Linolenic Acid



Linolenic Acid at a glance

  • Omega-3 fatty acid found in flaxseed, canola, and soy oils + walnuts
  • Is one of two essential fatty acids for humans
  • Functions as a skin conditioning and restorative ingredient
  • Has soothing properties

Linolenic Acid description

Linolenic acid is a naturally occurring, colorless polyunsaturated fatty acid. Also known as alpha-linolenic acid, it is an omega-3 fatty acid that occurs in flaxseed, canola, soy, and certain fish oils. Walnuts are a top dietary source of linolenic acid. It is considered one of two essential fatty acids for humans, meaning they must be ingested because the body cannot produce them naturally. The other is linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. Deficiencies of linolenic acid in the body are believed to play a role in disorders such as eczema; supplementation with this omega-3 fatty acid has been shown to visibly improve this condition. In cosmetics, linolenic acid functions as a skin conditioning agent and skin restorative ingredient. Research demonstrates it has anti-inflammatory properties as well, and there are some studies showing it has potential as a spot fading ingredient. The independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel has ruled linolenic acid safe as used in cosmetics.

Linolenic Acid references

  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, May 2020, ePublication
  • Molecules, February 2020, ePublication
  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences, December 2017, ePublication
  • Journal of Oleo Science, Volume 60, Issue 12, 2011, pages 597–607

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.