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Fatty acids: moisturisers and natural oils

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Recently you might have noticed that more oils are becoming available and being aimed at men for skincare purposes. The biggest example being the explosion in beard oil use. You will also find some of these oils added to moisturisers as well.  It's easy to wonder what is the point of these oils? 

The great thing about the multiple types of oils now available, whether it be mixtures of argan oil, jojoba oil, apricot oil or the many more available, something they all have in common is that they contain fatty acids. Fatty acids are molecules that play vital roles all over your body, specifically when it comes to caring for the skin. They help to make up the skin cells that act as a protective barrier to lock moisture in and prevent bad things from getting in. Particularly for skincare appearance it is important to keep your skin hydrated and prevent your skin from becoming too dry.

Fatty acids help to make up an oily barrier that repels water (after all water and oil never mix). However, don't let the word oily confuse you. Not all oils have the exact same qualities, the many oils used for skincare purposes have a smaller molecule size and so fit through your pores without blocking them. Other oils such as olive oil are larger in molecule size and so would block your pores. So stick to putting olive oil on your salads not your face. 

The oily barrier does not exist on the surface of your skin instead it is within the skin itself. It is this barrier that prevents water loss. This is something that is completely natural. Already your skin is made up of molecules called lipids, these are part of your body and they make up the membrane of your cells. When you add extra fatty acids to your skin via oils and moisturisers all you are doing is effectively enforcing and strengthening this natural barrier.

This could become something that is more important as you grow older and your cell strength weakens. Although, the exact science of what causes ageing and bodily decline is still something that isn't completely figured out. But adding extra fatty acids is something that is assumed to bring potential benefits to cell health. 

When it comes to men, beard oils are great for locking in moisture underneath your beard, an area that can suffer from becoming dry. This will prevent irritation and itchiness. But a little bit of oil used on other parts of the skin can have the same effect, preventing any of your skin from becoming dry.

Keeping your skin full of moisture is a sure way to maintain youthful and healthy looking and feeling skin. So look out for moisturisers that contain natural oils or find different oil mixtures that are sold as beard and face oils.