Many experts believe that the condition of our skin is simply a reflection of what’s going on inside our body; that health and beauty are interconnected. Rest assured, a practical path to more beautiful, glowing skin does exist: it comes as a natural byproduct of taking care of your basic health needs first.
After decades of practical experience with healthy oils, we’ve learned that optimizing amount and ratio of our essential fatty acid intake—plus drinking plenty of clean water—is the most effective means for achieving naturally beautiful skin. And both good oils and water are essential for life.
The Essentiality of Omega-3 and Omega-6 oils for Health. The body synthesizes most of the fatty acids it needs from other nutrients, but it lacks the enzymes to make either omega-3 or omega-6 essential fatty acids (or EFAs). These two are called ‘essential’ specifically because they’re required for health, but the body can’t make them, and therefore must obtain them directly from the diet.(1) EFAs are major structural components of all the membranes of the trillions of cells in the human body, and play key roles in many biological functions including cell growth and division, cell-to-cell communication, gene expression, eicosanoid hormone production, and many more.(2)(3)
The body synthesizes most of the fatty acids it needs from other nutrients, but it lacks the enzymes to make either omega-3 or omega-6 essential fatty acids (or EFAs). These two are called ‘essential’ specifically because they’re required for health, but the body can’t make them, and therefore must obtain them directly from the diet.
Functions of Skin. Skin is the largest organ in the human body, made up of highly-complex multiple layers of tissue. It functions as the anatomical interface between our internal constitution and our external environment.(4) On the most basic level, skin protects us from pathogens and damage, loss of essential nutrients, and excessive water loss.(5) Skin has several other functions: it acts as an insulator; regulates temperature; provides sensory information; synthesizes vitamin D from UV rays in certain parts, and acts as a storage center for lipids and water, to name a few.
The Role of EFAs in Skin Function. In addition to the key roles essential fatty acids play in health, they also help to form a protective two-way barrier in the skin.(6) The outermost layer of skin (the stratum corneum) includes a lipid matrix structure containing EFAs. This is a layered structure that is crucial to the skin’s protective functions.(5) This fatty barrier also prevents dehydration by locking in moisture, making EFAs nature’s most perfect moisturizers: they nourish us not only from the inside, but outside as well.
Furthermore, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids play roles in tissue repair, wound healing, mineral transport, and energy production. They also help to prevent or reverse skin inflammation.(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)
In addition to all the key roles essential fats play in health, they also form a protective barrier in our skin that prevents dehydration and locks in moisture, making EFAs nature’s most perfect moisturizers.
Using “Skin Feel” as a Measure of Optimal EFAs. Drawing on 30 years of practical experience working with people using oils ‘made with health in mind’, we recommend 1 tablespoon of Udo’s Oil Blend per 50 pounds of body weight per day, mixed into foods over the course of the day. In our experience, this recommendation has produced the best results, for both optimum health and nice skin. We like to use ‘skin feel’ as an indicator of optimal EFA intake. Why? Because EFAs are critical to health, the body’s natural intelligence dictates that the vital organs get EFAs first. Since humans can live with dry skin, skin is the organ to get them last. If your skin is dry, more EFAs will help.
Optimal Water Intake. The World Health Organization (WHO) set guidelines for adults of two liters (about 8.5 cups) of water per day, clearly noting however, that a person may require more or less than that, depending on a variety of factors including age, gender, health status, work/exercise duration and intensity, climatic conditions (air temperature, humidity, cloud cover, wind velocity), clothing, and how much water we get from water-rich foods (vegetables and fruits) and non-water beverages (coffee, tea, juices, alcoholic beverages, sodas, etc).(12) Although there is some debate surrounding the 8-glasses-of-water-per-day recommendation, we still think it’s a good place to start, particularly when it comes to nice skin.(13)
Another way to gauge whether or not you are getting enough water is by urine color: lightly colored urine is a sign that you are likely getting adequate amounts of water. Darker urine is typically a sign to drink more (two exceptions worth noting: a multi-vitamin will typically make urine more yellow; beets will add a reddish tint).
