[Essential fatty acids and the skin]

Allerg Immunol (Paris). 1990 Jun;22(6):225-31.
[Article in French]


Metabolism of the essential fatty acids (AGE) in an organism leads to synthesis of eicosanoids, which have various biological properties. Linoleic acid plays an important part in maintenance of epidermal integrity by intervening in the cohesion of the stratum corneum and in prevention of transepidermal water loss. Metabolites of arachidonic acid (mostly those obtained by the lipoxygenase pathway) are important agents in causing many inflammatory skin reactions concurrent with development of skin diseases such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Pharmacological and dietetic control of the metabolism of arachidonic acid is a new and interesting therapeutic concept in the care of skin diseases. Also, fish oil, which is rich in linoleic acid and poor in arachidonic acid, seems to be useful in basal treatment of psoriasis. The value of evening primrose oil, which is rich in gamma-linoleic acid, in the treatment of atopic dermatitis is discussed.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / metabolism
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / therapeutic use
  • Eicosanoids / biosynthesis*
  • Eicosanoids / physiology
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Essential / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Psoriasis / metabolism
  • Psoriasis / therapy
  • Skin / metabolism*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Eicosanoids
  • Fatty Acids, Essential