When it comes to hero skincare ingredients, the vitamin family is right up there. You’re familiar with vitamin A, the key source of retinol which is known for its ability to tackle enlarged pores, sun damage and acne marks. Vitamin B3, better known as niacinamide, helps improve the appearance of pores, evens out skin tone and strengthens the skin barrier. Then there is vitamin C, which is known for its brightening and collagen-boosting abilities. Another good one is vitamin E, known for its hydrating and antioxidant benefits.
But have you heard of Vitamin F? This lesser-known “vitamin” is actually great for your skin! Here’s everything you need to know about it, plus the products you can find it in.
What is Vitamin F?
Vitamin F is not really a vitamin. It’s just a better-known term for linoleic acid, which is omega-6 essential fatty acid. The other kind of essential fatty acid is omega-3 or alpha linoleic fatty acid. These are called essential fatty acids because while neither of these are produced in the body, they are needed to maintain regular functioning of the brain, heart, immunity, hormones and skin health, among other things. Which is why you take omega-3 and omega-6 supplements or get them from foods like egg yolks, almonds, chia and flax seeds. When it comes to skincare, vitamin F plays a healing nourishing role and can be found in oils and in creams.
How does Vitamin F help skin?
Vitamin F or omega-6 essential fatty acid is rich in antioxidants and helps fight off damage from free radicals, keeping skin healthy. It also strengthens the skin’s natural barrier and this, in turn, keeps out any aggressors like the harmful sun’s rays, pollution and infections. Not only does it hydrate skin and keep it plump while softening fine lines, it also locks in moisture keeping it hydrated longer.
It is also known for its ability to regulate sebum production and reduce acne. People with acne-prone skin are said to have low levels of linoleic acid which triggers overproduction of sebum, which then leads to acne. In fact, one study showed a 25 per cent reduction in microcomodones (small, headless acne) over the period of a month for those who had used linoleic acid topically.
Why you need to add vitamin F to your skincare routine
Essential Fatty Acids like omega-6 are able to penetrate the skin barrier and therefore help penetration of other active ingredients like antioxidants. Vitamin F works well with most skincare ingredients and can be used as part of your skincare routine both in the day and as well as at night.
Since it is helpful in healing wounds and soothing inflammation, it is also used after peels or laser treatments to speed up recovery. You can also use it if you’re taking or using acne medication or doing at home peels. But as with any new skincare ingredients or products, check with your dermatologist or aesthetician before using it.
How do you know your skincare has vitamin F?
You can find vitamin F in various forms in a variety of skincare products like serums, creams, oils to name a few. On the ingredient list, it might be listed as linoleic acid or omega-6. Some products will list sources of vitamin F like rosehip, avocado, chia, olive, evening primrose, flax seed, sunflower, safflower oils to name a few.