By Clive Wright

The Essential Role of Fatty Acids in Tallow Skincare

In skincare, there are AHAs, BHAs, and then there are EFAs – and you're missing out on everything your skin essentially needs when you leave the latter fatty acids out of your skincare routine. 

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs), such as glycolic and lactic acids, act as exfoliants to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But you can easily overdo it. According to dermatologists, over-exfoliation with harsh acids is all too common. In high concentrations, which widely varies based on individual tolerance, they may disrupt the skin barrier function and cause irritation. 

On the other hand, essential fatty acids (EFAs) restore your skin barrier to its healthiest state. As they are naturally found in the skin, essential fatty acids are gentle, skin-identical and biocompatible with your skin. Soft, but strong, they repair your skin barrier gently. Want bouncy skin, naturally? You need essential fatty acids. What about a beautiful, balmy glow? There's no better source than TUTTOFARE, thanks to our sustainably sourced Australian tallow.

The make up of tallow is the blueprint for any moisturiser today except it is natural, bioavailable and toxin free. Even better, regenerative tallow is good for your skin health and better for the planet. It's time-tested skincare for the forward-thinking.

Why tallow is skin-identical skincare 

Tallow is an occlusive and emollient. It's unique in this way. It's what we call a complete skincare product, rich in saturated fatty acids, vitamins and micronutrients. It's close to a molecular match of the moisture in our own skin.

As an animal fat, tallow mimics the skin's natural lipid barrier, matching our skin's own healthy fats. That's why it suits the vast range of different skin types, from very dry to oily, and sensitive to sensitised. Grass fed tallow offers protection from the environment and elements, while helping dry skin to retain essential moisture. 

Is tallow good for skin care?

Compared to other occlusives, such as silicons, sterols and petrolatum, grass fed and grass finished tallow is better for your skin. Not only that, it holds the potential to restore more than skin. Regeneratively sourced tallow regenerates the Earth. Grass fed tallow sourced from regenerative farms helps sequester carbon back into the atmosphere, which, in turn, improves our topsoil. This is good-natured skincare, from nature, with ingredients reflective of your own nature. 

woman sitting on the grass with her hands cupped together

What about plants?

Unlike vegetable and plant oils, which are often highly processed, tallow's origins mean that it naturally contains the same lipids found in healthy human skin. This makes it capable of absorbing easily and penetrating deeply, providing intense skin restoration at the cellular level. 

In fact, tallow resembles our natural sebum so much, that in Latin, tallow essentially translates to sebum. By mimicking the skin, tallow helps maintain the skin's structural integrity and supports the natural production of collagen. 

Topical fatty acids in tallow skin care

The specific structural and nutritional makeup of tallow makes it one of nature's most bioavailable moisturisers. It helps protect skin and absorbs deeply. That's largely because of its balance of essential fatty acids. Packed full of actives, there's simply no need to add any synthetic additives when using tallow skincare.

Oleic acid

Around 47% of the fatty acid composition of tallow is oleic acid. Oleic acid, with its high levels of monounsaturated fatty acid (MOFA), is among the more stable fatty acids in skin care. It has a unique ability to preserve the effectiveness of more delicate ingredients such as antioxidants by helping to protect them from light and oxygen degradation.

Oleic acid has everything you need to see amazing results when applied topically. With high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids, it's more shelf stable than other ingredients that are higher in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Oleic acid has the ability to penetrate the skin's surface easily and deeply. Inside the skin dermis, it works to replenish lost moisture and stop additional transepidermal water loss. 

Concerned about clogged pores? Oleic acid can bring natural oil production back into balance to prevent future breakouts. Most importantly, it doesn't really clog pores but instead forms a protective layer on the skin's surface that prevents environmental damage.

In our opinion, oleic acid is so nice that we essentially wanted it twice. In addition to tallow, it's most commonly found in olive oil, another ancient ingredient found in high concentrations in TUTTOFARE Holy Grail Tallow Balm. 

Palmitic acid

Breaking down the fatty acids further, around 26% of the fatty acid composition contained in tallow is palmitic acid. This saturated fatty acid is widely used in skincare, often added after the fact. It's best when found in moisturisers and balms because it has a skin softening effect.

Palmitic acid retains moisture by forming an occlusive layer. It helps improve and protect your skin's barrier. In doing so, palmitic acid prevents unwanted microbes and pollutants from entering. In nature, it's present in butter, cheese, milk, and meat, as well as cocoa butter, olive oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil.

woman rubbing tuttofare tallow balm into her hands

Other essential fatty acids in tallow

Another standout saturated fatty acid in tallow is stearic acid. Found across cosmetics and other skincare products, stearic acid has a double function, as a surfactant and emulsifier. It's essentially a clever binding agent. Stearic acid helps to repair damaged skin, as well as improve skin's flexibility and suppleness.

Tallow also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) at levels between 2-5%. While this is an unsaturated fatty acid, CLA is an omega-5 fatty acid with a growing body of research pointing to its stability and positive impact on skin. Unlike other unsaturated fatty acids, the evidence points to plenty of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties, ferried in a 'safe' environment where the ingredient remains stable.

In a 2021 study, it was determined that CLA could dramatically relieve eczema-like skin lesions, dermatitis and skin inflammation as evidenced by a reduction in inflammatory blood cells. Plus, topical application with CLA modulated skin barrier repair, helping maintain a balanced skin pH and increasing skin hydration.

Outside of tallow, CLA is otherwise difficult to find in nature, at least not in stable ingredients. By stable, we mean shelf-stable, where the ingredient isn't as prone to oxidation when exposed to light, heat or oxygen.

CLA is sometimes taken as a supplement in the form of safflower oil. It's also found in hempseed, rosehip and black cumin seed oils. But it was a hard pass on these ingredients at TUTTOFARE due to their tendency to oxidise more easily as a result of their higher polyunsaturated fatty acid content. 

tuttofare tallow balm shown from a bird's eye view in a meadow with yellow dandelion wildflowers

Fatty acids in skin care? Try TUTTOFARE

With a perfectly balanced fatty acid profile, TUTTOFARE Holy Grail Tallow Balm is formulated to be biocompatible, or skin-identical. Our formula contains an abundance of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids contained in the extracellular skin matrix. 

At TUTTOFARE, we're all about getting the extra out of skincare without putting in anything extra. You get all the essentials – especially the essential fatty acids in skin care – without anything being added after the fact. You're using acids, without risking overdosing on acids. 

We choose to work with ingredients such as regenerative tallow and olive oil because they are natural born multitaskers. What better representation of TUTTOFARE, in both name and spirit – and what better way to regenerate our skin by helping our Earth? Experience TUTTOFARE today.

Get that tallow glow

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