Oleic Acid Benefits Introduction:
Moisturizing your skin is one of the most important skincare tasks. Regular usage of facial moisturizers nourishes the skin, adds necessary nutrients and prevents the loss of moisture and drying out. It also repairs and replenishes the lipid skin barrier function that protects the skin against toxins, irritants, and other environmental stressors.
In addition to standard facial lotions and creams, facial oils lately have gained huge popularity. And there are many reasons why these oils are so beneficial for the skin.
First, they are mostly made up of natural, plant oils. They have many similarities with sebum human skin naturally produces; hence, they can be recognized and more easily absorbed by the skin. And they are incredibly moisturizing, soothing and rich in nourishing fatty acids.
Each type of these fatty acids has its own benefits for your skin. In this article, we will focus on the beneficial effects of oleic acid and why you may want to include it in your skincare routine.
What Is Oleic Acid?
Oleic acid, or omega-9 fatty acid, is a non-essential fatty acid (i.e. – it is produced by the human body). It can also be found in many animal and vegetable fats. In its natural state, it is colorless and odorless. Oleic acids are monounsaturated fatty acids, which have one double bond making it thicker and richer than linoleic acid.
In cosmetics, oleic acid is often used to improve the texture of the products and to protect the more delicate ingredients, such as antioxidants, from air and light exposure. Plus, when mixed with other fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, oleic acid has shown some amazing anti-inflammatory and nourishing properties.
The oils contain rich oleic acid include: olive oil, sunflower seed oil, argan oil, marula oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, sea buckthorn oil, soybean oils, etc.
Oleic acid is often used in deep-moisturizing, nourishing treatments for dry and mature skin. Here’s what it can do for your skin:
4 Main Benefits of Oleic Acid for Dry Skin:
1. Oleic acid is a great moisturizer
As we age, the amount of oil our skin produces and the level of its overall hydration significantly drops. Without the oils, the skin becomes dry, sensitive, irritated and more prone to damages. It loses its suppleness and firmness, and the first wrinkles and fine lines start to develop.
That is why it is important to replenish lost moisture. And oleic acid is one of the best skincare ingredients that can help you do that. It easily sinks into the skin, providing all layers with nourishing fats. And it does all that without clogging your pores!
Oleic acid also repairs and reinforces the skin’s natural protective barrier. That way, it stops the water from evaporating (Transepidermal Water Loss) from your skin and prevents future dryness.
2. It helps fight free radicals
Other than for treating dry skin, oleic acid is also well known as an ingredient that can thoroughly nourish mature skin, treat existing aging signs and slow down the development of new fine lines and wrinkles. And this is because oleic acid can help protect the skin against free radicals.
Free radicals speed up the skin aging process by causing damage to the skin cells’ DNA. This damage can lead to changes in the skin’s texture and complexion, causing the formation of dark aging spots and broken blood vessels. It can also break down the collagen, making the skin saggy and loose. Because of this, the skin loses its bounciness and firmness, and first wrinkles and fine lines start to appear.
Since oleic acid comprises antioxidant compounds that can help protect your skin against the free radicals, it can help prevent all this damage and maintain your skin’s firmness, smoothness and youthfulness for much longer. Plus, because of its high moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing abilities, oleic acid may help revitalize the damage that has already occurred.
3. It has anti-inflammatory and healing properties
As we already said, oleic acid has an important role in reinforcing your skin’s natural protective barrier. That way, not only it prevents the loss of moisture, but it also protects your skin against the elements (free radicals, pollutants, and other harmful external conditions).
More than just preventing skin damages and irritations, oleic acid also promotes skin healing and regeneration. It strengthens the integrity of cell membranes and allows your skin to recover from daily stressful situations.
Skin dryness often leads to irritations, damages and the formation of premature aging signs. Optimally moisturized skin is calm, protected and well-nourished. That is why oleic acid is so important for healthy skin. It’s great for sensitive skin. It can even help you soothe severe skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.
4. Oleic acid is often used as a penetration enhancer
For topical applications, oleic acid can influence and change the skin’s natural lipid barrier. By doing so, it can help other ingredients in the product penetrate deeper into the skin.
That means that all of the hydrators, nutrients, and antioxidants in the product will be able to sink into much deeper layers of your skin than they normally would. Once there, they can nourish and repair your skin, provide the necessary hydration, restore your skin’s healthy and youthful appearance and make it soft, plump, supple and glowing.
Despite all its benefits, applying pure oleic acid to your skin might not be the best idea. Research has shown that applied like this, oleic acid could irritate the skin and disrupt the skin’s protective barrier.
However, including a plant oil rich in oleic acid into your skincare routine can be very beneficial for your skin, especially if you are trying to combat dryness or prevent and treat aging signs.
You can also choose face oil skin care products with balanced oleic and linoleic acid for different skin types. Face oils with high percentage of oleic acid content are great for dry and aging skin; while oils (such as rose hip oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, etc.) with higher amounts of linoleic acid is great for oily skin.
2. Naik, Aarti, et al. “Mechanism of oleic acid-induced skin penetration enhancement in vivo in humans.” Journal of controlled release 37.3 (1995): 299-306.
3. Mack Correa, Mary Catherine, et al. “Molecular interactions of plant oil components with stratum corneum lipids correlate with clinical measures of skin barrier function.” Experimental dermatology 23.1 (2014): 39-44.