Age-old wisdom

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 19 October, 2009, 12:00am

With all the talk of making sure we have enough omega 3 in our diets, it is hardly surprising that the cosmetics industry has picked up on the trend. Over the past few years brands have been incorporating omega 3 into their skin care products for maximum elasticity and nourishment.

Fatty acids are divided into four types - omega 3, 6, 7 and 9. Omega 3 and 6 are 'essential' fatty acids that cannot be produced by our bodies, and as such must be ingested or applied externally for the body to absorb.

While omega 7 and 9 are naturally produced by our bodies, the fatty acid production ability may decrease with age, and topical application would also be necessary then.

While these fatty acids provide our skin with nourishment and help it regain elasticity and softness, we must make sure the ratio of omega 3, 6 and 9 is suitable for our skin. According to a Bulgari spokesman, if the acidity is off-balance, the product will have no effect at best and, at worst, may even have an adverse effect on the skin.

A Bulgari skincare product called Elixir Merveilleux - Intensive Nourishing Serum (HK$2,700), containing omega 3, 6 and 9 has the ratio of the three omega oils at 1: 1: 1.5. This ratio has been proven through the brand's research to be the closest to the body's natural balance.

However, there is no set standard agreed upon in the industry, and the omega oil ratios in products from other companies may vary.

The age to start applying omega oil-enriched products does not relate to your real age but to the 'age' of your skin. Skin is said to be ageing if that on one's face or body starts sagging, usually around the chin or neck.

Options include Omega 3 Overnight Lipid Renewal Serum (HK$600) by Ren, which is derived from vegetal plankton extract and 'gold of pleasure oil' to provide the skin with essential bio-active nutrients and help restore the suppleness and elasticity of our skin.

Dior's Capture Totale Haute Nutrition Multi-Perfection Nurturing Oil Treatment (HK$945) uses centuline and alpha-longoza complex together with omega 3, 6 and 9 to correct the signs of ageing.

Meanwhile, the anti-ageing Immortelle Divine Cream by L'Occitane (HK$880) uses omega 3 extracted from camelina and echium oils, myrtle essential oil and 'essential oil of Immortelle Plant' to nourish the skin and restore its firmness, smoothness and youthfulness.