For women, having glowing skin, healthy hair and strong nails is a sign that we’re healthy, and knowing those beauty boxes are ticked on the daily also makes us feel more confident. Thankfully there is one ingredient that can help you achieve all those things and it’s nutritionist- and celebrity-approved. Nutritionist Sarah Macklin reveals all.
In recent years there has been a growing interest in essential omega-3 fatty acids and since our bodies cannot synthesise it, we need to make sure our diet is packed with the stuff. Aside from being a beauty-boosting ingredient, it also keeps our organs functioning optimally so it’s an important nutrient to keep topped up. In fact, just this week Victoria Beckham gave omega-3 fatty acids the A-list seal of approval when she revealed how adding salmon—a good source of omega-3 fatty acids—is the reason she believes her problematic skin calmed down. Keep scrolling for six reasons why omega-3 is key and how to up your intake inside and out.
Our skin is made up of a lipid membrane, with omega-3 being an integral part of the structure. Our skin is the only barrier between us and the environment, and therefore a deficiency of omega-3 leaves our skin permeable and weak, which can induce wrinkles and signs of ageing.
The western diet is currently heavily loaded with omega-6 foods such as oils compared to omega-3 foods such as poultry, eggs and cereals. Too much omega-6 sends pro-inflammatory signals to your body and elevated chronic inflammation is one of our main enemies. However, omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and mediate this process. Inflammation is a common problem in skin disorders such as psoriasis, acne and atopic dermatitis. Omega-3 suppresses the hyperproliferation (rapid division) of skin cells, which causes psoriasis to spread.
Omega-3 deficiency is often linked to dry, flakey, itchy skin or skin rashes. Sometimes it can be referred to as ‘chicken skin’. If the upper epidermal layers of the skin are hydrated and functioning optimally it looks hydrated and healthy. Omega-3 provides all the essential oils our epidermal layers need, and without it, our skin becomes dehydrated and prone to problems.
Omega-3 is known to help fight dry and brittle hair, and help symptoms such as dandruff and increased blood circulation to the scalp caused by hyperventilation of the hair follicles.
Omega-3 has been shown to help protect against inflammation caused by UV radiation. Dose up on omega-3 before hitting the sun to help combat ageing, wrinkles and photosensitivity disorders—but don’t forget sunscreen as well!
Omega-3 concentrations are highest in the brain and nervous system. Omega-3 is needed for optimal functioning of neurons in brain cells and may even help combat depression by increasing our serotonin and dopamine levels.
Ensure you’re getting enough of the following foods that are chock-full of omega-3 in your diet each week:
- Wild Salmon
- Flaxseed Oil
You can also find omega-3 in skincare, Votary Super Seed Facial Oil (£70) contains 21 oils, and is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Apply this each morning to give your skin an omega-3 boost first thing.