Supplementation of Flaxseed Oil Diminishes Skin Sensitivity and Improves Skin Barrier Function and Condition

January 1, 2011 Human Health and Nutrition Data 0 Comments

Supplementation of Flaxseed Oil Diminishes Skin Sensitivity and Improves Skin Barrier Function and Condition

Year: 2011
Authors: Neukam , K. De Spirt , S. Stahl, W. Bejot , M. Maurette , J.-M. Tronnier , H. Heinrich, U.
Publication Name: Skin Pharmacol. Physiol.
Publication Details: Volume 24; Pages 67-74.


Skin sensitivity is a common problem in the Western population correlated with changes of skin properties like skin barrier function, hydration and skin physiology. Skin properties can be modulated by dietary fatty acids (FA), especially poly-unsaturated FA. The present study was performed to evaluate the effect of daily supplementation with flaxseed oil and safflower seed oil on healthy volunteers with sensitive skin. The study was designed as a randomized, double-blind 12-week intervention with 2 female treatment groups (n = 13). Plasma FA profile, skin sensitivity, skin hydration, transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and skin surface were evaluated on day 0, week 6 and week 12. Supplementation with flaxseed oil led to significant decreases in sensitivity (after nicotinate irritation), TEWL, skin roughness and scaling, while smoothness and hydration were increased. Concomitantly, the ratio of n6/n? FA in plasma decreased. Upon supplementation with safflower-seed oil, only a significant improvement in skin roughness and hydration was observed; however, the effects were less pronounced and determined at a later point in time than with flaxseed oil. The plasma n6/n3 FA ratio increased. The data provide evidence that daily intake of flaxseed oil modulates skin condition. (Author's abstract)
Epidemiological studies indicate that more than 50% of the Western population consider themselves to have sensitive skin. The characteristics of a sensitive skin are altered skin hydration, irritation, inflammatory and immune responses. Apparent cutaneous symptoms are dryness, scaling, erythema, color as well as changes in skin texture and structure. Patients usually report an itching, stinging and burning sensation.  Topical applications of oils containing n6 FA, LA or GLA are used in the therapy of dry and sensitive skin. The present study investigates the influence of supplementation with flaxseed oil and safflower seed oil on properties of sensitive skin. After supplementation with flaxseed oil, both erythema formation and capillary blood flow were diminished, suggesting that flaxseed oil intake improved epidermal function and modulated inflammation depending on signal molecules. The determination of the TEWL confirmed the change in the barrier function, as the ingestion of flaxseed oil decreased TEWL. This was also accompanied by a higher skin hydration status, which can be correlated with irritant reaction and skin permeability. In contrast, safflower seed oil intake did not significantly influence the TEWL; however, a slight increase in hydration was observed. After supplementation with flaxseed oil, plasma ALA concentrations increased, whereas LA concentration increased after safflower seed supplementation. An improvement in skin surface parameters, like roughness, scaling and smoothness, after supplementation with flaxseed oil was observed. This study suggests that flaxseed oil rich in ALA have a very positive impact on sensitive skin. (Editor's Comment)

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