Borage Oil for Skin

Atopic Dermatitis / Decrease in Transepidermal Water Loss

Atopic Dermatitis or atopic eczema is a chronic-relapsing inflammatory skin condition that can be distressing, and when severe, can be functionally and socially disabling.  Many patients will require intermittent treatment for exacerbations through early adulthood or beyond with agents such as topical corticosteroids that have significant adverse effects.  That is why when a patient specifically expresses interest in a more natural treatment approach rather than use of the established conventional treatments for atopic dermatitis, an 8- to 12-wk trial of nutritional supplementation with borage oil can be suggested along with continued use of emollients, provided disease is not severe.

 

Borage oil is derived from the seeds of the Borago officinalis. It contains high levels of the

omega-6 series essential fatty acids that are important in skin structure and function. The linoleic acid

in borage oil contributes to its therapeutic actions in atopic dermatitis. Any role of borage oil would be as a maintenance treatment, along with continued emollient use, to control the dermatitis and prevent flare-ups in mild-to-moderate disease.

 

Two studies suggest that some benefit from borage oil may be achieved when the individual is compliant and when there is good uptake and appropriate metabolism of GLA. In a study by Landi (1993), it reveals that Borage oil significantly improved overall severity, response, area of involvement, and individual symptoms of atopic dermatitis.

 

In another study by Kawamura et.al (2011), results show that GLA-enriched food appears to  be safe and improve skin barrier function in its subject with dry skin condition and mild atopic dermatitis.

 

Topical application of borage oil in infants and children with seborrheic dermatitis or atopic has been shown to normalize skin barrier function. A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial was performed to test clinical effects of undershirts coated with borage oil on children with atopic dermatitis. In the group treated with borage oil, transepidermal water loss on the skin of back decreased.  Additionally, no side effects were found in these subjects.

 

Similarly, in a review by Lin et. al.(2017), it states that borage oil  has therapeutic actions in atopic dermatitis. Topical application of borage oil in infants and children with seborrheic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis has been shown to normalize skin barrier function.

 

Foster, R. et. al.(2010). Borage oil in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. Nutrition (2010) 1-11

 

Kawamura, A. et. al.(2011).  Dietary supplementation of gamma-linolenic acid improves skin parameters in subjects with dry skin and mild atopic dermatitis. Journal of Oleo Science. 60 (12), 597-607

 

Lin, T. et. al.(2017). Anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects of topical application of some plant oils. International Journal of Medical Sciences, 19(70) p 12

 

Skin Hydration / Moisturization and Decrease in Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL)/ Dry Skin appearance/ Itching

 

Borage oil contains high levels of the u-6 series EFAs that are particularly important in skin structure and function, among other functions.

 

In a study, two groups of women ingested borage oil for 12 weeks. Dose was 2·2 g total fatty acids with gamma linolenic acid as major constituents in the borage oil group. Skin irritation was performed by nicotinate treatment, and changes in skin reddening and blood flow were monitored. Compared to week 0, skin reddening was diminished in borage oil use; blood flow was also lowered. Skin hydration was significantly increased after 12 weeks of treatment compared to week 0 with borage oil. Transepidermal water loss was decreased by about 10% after 6 weeks of supplementation.

 

Polyunsaturated fatty acids like Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA0 affect macroscopic properties of the skin essential for cutaneous health. Supplementation with Linolenic acid (LA) and GLA from borage oil over a 2-month period leads to decreased transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and itching. Dry skin appearance was diminished significantly.

 

Skin Irritation / Reddening

 

In a study, nicotinate was administered to trigger skin irritation. The irritating effects of nicotinate were ameliorated by long-term intake of either flaxseed or borage oil. Reddening of the skin after the chemical challenge was lower in both groups after 6 and 12 weeks of intervention.

 

Skin Moisture / Improved barrier function/ Improved firmness / Roughness and Scaling

In a study by De Spirt et. al. Using borage oil, skin hydration was increased after 12 weeks of intervention, whereas TEWL was lower than control. Improvement of skin moisture and TEWL as well as firmness, indications for an improved barrier function, have been described after the intake of GLA-rich primrose and borage oil. Borage oil also led to changes in roughness and scaling.

 

In a review by Lin et.al. (2018), it shows thattopical applicationof borage oil  infants and children with seborrheic dermatitis or atopic dermatitis has been shown to normalize skin barrier function.

 

 

De Spirt, S. et. al.(2009). Intervention with flaxseed and borage oil supplements modulates skin

condition in women. British Journal of Nutrition, 440-445.

 

 

In a large trial by Henz et. al., Borage oil did improve erythema, vesiculation, crusting, lichenification, and insomnia.

 

Dosing for Atopic Dermatitis

 

Dosing : The effects of GLA supplementation take up to 8 wk to become fully evident. Immediate responses would not be expected because adequate time is required for the normal fatty acid balance in skin cells to be restored. The effects of borage oil have been mainly studied over 12–24 wk of treatment.

 

The dosage of oral borage oil capsules used in the studies of treatment of atopic dermatitis varied from 2000 to 4000 mg/ d (400–1000 mg GLA) in adults and young people and 1000 to 2000 mg/d (240–480 mg GLA) in children.

 

Kawamura, A. et. al.(2011).  Dietary supplementation of gamma-linolenic acid improves skin parameters in subjects with dry skin and mild atopic dermatitis. Journal of Oleo Science. 60 (12), 597-607