Flax Seed Oil and Your Skin

Flax oil or flaxseed oil is derived from the pretty, blue-flowering flax plant. The oil, obtained from processing the seeds, is high in omega 3 fatty acids, especially alpha linoleic acid (ALA). Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for normal skin and body function, but they are not produced naturally by your body.

The only way to get omega 3 fatty acids is from your diet. You can add flax oil as a dressing in salads, as a substitute for other oils (except in cooking, since flaxseed oil breaks down quickly when heated), or even take a tablespoon in a healthy smoothie. Flax seed flour, which is also high in omega 3s, can be added to muffin or pancake mixes or even sprinkled on cereal. You can also buy flax seed supplements.

Foods high in omega 3s help your skin protect itself by increasing natural oils that your skin secretes on the surface. These fats and oils are critical for keeping your skin soft, protecting it from irritants and preventing it from drying out.

But will it make me look younger?

Ah, the question most people want answered: maybe. According to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who consumed the most linoleic acid had the youngest-looking skin among 40-74 year-olds.

Like vitamin C and olive oil, flax oil has benefits not only from eating it, but also from applying it directly to your skin. When smoothed on your skin, flax oil can help lock in moisture and prevent water loss through the skin. Applying it can also improve your skin’s dry dull appearance and even improve the appearance of fine lines, both of which certainly make you appear younger.

As an added benefit, omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, which help minimize redness and skin irritation. There is evidence that omega-3s can improve chronic skin conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), rosacea, acne, and psoriasis, but only preliminary studies have been done. Omega 3s have been shown to aid in wound healing as well. There is even some evidence that flax seed oil might protect against ultraviolet light (sun) damage and can help protect you against skin cancer.

What to look for when buying flax seed oil:

Because flax seed oil is easily oxidized, which diminishes its antioxidant capabilities, it is important that you find flax oil that is

  • in a dark container
  • protected from light
  • vacuum sealed when you buy it
  • stored in the refrigerator after opening it

What about cold pressed oil? This is controversial. There is no standard for labeling an oil “cold pressed.” Heat and/or high pressure is needed to extract the oil from the seeds. Oil that is labeled as cold pressed and sold in the refrigerator section is certain to be a lot more expensive but not necessarily more effective. As soon as the oil is exposed to air and light, it begins to break down, anyway. So save your money.

Post written by Jeffrey Benabio, MD. You might also like:

Vitamin C and Skin Care

How to treat a sunburn

Are You Over-Scrubbing Your Face?

How to save money on facial moisturizers

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33 thoughts on “Flax Seed Oil and Your Skin

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  3. My favorite thing to do is buy raw flaxseeds and put them in a pop corn popper to roast. They will pop while you heat them, so something with a lid that will allow you to stir them is critical. Roasted flaxseeds are great over salads, oatmeal and some meats. You might even try eating a spoonful, its delicious.

  4. Kevin,
    Sounds tasty…but you may be losing some of the benefits of the raw natural product by popping the seeds. The seed is actually filled with life energy and once you heat it the natural energy is lost. Hunter gatherers of the past new these secrets and we have lost many of these secrets about food during this mechanical age of dead processed foods. Flax seeds have micro bacterial medicinal properties that help you stay healthy by acting as a scavenger of sorts in the body. The imbalance of omega 3s & 6s is the biggest problem our young and old are experiencing in bouts of depression and behavior problems. Fax seeds are simple fix for many of our concentration and mental problems along with skin problems etc. The list of benefits is very long and I would recommend you check out Eat Right for Your Blood Type as this diet may solve many health problems for many.
    Lew

  5. Flax Seeds are great and i love them! I take aoub 1.5 tablespoons of the oil in the morning and add ground flax seed where i can!
    The only issue with flax seed too is that if you heat it too high you can actually destroy or ‘breakdown’ the omega-3 that is in it. But flax is a great source of omega 3 ala and the richest plant source of omega 3 ala.

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  7. I’ve been using olive oil on my skin every night for several years. How does this compare with other oils you mention – flaxseed oil, or is it more beneficial to consume the flaxseed.

