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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.

The two essential fatty acids are highlighted below:

Alpha-Linolenic Acid

Alpha-Linolenic Acid (C18:3) is an polyunsaturated omega-3 essential fatty acid. It is present in some carrier oils and is particularly abundant in Rose Hip Seed Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Cranberry Seed Oil and a number of others.

Linoleic Acid

Linoleic Acid (C18:2) is a polyunsaturated omega-6 essential fatty acid. It is present in some carrier oils and is particularly abundant in Avocado Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Rose Hip Seed Oil and a number of others.

What are Omega Fatty Acids?

You will likely come across fatty acids described as Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega-7 or Omega-9 fatty acids. The omega system of fatty acid classification pertains to the carbon atom structure of unsaturated fatty acids. Aside from alpha-Linolenic Acid (an Omega-3 essential fatty acid) and Linoleic Acid (an Omega-6 essential fatty acid), no other fatty acids are considered essential to human.

Fatty Acid List

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

Important Information

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.

Carrier Oil Book Suggestions

Click on a book's title to view details and read a full review for the book. Visit AromaWeb's Books area to find details about many other essential oil and aromatherapy books.


Book Cover

Liquid Sunshine: Vegetable Oils for Aromatherapy
Level: Beginning • Intermediate • Advanced
Author: Jan Kusmirek


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Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy & Massage
Level: Beginning • Intermediate • Advanced
Authors: Len Price with Ian Smith & Shirley Price

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Wendy Robbins (Cert. Aroma ACHS), Founder of AromaWeb, is a Professional Level Member of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

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