Friday, July 7, 2017

One Nutrient that Will Likely Benefit Your Skin

Our skin takes a beating. In addition to wind and sun, we take things up another notch with our daily scraping with sharpened steel.

Moisturizers and balms are fine as far as they go, but they are limited in the benefits that they offer.

It's always good advice to stay out of the sun. If you can't, then wear sun protective clothing and sunblock as appropriate. Sun damage isn't reversed or prevented by the application of mere sun oils or butters, for example.

A little-known fact is that many people get plenty of omega-six essential fatty acid (EFA) but not enough omega-three EFA. In the USA, our primary source of more-than-enough omega-six EFA comes from all the soybean oil and other inexpensive vegetable oils such as corn oil that we consume in commercial foods such as restaurant meals and processed foods such as salad dressings.

Our sources of omega-three EFA is much more limited. Most do not get enough to offset and balance their intake of omega-six EFA. Our omega-three-EFA deficiency does have many effects, and one of those is in our skin. Folk with an omega-three deficiency will have skin that feels rather papery -- a bit dry and smooth -- while those with adequate omega-three intake will have skin that feels more velvety.

This velvety feeling is lubrication that comes from within rather than topical applications like moisturizers or balms.

Common sources of both EFAs include Canola oil, which would be fine if that was our only source of EFAs. Other less-known balanced EFA sources include hemp oil and a proprietary blend of oils known as Udo's oil. However, most of us need more omega three to counterbalance our excessive omega six intake, not a balance of both EFAs.

Walnuts are a good source of omega-three EFA. The best source, in my opinion, is ground flax seeds. They are rich in omega-three EFA, are relatively tasteless so they can be added to almost any dish (especially hot soups, stews, and cereals -- but after cooking is the best time to add), and make an excellent thickener when desired. I recommend ground flax seeds rather than whole flax seeds because the whole seeds are difficult to break up by chewing, and, unbroken, are likely to pass right through you without yielding their precious omega-three oils.

I add ground flax seeds to my breakfast oatmeal every morning -- along with a lot of other stuff including cinnamon, some cooked legumes (for extra protein, soluble fiber and other good stuff), raisins, various berries, blackstrap molasses (for iron and calcium), unflavored gelatin (for the amino acid, glycine), raw sunflower seeds, chia seeds, sometimes other nut pieces such as raw cashews or pecans, oat milk, and kefir (a fermented diary beverage rich in healthy bacteria to benefit the gut microbiome).

If you get in the habit of a daily dose of a couple of heaping tablespoons of ground flax seeds, you may eventually see an improvement in the texture and health of your skin.

Happy shaving!


  1. To other readers: don't forget to drink enough water with the flax seeds! Otherwise you might end up constipated.

  2. Great article Doug! I myself am really into aloe juice. Not only is it great when used topically, it's also great to ingest! Great for digestion, stomach lining and skin yet again! I mix with ice water 1:1 and add a squirt of lemon juice! I keep it in the fridge and use as a cooling aftershave splash too! (note: after opening it needs to be refrigerated...but you know this!) keep up the great work!