Active Ingredients: Gamma Linolenic Acid

Rachel Gibbons Beauty Expert
Active Ingredients: Gamma Linolenic Acid

What is Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA)?

Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) is a fatty acid substance found in various plant seed oils, the most common is Borage oil, Blackcurrant oil and Evening Primrose oil. The fatty acid profile for borage is 20-24%, evening primrose is 8-10% and for blackcurrant, it is 15-17%. When used in skincare, GLA acts as an emollient and antioxidant and is considered a skin-soothing ingredient.

Topical treatments of GLA have shown that is one of the most effective soothing and healing agents for treating chronic skin conditions like eczema, dermatitis and wounds, as well as aiding in the maintenance of healthy skin.

Why is GLA important to our skin? Healthy skin depends on an adequate amount of lipids, particularly essential fatty acids to maintain healthy skin, moisture and suppleness, and prevent any skin conditions from forming. Not just any essential fatty acids but those of the omega-6 family, namely linoleic acid and gamma linolenic acid. Hence, when our skin lacks the essential fatty acids, our skin barrier is weakened and the skin becomes dehydrated and is more susceptible to moisture loss (TEWL). When this happens, the skin is more prone to irritations and inflammation as harmful toxins can penetrate the skin easily.

 It is important to note that our bodies are unable to naturally produce GLA, hence, they must be consumed through our diet or supplements.



Strengthen the skin barrier

  • GLA can help to enhance the skin’s barrier function by offering the necessary fatty acids and nutrients the skin needs to maintain its health and barrier function.

Moisture retention

  • By strengthening the skin’s barrier, the skin will be able to protect itself better and retain moisture better than before. This decreases the chances of moisture loss (TEWL) and dehydration. With more moisture in the skin, the skin will appear fuller, smoother and plumper.


  • GLA helps to treat signs of ageing skin, like fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and overall dull-looking skin, revealing an overall more youthful and radiant complexion.


  • GLA has been shown to alleviate inflammation on the skin, providing a calming sensation and reducing any appearance of redness. It doesn’t just treat inflammation from sensitive reactions, but also acne inflammation and chronic skin conditions.
  • GLA is extremely effective in treating chronic skin conditions like eczema and atopic dermatitis. It reduces inflammation, dryness, scaliness and itching.

Hormonal skin conditions

  • Oils containing GLA is a great treatment for those with hormonal skin conditions such as hormonal acne or dry skin, anything caused by dips in estrogen/testosterone levels.


What to note?

Like all ingredients and products, it is important to conduct a patch test prior.


Products we recommend 

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Borage Seed Oil

the ordinary organic borage seed oil

This soothing and nourishing oil contains an exceptionally high concentration of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an important essential fatty acid, as well as linoleic, oleic, stearic and palmitic acids. Borage Seed Oil offers a calming effect, helps maintain healthy skin and is suited particularly well for the dry and/or irritated skin conditions.


Mamonde Enriched Nutri Sleeping Mask

mamonde enriched nutri sleeping mask

Made with Evening Primose, the flower has a strong vitality to adjust to harsh environment. The quality enables it to deliver nourishment to dry and thirsty skin, turning it healthy and radiant. It also contains a flower oil complex including evening primrose oil, camellia oil and sunflower oil which provide ultra moisturising effect to the skin.


LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask

laneige water sleeping mask

The Lineage water sleeping mask has the SLEEP-TOX technology’s purifying effects help to rejuvenate and normalize skin that is often fatigued and sensitized by stress during the day. The dense beta-glucan moisturizing shield (network) consists of active agents such as Hydro Ion Mineral Water, evening primrose root extract, Hunza apricot extracts, and more so that skin fully absorbs the goodness during 8 hours of sleep.




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