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Old 10-03-2008, 02:27 PM
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Default Flax and Borage Oil May Promote Healthy Skin

Flax and borage oil may boost skin health from within

By Stephen Daniells

03-Oct-2008 -

Supplements containing flaxseed or borage oil may protect skin against reddening and improve skin health from within, suggests new research from Germany and France.

The omega-3 and omega-6-rich oils from flax and borage respectively also led to a decrease in skin roughness and so-called skin scaling, according to findings published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Growing awareness of the link between diet and health, and by extension physical appearance, means that many consumers are receptive to the concept of 'beauty from within'.

There is a growing body of science focusing on the potential benefits of nutrients to boost skin health from within, with lutein, lycopene and superoxide dismutase (SOD) having been reported to improve skin health. The same researchers behind the new study previously reported that flavanol-rich chocolate may protect against skin reddening (Journal of Nutrition, Vol 136, pp 1565-1569).

Study details

The researchers, led by Wilhelm Stahl from the Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf, recruited 45 non-smoking, healthy women between the ages of 18 and 65 and randomly assigned them to one of three groups. Two groups received daily supplements of flaxseed oil or borage oil (2.2 grams of total fatty acids), while a third received medium-chain fatty acids as the placebo.

Skin irritation was achieved using nicotinate applied to the skin. This would induce inflammation and reddening of the skin, said the researchers.

Fatty acid profiles

According to analysis of the oils, flaxseed consisted predominantly of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but some omega-6 and monounsaturated oleic acid were present.

Borage oil consisted predominantly of the omega-6 fatty acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA), while oleic acid was also present in relatively high amounts.


After six and 12 weeks of supplementation with flaxseed, an increase in blood levels of ALA was observed, while increases in GLA were recorded in the group receiving borage oil.

Following nicotinate treatment, the researchers noted a significant decrease in reddening of the skin in the flaxseed and borage oil groups of 45 and 35 per cent, respectively, compared to baseline values. No differences were recorded in the placebo group.

Moreover, blood flow to the in skin also decreased in the oil groups.
Measurements of water loss from the skin showed that the oil supplements were associated with decreases of about 10 per cent after six weeks, with only the flaxseed oil group showing further decreases at the end of 12 weeks (25 per cent).

The roughness and scaling – dry peeling skin – was also decreased significantly after 12 weeks of flaxseed and borage oil supplementation, with no differences in the placebo group.
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