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Antioxidant, antiaging, anti-inflammatory, and antiapoptotic

Important Chemical Components:

Linoleic acid, α-linolenic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, arachidic acid1,2

Origin Classification:

This ingredient is considered natural. As an ingredient used for dermatologic purposes, it is laboratory made.

Personal Care Category:

Antioxidant, antiaging

Recommended for the following Baumann Skin Types:



Linum usitatissimum, an annual plant in the Linaceae family native to the eastern Mediterranean to India and better known as flax (or linseed, though the popularity of this name has waned), is grown commercially for its meal, oil, and seeds. Flaxseed oil, derived from the seeds of the plant, is thought to possess significant health properties. Indeed, flaxseed oil is one of the richest sources of ω-3 fatty acids, in particular α-linolenic acid (ALA), which represents more than 50 percent of its total fatty acid content (Table 51-1).1,3 In addition to an abundance of ω-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds possess copious dietary fiber and lignans, which are polyphenolic phytoestrogens with antioxidant properties, linoleic acid (an ω-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid), and oleic acid (an ω-9 monounsaturated fatty acid). The only foods that contain appreciable lignan levels are flaxseed and flaxseed oil.4,5 Most commercial supplies are produced in Argentina, Canada, North Africa, and Turkey, but it is grown widely.6

TABLE 51-1Pros and Cons of Flaxseed Oil


Linum usitatissimum was cultivated in ancient Egypt and Ethiopia and used for multiple purposes, including medicine, soap, hair products, and textiles (linen).7 Its use dates back to the 23rd century BCE in Egypt and, for culinary purposes, to the 7th century BCE in Greece.6 Flaxseed oil is one of the oldest commercial oils and was used for centuries as a drying oil in painting and varnishing.8 In traditional medical practice it was used as a laxative and to treat urinary tract infections, colds, and lung disorders.6,7 Currently, it is used to treat irritable bowel as well as constipation.6


Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiapoptotic activities have been associated with flaxseed oil and warrant medical consideration. The substantial anti-inflammatory activity of L. usitatissimum has been ascribed to its primary active constituent ALA (57.38 percent), which suppresses arachidonic acid metabolism thus inhibiting the synthesis of proinflammatory n-6 eicosanoids and reducing vascular permeability.9

In 2011 experiments, Kaithwas et al. identified significant anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic activities exhibited by the fixed oil of L. usitatissimum. The oil variably suppressed prostaglandin E2, leukotriene-, histamine-, bradykinin-, and arachidonic ...

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