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Are Seed Oils Skin Friends or Foes?

Written by Our Editorial Team

Are Seed Oils Skin Friends or Foes?

Written by Our Editorial Team

Ever wonder why after a big night out, we tend to wake up the next day with our skin acting up? It could be in the form of breakouts, redness, or tired and dry-looking skin.

We feel your struggle. Figuring out what’s causing those breakouts and stealing your skin thunder is frustrating. You may think it’s from poor sleep, alcohol, or just chalk it up to going off your normal routine.

But one of the often overlooked culprits is actually seed oil.

What’s the Problem with Seed Oil?

You might've heard that highly-processed seed oils could wreak havoc on your skin when consumed in excess. Seed oils are not all bad, though. “Some of these oils would be high in vitamin E and phenols, if not for the refining process itself,” as stated by Cleveland Clinic. But this refining process strips the seeds of their nutritive value– while also helping with the taste, color and shelf life. That’s why you’ll find these oils used quite extensively in fast food, takeout, and processed snacks due to their affordability.

Common highly-processed seed oils include:

  • Canola oil
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower
  • Corn oil

Common seed oils used in cooking are high in Omega-6 Fatty Acid (which mostly come from plant oils, seeds, and nuts). While Omega-6s are essential for health, there’s an importance of maintaining a balance between Omega-6s and Omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fatty fishes and nuts).

“Our typical diet is usually heavy on omega-6 fats,” says Eric Venn-Watson, M.D., “and your body only needs between 12 grams for women and 17 grams for men of omega-6 fatty acids per day.”

The problem with that? Excess Omega-6s can lead to inflammation. For your skin, excessive inflammation can manifest as acne, redness or rashes, and breakouts. It can also worsen inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. This is why after a night out of greasy foods, we often feel and literally look inflamed the next day.

Even worse, a 2018 study found an association between a higher intake of omega-6 fats and inflammation that caused tissue damage and disease. Thinking long-term, these re-refined oils also oxidize easily, leading to the formation of free radicals that damage skin cells and accelerate aging.

So you might ask… What’s the alternative?

A Better Option: Cold-Pressed & Unrefined Fruit Oils

What you want to look for generally are cold-pressed and unrefined fruit oils. These fruit oils are extracted without heat or chemicals, usually on the first press, which means they keep all their original nutrients.

Look for the following on the labels:

  • Virgin or extra virgin: Minimally processed, without the use of chemicals.
  • Cold-pressed: Extracted using no heat.

These oils also hold a lot of antioxidants and fatty acids—great news for your health and your skin.

Some great examples are:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Cold-pressed rapeseed oil
  • Virgin coconut oil

You have the ability to recalibrate the imbalance simply by becoming aware of and reducing your omega-6 intake and/or upping the omega-3s in your diet through the above options. You can also incorporate more omega-3-rich foods such as grass-fed meat, fish, flax, chia, and algae

Balance is Key

Remember, balance is key. Everyone needs to let loose to enjoy life and let off some steam. But if you find yourself plagued by inflamed skin every time you have a big night out, it’s time to think about the long-term benefits of making healthier choices.

By choosing options like opting for cold-pressed fruit oils and limiting refined seed oils in your diet, you can maintain clearer, more balanced, and nourished skin from the inside out.

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