EFAs: A Dual Player for Beauty and Health. What do we know for sure? When we take a proactive approach to our water and EFA needs for health, beautifully hydrated skin becomes our ‘accidental’ reward. Working with blended oils for over thirty years, we’ve noted that more than three quarters of the people we surveyed reported that these oils greatly improved their skin within a month of taking the recommended daily amount. The most consistent feedback we received was that the oils made their skin more soft and velvety.
Working with blended oils for over thirty years, we’ve noted that more than three quarters of the people we surveyed reported that these oils greatly improved their skin within a month of taking the recommended daily amount. The most consistent feedback we received was that the oils made their skin more soft and velvety.
You can achieve truly beautiful skin by drinking plenty of clean water and then locking in that moisture with optimal amounts of undamaged good oils. It’s a winning combination. But don’t take our word for it. Try it for a month or two and let your own experience be the final word.
Udo Erasmus is an author, health educator, and creator and name behind the Udo’s Choice® health product line. His pioneering work in the field of health started in the ’80s. Learn more about his work: Udo’s Choice®
- Simopoulos AP, Bourne PG, Faergeman O. Bellagio report on healthy agriculture, healthy nutrition, healthy people. Nutrients. 2013 Feb 5; 5(2): 411-23.
- Simopoulos AP. Evolutionary aspects of diet: the omega-6/omega-3 ratio and the brain. Mol Neurobiol. 2011 Oct; 44(2):203-15. doi: 10.1007/s12035-010-8162-0. Epub 2011 Jan 29.
- Kaur N, Chugh V, Gupta AK. Essential fatty acids as functional components of foods- a review. J Food Sci Technol. 2014 Oct; 51(10): 2289-303. doi: 10.1007/s13197-012-0677-0. Epub 2012 Mar 21.
- Boer M, Duchnik E, Maleszka R, Marchlewicz M. Structural and biophysical characteristics of human skin in maintaining proper epidermal barrier function. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2016 Feb;33(1):1-5. doi: 10.5114/pdia.2015.48037. Epub 2016 Feb 29.
- van Smeden J, Bouwstra JA. Stratum Corneum Lipids: Their Role for the Skin Barrier Function in Healthy Subjects and Atopic Dermatitis Patients. Curr Probl Dermatol. 2016;49:8-26. doi: 10.1159/000441540. Epub 2016 Feb 4.
- Feingold KR, Elias PM. Role of lipids in the formation and maintenance of the cutaneous permeability barrier. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Mar;1841(3):280-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2013.11.007. Epub 2013 Nov 18.
- De Mel D, Suphioglu C. Fishy business: effect of omega-3 fatty acids on zinc transporters and free zinc availability in human neuronal cells. Nutrients. 2014 Aug 15;6(8):3245-58. doi: 10.3390/nu6083245.
- Oh SY, Lee SJ, Jung YH, Lee HJ, Han HJ. Arachidonic acid promotes skin wound healing through induction of human MSC migration by MT3-MMP-mediated fibronectin degradation. Cell Death Dis. 2015 May 7;6:e1750. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2015.114.
- Kendall AC, Pilkington SM, Massey KA, Sassano G, Rhodes LE, Nicolaou A. Distribution of bioactive lipid mediators in human skin. J Invest Dermatol. 2015 Jun;135(6):1510-20. doi: 10.1038/jid.2015.41. Epub 2015 Feb 10.
- Lin MH, Khnykin D. Fatty acid transporters in skin development, function and disease. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2014 Mar;1841(3):362-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2013.09.016. Epub 2013 Oct 8.
- Khnykin D, Miner JH, Jahnsen F. Role of fatty acid transporters in epidermis: Implications for health and disease. Dermatoendocrinol. 2011 Apr;3(2):53-61. doi: 10.4161/derm.3.2.14816. Epub 2011 Apr 1.
- Grandjean AC. Water requirements, impinging factors, and recommended intakes. World Health Organization, August 2004.
- August 24th, 2015 article published in the New York Times, written by Dr. Aaron E. Carroll, No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day.