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The Worst Oils for Your Skin: How Polyunsaturated Fats Age Skin

bad oils for skinbad oils for your skin

For a long time, fat has been demonized, being blamed for everything from heart attacks to obesity. However, you’ve probably heard the good news, the science is in and as it turns out, fat isn’t bad for us after all.

What most of those old claims failed to point out was key discernment between types of fats. The fact is, not all fats are created equally. There are many different types of fats, some of those fats are incredibly nourishing and necessary for hormone production and thyroid function. A total avoidance of fat can lead to a variety of problems, particularly thyroid issues, which can cause the skin to become dry, weak and aged.

Not only will the right types of fats improve our overall metabolic function, they can work miracles on our skin. However, before you begin, you should be aware of which kinds of fat you should add to your diet to for good health and a healthy glow.

The Bad Fat: Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFAs)

There are two basic types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Within these groups are subcategory types of fats. Polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are a type of unsaturated fats that unlike saturated fats, are liquid at most temperatures and are deficient in hydrogen atoms.

The major problem with PUFAs is their missing hydrogen atoms, which makes their cell structure more susceptible to free radicals. It is their chemical structure that makes them poorly oxidized by the metabolic system.

Due to their poor molecular structure, PUFAs are very unstable, oxidizing rapidly when exposed to oxygen, light, and heat. Most polyunsaturated fats come in liquid form and sit in bottles where they can oxidize easily. By the time we consume them, they enter the body rancid and cause inflammation and cell aging.

The free radicals produced during oxidation react with DNA and protein in a cell, causing aberrations of structure and function.

You are probably familiar with the term “free radicals”, but you may not know why they are harmful to the body and skin. These are reactive molecular particles that are produced in healthy cells via reactive oxygen species (ROS) that damage the cell. When we consume unsaturated fats/oils and they interact with free radicals, they cause a sequence of issues that accelerate the aging of the cell.

How this causes skin aging is simple. As the cells age, the rest of the body does as well. Cells make up microorganisms, they make up organs and organs make up the entire organism (the body). So, in understanding skin aging, we want to take a look at the cell. In the case of consuming PUFAs, it is obvious that they contribute
3 to oxidative damage to the cells of the skin, which will also damage the skin.

polyunsaturated fats

The Not-So Essential Fatty Acid

We all have heard of the term “essential fatty acid”, which PUFAs claim to be. But the fact is, PUFAs are far from essential and even further from being healthy. While the FDA and medical literature promote the consumption of essential fatty acids they fail to share their many negative side effects, including:

• Anti-thyroid effects
• Immunosuppressive effects
• Lipid peroxidative effects
• Anti-mitochondrial effect
• Inhibition of glucose oxidation
• Contributes to metastatic cancer
• Liver damaging effects
• Photoaging effects
• Amongst others

In short, PUFAs greatly suppress the metabolism, inhibiting every basic biological function. This became first apparent when the industrial farms of PUFAs (corn, canola, soy, etc) started to provide feed to factory meat farms. In no time, the livestock feeding on these grains and oils fatten up due to their anti-thyroid effect.

How PUFAs Cause Skin Aging

PUFA consumption speeds up the aging process in many ways, all tracing back to their metabolism-suppressing effects. Breaking things down, here are some of the ways PUFAs attribute to skin aging:

Oxidation: In the cell, oxidation causes cell damage and mutation. This includes the skin cells. A damaged, unhealthy skin cell is the building block for aged, wrinkling and unhealthy skin.

Suppressing Thyroid: Your thyroid is the basic energy-producing gland for metabolism. Without a healthy thyroid, your body will be deprived of biological energy. This will manifest as fatigue, a dull complexion, poor detoxification and poor circulation. Also, low thyroid leads to inflammation, the root cause of most skin diseases including eczema and psoriasis.

Low Progesterone: PUFAs inhibit the production of youth hormone progesterone, while increasing stress hormone, estrogen. There is a strong link between skin aging and high levels of estrogen. This is mostly due to the suppression of other youth hormones, growth hormones and sex hormones that are associated with youth.

Weak Digestion: PUFAs inhibit the secretion of digestive enzymes and HCL, which inhibits protein digestion. Poor digestion, especially poor protein digestion means a deficiency of proteins, the building blocks for skin and hair. Also, over time, low HCL production can result in parasite infections like H. Pylori, which can cause ulcers and inflammation to the skin.

Increased Toxicity: PUFAs are derived mostly of GMO crops like corn, soy, and canola, so chances are when you eat them, you’re also consuming chemical pesticides and other inflammatory toxins. These toxins can attribute to everything from skin problems to cancer by weakening the endocrine system and causing chronic inflammation.

Age Spots: Skin spots, liver spots or other pigmentation issues are actually the results of oxidative stress. Because PUFAs are so light sensitive, they go rancid and oxidize quickly under light. Keep in mind that anything you eat, will eventually, to some degree come out of your skin – the skin is a detoxification organ. So if your body is overburdened with these toxic oils, your body will try to eliminate them from the skin and all detoxification organs. However, if you’re baking in the sun with these oils coming out of your pores they can oxidize right on your skin, causing skin aging. With this being said, never put PUFAs on your skin either!