    Thank you. Barbara

  8. Fed up with expensive cleansers and treatments that seemed to make my mild acne worse, I switched to olive oil and have been having excellent results. Do you have any thoughts on which oils are best on oily or acne prone skin?

  9. Why eat Omega-3 fatty acids from flax seeds?
    Dietary deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids can cause long term damage to human health. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized the importance of Omega-3 to the public’s health and their importance to coronary health.
    Here is a problem:
    The Omega-3 in American diet has decreased gradually over time with the increased consumption of processed foods. On the other hand dietary levels of Omega-6 fatty acids have increased due to consumption of oils that are rich in Omega-6 fatty acids. This dietary imbalance of the omega fatty acids has created an unfavorable ratio of Omega 3 to the Omega 6 in our bodies.
    It is not just the amount of Omega-3 consumed but the amount of Omega-3 in relation to the amount of Omega-6 oils consumed that is important to keep the ratio to a favorable level of 1:4 (Omega 3 to Omega 6).
    Solution:
    Flaxseed provides one of the only non-animal sources of Omega-3 that contains significantly more Omega-3 than Omega-6. About 57% of the total oil in flax seeds is in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an Omega-3 fatty acid that is essential for human health. To improve Omega-3 levels and ratio between Omega 3 and Omega 6, it is important to consume foods that contain significantly higher levels of Omega-3 than Omega-6. There are very few foods that do that – flaxseed is one of them.
    The ALA is converted by the body into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) Omega-3s like those that are found in fish oils. The EPA and DHA are also essential Omega-3 fatty acids for human health. The conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA is not a very efficient process in body but remember a diet rich in flax seed, will provide all three Omega-3 fatty acids that are essential to healthy human health.

  10. I know somethng about it works. I have been using it on my face as a cleanser and eating a teaspoon a day, along with some flax seeds. My skin is absolutely great now. My hair is shiney!!! I alternate the cleansing with different types of oils, oils are the only thing my skin responds too, it is so cheap and effective!

      • My boyfriend has had open ulcers on his feet for four yrs and has been to many Dr.s and has had surgery on them, He is not diabetic. Do u think Flaxseed seed oil would help in the healing process? He also has Neoropothy. How much should he take? He weighs 325 and is appr. 6ft tall. Thnak You

  11. Excellent and useful information.If you take a daily doses of flaxseed oil or flaxseed, you are giving your entire body a healthful supplement. For me the flaxseed oil and flaxseed is best and healthiest foods and i have made a site about it, if you like to see, here’s the link Flaxseed oil benefits

  12. I am still interested in the value of topical use of cold pressed flax seed oil. will it moisturize my skin. Any one use it on their skin yet?

  13. anyone use flaxseed oil on their skin to any benefit> does it moisturize. does it have any benefit used topically?

  14. I have started using flax seed oil but its just started for a day. I was recommend it works great on dry skin. try it plus you can use in salads or even take a tsp of it.

  15. I just started using the oil on my face as well as consuming it with my oatmeal. I have to tell you,when i put it on my face it instantly moisturized my skin for it is very dry,and acne prone. In the morning I seen a huge improvement. The dryness and redness had diminished signifigently. I’m so glad I have discovered this. Ihave waisted so much money on products claimimng to improve my skins condition,only making it worse. I strongly advise anyone with skin conditions and/or extreme dryness to try the flax seed oil.

  16. Flax seed as a moisturizer at night is producing amazing results in my skin quality. It soaks it quickly as my dry skin soaks it up. I wash my face very well and use a great astringent to make sure all the makeup and oil is removed, then I pop open a flax seed capsule and apply the oil to my face. I go to bed and massage it in a few minutes while I watch tv. In the middle of the night I can feel my face and it’s so soft I’m astounded. I’m going to try it as a cleansing agent too next and mix the oil into my smoothies – good inside/good outside, and it’s so affordable. Healthy habits and skin care doesn’t have to be expensive, just stick to naturals.

  17. Linseed oil is also called flax seed oil,it is the a drying oil,it can polymerize into a solid form structure ,it can be use in the Paint binder,Wood finish,Cricket bats etc

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