Benefits of oleic acid: 5 reasons why your skin will love it

Oleic acid has gained popularity in the skincare world. Here are some of the benefits of oleic acid for skin and how to include it in your skincare routine.
A woman applying a face serum
Oleic acid is a popular skin care ingredient. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Shruti Bhattacharya Published: 22 Mar 2024, 13:15 pm IST
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Oleic acid is in the spotlight due to its ability to maintain youthful and healthy skin. It has become a vital ingredient in many skin care products. The monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid it contains is derived from various plant and animal sources. These small yet potent molecules are renowned for their remarkable skin-renewing properties and are gaining popularity for their potential to counteract the effects of ageing. Given the numerous benefits of oleic acid, it is worth exploring how to incorporate it into your skin care regimen.

What is oleic acid?

Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, a type of fat found naturally in many plants and animals, and may have the ability to induce a lightening effect on the skin, according to a 2021 research published in the Pharmaceutics journal.

In skin care, it is particularly present in various oils such as sea buckthorn, grapeseed, and olive oil. It is colourless and odourless.

Olive oil in a bowl
Oleic acid can be found in olive oil. Image courtesy: Pexels

What are the benefits of oleic acid for skin?

Here are some of the benefits of adding this skincare ingredients in your skincare routine:

1. Rich in anti-ageing and antioxidant properties

Oleic acid rapidly and deeply enters the skin’s layers to replenish lost moisture, says dermatologist Dr Seema Oberoi Lall. Without oils, our skin becomes dry, leaving it subject to fine lines, wrinkles, and loose skin. Oleic acid allows your skin to replenish its natural oils without blocking your pores. The antioxidant components in it can help shield the skin from free radical damage so that it retains its firmness, smoothness for a longer time. It can also heal previous damage and protect your skin from new harm.

2. Works as a great penetration enhancer

When applied topically, oleic acid can control the skin’s natural lipid barrier, which is made up of layers of natural fats and dead skin cells. This barrier is referred to as the skin barrier or moisture barrier. Skin irritation, sensitivity, dryness, redness, and itching can all be brought on by damaged lipid barriers. This means that all of the nutrients, hydration, and antioxidants in the products can readily permeate the layers of skin. It may nourish and restore your skin from the inside out, giving it all the moisture and balance it needs to look young and healthy and leave it feeling smooth, supple, glowing, and soft.

3. Provides a moisturising seal

Oleic acid provides an excellent moisturising seal on your skin but can be harmful to people who do not have a dry skin, says the expert. It restores moisture that has been lost due to ageing. If your skin is not moisturised, it can become dull and flaky, aggravate acne, and eliminate the protective layer of your skin. Well-hydrated skin is less prone to dryness, irritation, sensitivity, itching, breakouts, and skin damage.

4. Fights free radical

Free radicals can damage cells in your skin, hastening the ageing process. Damage can also result in black patches, broken blood vessels, altered skin texture, and changes in complexion. Additionally, it disrupts the levels of elastin and collagen, causing the skin to seem loose and saggy. Fine lines and wrinkles will occur as a result of your skin losing its firmness and suppleness. Oleic acid is a well-known substance that helps heal dry and aged skin from within. It also aids in the management of current ageing symptoms. Using it regularly can help you delay the ageing process.

5. Rich in anti-inflammatory and healing properties

Oleic acid is a naturally calming, balancing, and protecting barrier for the skin. It shields the skin from all environmental aggressors, including pollution, sun exposure, and climate change, in addition to being a great moisturiser. Additionally, oleic acid is known to support the integrity of cell membranes, which aids in the skin’s recovery from harsh environments, says Dr Lall.

A woman applying serum on face
Oleic acid has anti-inflammatory property. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to include oleic acid in your skin care routine?

Oleic acid isn’t usually a standalone ingredient in skin care products. Instead, look for products rich in oils containing oleic acid. These can be:

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  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Almond oil
  • Shea butter

Things to know before you use oleic acid for skin

  • Go for a patch test before trying any new product containing these oils on a small area of your skin.
  • Begin with a clean face for maximum absorption. Use a gentle cleanser to remove make-up, pollutants, and excess oil from your skin.
  • Focus on the problematic areas on the face and apply a tiny amount of oleic acid-containing oil.
  • Start by applying it on your skin once or twice a week and work your way up to a higher frequency.
  • To promote optimal absorption, apply oleic acid oil before using heavier creams.

Although oleic acid is typically harmless, some people may find it irritating, particularly if they have oily or acne-prone skin. The heavier, slower absorbent  nature of oleic acid-rich oil might clog pores if you have oily or acne-prone skin.

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About the Author

Shruti Bhattacharya is a content writer and editor for over 2 years. She specialises in writing on a variety of topics such as wellness, lifestyle, beauty, technology and fashion. Her current focus is on creating factually correct and informative stories for readers. ...Read More

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