come from DHA and EPA moreso than ALA.
Many of the above potential benefits of ALA for your skin stem from the fact that ALA is converted to both EPA and DHA in the body. The more ALA you consume, the more of it your body can convert into DHA and EPA.
Still, only small amounts of ALA are converted into EPA and DHA, meaning you are missing out on even more benefits if you only consume ALA. The skin itself is not able to support the conversion of DHA and EPA, which means consuming these nutrients is essential too. Instead of focusing on consuming ALA to recognize these potential benefits, you could consume DHA and EPA omega-3s directly.
How Can You Get More DHA and EPA?
Consuming more DHA and EPA instead of ALA sounds easy, but these omega-3s are harder to find in a standard diet. Marine foods, like seaweed or fatty fish, are the most common source.
To obtain more of these two valuable omega-3s, some choose to eat fatty, oily fish, while others opt for the more convenient option of taking a fish oil or krill oil supplement. Still, eating fish is not an option for everyone, considering factors like seafood allergies and a common distaste for fish.
On the bright side, algae supplements provide an entirely plant-based alternative that offers fewer drawbacks than fish and has more benefits. For example, the omega-3s in algae are absorbed by the body more easily than those in fish oil.
Because algae-based omega-3 supplements are entirely plant-based, they are also an excellent option for anyone, regardless of their lifestyle or dietary choices.iwi life omega-3 supplements are an excellent option for anyone looking to get more DHA and EPA, offering a combined 250 mg of the nutrients in just one daily softgel.
What Are Healthy Habits for Supporting Your Skin?
Consuming more omega-3s is a great way to support the health of your skin as well as your overall wellness. However, even the best supplements and nutrition won’t work if you aren’t following healthy habits.
Some habits and routines to follow for healthy skin include:
- Moisturizing daily, ideally after a shower
- Using sunscreen whenever you plan to spend an extended period of time outside
- Showering in warm, not hot water
- Avoiding harsh skincare ingredients, like sulfates, parabens, and alcohols
- Choosing skincare products with natural ingredients
- Maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet
Nourish Your Skin from the Inside Out
Healthy skin requires a few key daily habits, but it all starts with nutrition. A great place to start is to include more ALA omega-3s in your diet to offer several potential benefits for your skin. However, you can take those potential benefits up a notch by including DHA and EPA omega-3s in your diet, too.
At iwi life, it’s our goal to make accessing essential DHA and EPA omega-3s as simple as possible, which is why our algae-based omega-3 supplement is easy for anyone to take and fits within any lifestyle. Explore our full family of algae-based omega-3 supplements to see how you can support your overall health and wellness with the power of algae.