The two major essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and gammalinolenic acid, in which evening primrose oil is rich, are natural skin nutrients. Linoleic acid and gammalinoleic acid are vital components of the structure of all cell membranes and are normally converted by the body into prostaglandins. Prostaglandins play an important role in maintaining skin health.
When applied directly to the skin, linoleic acid and gammalinolenic acid have a profound effect on reducing trans-epidermal water loss, so evening primrose oil works as a natural moisturizer.
Unlike some other major organs of the body, skin is not capable of converting linoleic acid applied directly to it to gammalinolenic acid. The conversion of dietary linoleic acid to GLA and prostaglandin El is known to decrease with age. As a consequence, the levels of GLA and PGE1 in the skin may become low, and the condition of the skin may suffer.
Because evening primrose oil is such a rich source of GLA, the problematic first step in the conversion process, from linoleic acid to GLA and through to PGE1, is completely avoided.
If you provide the skin with a direct source of GLA, it means that the liver – which normally does the conversion from linoleic acid to gammalinolenic acid – has less work to do. By applying evening primrose oil to the skin, you are providing it with a direct precursor of prostaglandin El on site.
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