Dietary supplementation of gamma-linolenic acid improves skin parameters in subjects with dry skin and mild atopic dermatitis

J Oleo Sci. 2011;60(12):597-607. doi: 10.5650/jos.60.597.


Disruption of the skin barrier function caused by epidermal hyper-proliferation, results in the skin becoming dry and showing high transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is reportedly efficacious for treating TEWL and epidermal hyper-proliferation. In this study, to elucidate the effect of GLA-rich oil on skin function, GLA-containing food was given to adults with dry skin or mild atopic dermatitis and skin parameters were evaluated. In the results, we recognized beneficial effects on the TEWL index. The efficacy of GLA was also demonstrated to be statistically significant especially in subjects with pro-inflammatory features. The results suggest that the mechanism of improvement of skin barrier has been associated with possible generation of anti-inflammatory metabolites from GLA. The clinical physician also confirmed that none of the subjects showed any noteworthy side effects. GLA-enriched food appears to be safe and to improve skin barrier function in subjects with dry skin conditions and mild atopic dermatitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Water / metabolism*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / metabolism*
  • Dermis / metabolism*
  • Dermis / physiopathology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Food, Fortified*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid / pharmacology*


  • Fatty Acids
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • gamma-Linolenic Acid