PUFAs List to Avoid:

For easy reference, here is a list of common PUFAs to avoid:

• Avocado oil
• Canola oil
• Fish oil
• Cottonseed oil
• Flax oil
• Linseed oil
• Margarine
• Palm oil
• Peanut oil
• Safflower oil
• Sesame oil
• Soybean oil
• Vegetable oil

The Beauty Oils for your skin

Not ALL fat is bad. Here is a list of the good fats, the ones that promote metabolism and healthy skin. They are mostly saturated fats, including:

good oil for skin

• Coconut oil
• Stone crushed olive oil (only consumed raw)
• Raw, grass-fed butter
• Grass-fed ghee
• Grass-fed animal fats (lard and tallow from beef, lamb, duck, etc.)
• Jojoba oil (topical use)
• Raw cacao butter
• Shea butter

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23 thoughts on “The Worst Oils for Your Skin: How Polyunsaturated Fats Age Skin

  1. Yes it can, have you tried our moisturizer? Certain oils clogging your skin may have more to do with the quality of the oil more than the oil itself.

  2. Fresh fish is always a great option other than fish oil! Walnuts, chia seeds and flax seeds are also high in omega 3s!

  3. What would you replace your omega fish oils with as they are on the list of ones not to take. Thanks

  4. Coconut oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil make me break out terribly every single time I try them (pore clogging?). Almond oil doesn’t make me break out, but after reading this, I’m done using it.

    Is there any natural moisturize for extremely oily and acne prone skin? Could aloe vera be used as a moisturizer?

  5. We believe there are higher quality, lower PUSF levels in other oils that are better options, but that is just our opinion from our research 😉 Hope you enjoyed the article!

  6. Avocado oil is 71% monounsaturated fat, 13 % PUFA, and 16% saturated fat. It appears to be a very healthy fat, with the percentage of PUFAs being relative small. I don’t believe it should be put in a damning category along with soy bean oil!

  7. […] cause wrinkles and the degeneration of collagen. You can learn more about how PUFAs ruin your skin here. […]

  8. Hi Rashmi! We do not have much info on those either and recommend our Gold Serum and Moisturizer for facial oil/moisturizer 🙂

  9. Hi Radiate health,
    A question,assuming that all the polyunsaturated oils are bad coz they oxidize on your skin,go rancid soon, causing free radicals, but what about watermelon seed oil and meadowfoam oil, how do you recommend them as a facial oil/moisturizer or its a big no-no. Plz elaborate.

    P.s can’t find any information about them, except that they are stable. Thank you.

  10. Extra virgin olive oil taking a couple tablespoons a day is that good for your complexion

  11. […] they do not get easily spoilt or develop an unpleasant smell. The longer unstable oils (polyunsaturated oils) stay in a jar, the worse they […]

  12. Fish oil is OK in small quantities but it’s best to get it from fresh, wild caught, fish. Processed oils unless meticulously protected go rancid. You need a little Omega-6 linoleic acid – not much and fresh, not processed. You need DHA and EHA Omega 3 from seafood. That’s it, the rest of your fats should be locally sourced. If you live near olive trees eat some olive oil, if you live in northern climates eat animal fat (do not eat grain fed poultry or eggs).

    Don’t eat processed carbs and don’t eat often. It’s paleo once per day or twice per day for me now.

  13. I wouldn’t put fish oil or flax oil on the skin as these are not recommended topically; flax & fish are better internally.

  14. Hi Chrissy. 🙂 Very interesting about YSL, thank you for sharing!

  15. Good one! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  16. Sesame oil, called “til” oil in Sanskrit, has reportedly been known since Vedic times. The ancient ayurvedic scholar Charaka, in his well-known treatise on ayurveda, claims that it is the best of all oils. Sesame oil is the traditional oil of choice for abhyanga, the daily ayurvedic self-massage. It is rich in linoleic acid, and has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

  17. Hi Andy, I am so glad that you mentioned that you don’t wear a daily sunscreen. I worked for YSL which at the time was run by Sanofi pharmaceutical and they did not believe in sunscreen they believed it is too toxic and held off putting a sunscreen in their products until they found a non toxic alternative. Sun cancer is the worst it has ever been since we have been actively applying it. Makes you go hmmmmmm. Thanks or all you do for us.

  18. Hi! SPF is a touchy subject; I don’t use a sunblock and at the moment have no plans on creating one because I’m uncertain about adding zinc or titanium dioxide to any of the products. I would rather nourish with my Moisturizer, get little sun, wear a hat and find some shade when needed.

  19. Any thoughts on maracuja oil?

  20. Almond oil is fine, but I wouldn’t put fish oil or flax oil on the skin as these are not recommended topically; flax & fish are better internally.

  21. Hi Radiate Health,

    When you talk about the PUFA bad list. Is this necessary bad to put on your skin? Almond oil is in a lot of beauty products/skin products to put on your skin? Is something like this and Flax oil bad to put on your skin?

    Looking forward hearing from you

  22. So fish oil is bad for your skin I thought good for it

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