As an omega-6 fatty acid, CLA plays a crucial role in skin health, helping to maintain the skin's barrier, preserving moisture, and protecting the skin from harmful environmental factors.
As an antioxidant, CLA also protects the skin from oxidative stress, which can cause premature aging.
Thankfully, people are breaking away from the false notion that “fat is bad” and recognizing the importance of high quality, grass-fed fat for overall health.
With this shift, the skincare industry is quickly acknowledging the potential and role of CLA in skincare.
What is Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Where is it Found?
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a naturally occurring fatty acid found in various food sources from the products of ruminant animals such as cows, goats, sheep, and deer. Rich in CLA, these include suet (and its purified form tallow), meat, milk, and cheese. (source)
It's worth noting that the amount of CLA in these animal products is heavily influenced by farming practices, with grass-fed animals yielding products that contain 2-4 times more CLA than their grain-fed counterparts. (source)
While CLA supplements are available, experts caution against their use due to the chemical alteration involved in their production from plant sources.
Instead, individuals can obtain CLA directly from their diet or skincare, rich in grass-fed meats, fats, and dairy products.
The Role of CLA Conjugated Linoleic Acid in Skincare
CLA has a multifaceted role in skincare. It is a potent antioxidant, protecting the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals.
These unstable molecules can lead to premature skin aging, causing wrinkles, fine lines, and age spots. By neutralizing these free radicals, CLA helps maintain the skin's youthful appearance. (source)
Additionally, CLA is known for its anti-inflammatory properties (source). Inflammation is often the root cause of many skin conditions, such as acne, rosacea, and eczema.
CLA's ability to reduce inflammation makes it a valuable ally in managing these conditions. It can soothe irritated skin, reduce redness, and help promote healing.
Furthermore, CLA supports the skin's moisture barrier, helping to maintain hydration. A healthy moisture barrier is critical for keeping the skin plump and youthful.
It prevents water loss and shields the skin from environmental aggressors. By reinforcing this barrier, CLA ensures the skin remains hydrated, firm, and radiant. (source)
The Science Behind CLA Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Skin Health
Scientific research backs up the role of CLA in skincare. Several studies have demonstrated its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin barrier enhancing properties.
For instance, a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that CLA could protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) induced damage, thanks to its antioxidant action.
Another study, published by Oregon State University, showed that dietary CLA could improve skin firmness, hydration, and elasticity in postmenopausal women. This is likely due to CLA's ability to reinforce the skin's moisture barrier and stimulate collagen production.
Apply these products as directed by the manufacturer. Generally, soaps and toners are used first to prepare the skin, followed by serums and moisturizers to nourish and hydrate.
Sunscreens should be applied last to protect the skin from UV damage.
Remember that consistency is key when it comes to skincare. To reap the full benefits of CLA, use your CLA-containing products regularly, as part of your daily skincare routine.
Best Skincare Products Containing CLA Conjugated Linoleic Acid
There is a growing range of skincare products containing CLA. Some of the best include:
Tallow Soaps: Made with grass-fed tallow, a natural source of CLA, these soaps offer long-lasting moisture with a rich, natural aroma from the essential oils they use. They nourish and hydrate the skin with a traditional recipe that honors times’ past.
Tallow Moisturizers: Specifically formulated with grass-fed beef tallow, hand-rendered by the producer, these moisturizers nourish and hydrate the skin while offering antioxidant protection.
Tallow Lip Balm: Don’t let the idea of fat on your lips deter you from trying the most amazing lip balms mankind has ever produced! Smooth and silky, fast absorbing, and ultra-hydrating, these lip balms give lips just what they need to be kissably-soft.
Tallow Hand & Foot Salve: For the extra tough, cracked skin that seems to worsen in the winter, this salve does the trick! With a thick, rich formula that absorbs quickly, leaving no greasy residue, it’s perfect for men, women, elbows, knees, and all dry skin in between.
Potential Side Effects of CLA Conjugated Linoleic Acid in Skincare
While CLA is generally safe for topical use, some people may experience side effects, as with any natural or artificial ingredient.
These can include skin irritation, redness, and itching. If you have a known allergy to CLA, beef, or tallow, it's best to perform a patch test before using a new product.
Moreover, while CLA offers UV protection, it should not replace sunscreen. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
Expert Opinions on CLA Conjugated Linoleic Acid in Skincare
Dermatologists and skincare experts are optimistic about the potential of CLA in skincare. They acknowledge its scientifically backed benefits, such as antioxidant protection, anti-inflammatory action, and moisture barrier enhancement.
Experts recommend incorporating CLA into your skincare routine, especially if you have dry, aging, or inflamed skin.
However, they also caution about potential side effects and emphasize the importance of using CLA as part of a comprehensive skincare routine.
This includes cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting the skin from UV damage.
So, Is CLA Conjugated Linoleic Acid the Hidden Gem in Skincare?
CLA Conjugated Linoleic Acid certainly appears to be a hidden gem in skincare. With its multitude of research- backed benefits, it seems to have the potential to enhance skin health and appearance significantly.
Whether you're looking to fight signs of aging, soothe inflammation, or boost hydration, products that contain CLA-rich ingredients, such as grass-fed tallow, can be a valuable addition to your skincare routine.
However, like any skincare ingredient, it's essential to use it correctly and consistently.