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Home Page > Carrier Oil Profiles > Essential Fatty Acids

Essential Fatty Acids

The human body can manufacture most fatty acids that we need for optimal health. Those fatty acids that we cannot manufacture and need to acquire from our diet are called Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Essential Fatty Acids are necessary for human functions and healthy, youthful skin.

Those that are lacking in the proper intake of Essential Fatty Acids may demonstrate seriously dry skin or they may be prone to more serious skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema. Using carrier oils that are rich in essential fatty acids and including a diet rich in Essential Fatty Acids can significantly help nourish and improve the look and feel of the skin.

Essential Fatty Acids are generally organized into two groups: Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids. The hardest to acquire EFAs are the Omega-3 group.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids:
Alpha linolenic acid is the primary Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid found in carrier oils. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are more beneficial than Alpha linolenic acid, but EPA and DHA are only present in fish oil.

Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids:
Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) and linoleic acid are examples of Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids found in carrier oils.

Omega-7 and Omega-9 Fatty Acids;
You may occasionally read about Omega-7 or Omega-9 Fatty Acids. Omega-7 and Omega-9 Fatty Acids are not considered Essential Fatty Acids. The body can manufacture these fatty acids.

For a categorized list of fatty and essential fatty acids, see Fatty and Essential Fatty Acids Typically Found in Carrier Oils.

Important Note: The information provided on AromaWeb is for educational purposes only. This data is not considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate.

General Safety Information: Use caution when trying any new ingredient, including carrier oils on the skin or in the hair. Those with nut allergies should consult their medical practitioner before coming into contact with nut oils, butters or other nut products. Do not take any oils internally without consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Safety information can be found by visiting the Safety Information page. For very in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand. 

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Find detailed carrier oil information and profiles within these books...

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Liquid Sunshine: Vegetable Oils for Aromatherapy
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