(NaturalNews) Borage and flaxseed oil appear to act internally to improve skin health, according to a study conducted by researchers from Laboratoire Oenobiol in France and Heinrich-Heine University and the University of Witten-Herdecke in Germany, and published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Researchers assigned 45 healthy, non-smoking women to receive a daily supplement consisting of 2.2 grams of either borage oil, flaxseed oil, or a medium-chain fatty acid placebo. The researchers regularly induced skin irritation (inflammation and reddening) in every woman by means of topically applied nicotinate. All participants were between the ages of 18 and 65.
Women who had been taking borage oil for several weeks were found to experience 35 percent less skin reddening than they had at the beginning of the study, while those taking flaxseed oil experienced 45 percent less. There was no change in the degree of reddening experienced by the placebo group. Women receiving borage or flaxseed oil also exhibited lessened blood flow to the skin in response to irritation.
After six weeks, those taking either oil supplement experienced a 10 percent decrease in water loss through the skin, and another six weeks showed even further improvement among the flaxseed group. Both groups showed significant decreases in skin roughness and scaling after 12 weeks, while no change was observed in the placebo group.
Borage oil consists of large amounts of the omega-6 fatty acids gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid (LA), and the monounsaturated fat oleic acid. Flaxseed oil consists mostly of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), along with smaller quantities of omega-6 fatty acids and oleic acid. Blood levels of GLA were observed to increase in the borage oil group after six and 12 weeks, as were ALA levels among the flaxseed group.
The current study was not designed to uncover the specific mechanism by which the oils improve skin health.