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June 1959

Unsaturated Fatty Acids in Acne

Author Affiliations

Corpus Christi, Texas

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;79(6):644-646. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560180018005

Long-continued, low-fat acne diets often cause weight and energy loss, and resistance to infection may be lowered. Therefore, I decided to give supplemental unsaturated fatty acids to see what the effect would be on the weight loss and on the acne itself. Safflower-oil emulsion* was first chosen as an adjunct to the regular diet for acne because of its high unsaturated fatty acid content. However, most patients found it difficult to take adequate quantities without disturbing their digestion. Corn oil † was then substituted. It was used in the preparation of food in place of all other animal or vegetable fats, and it proved to be a far more acceptable source of unsaturated fatty acids. The average saturation of common fats is as follows:

Hydrogenation solidifies fat but reduces the per cent of unsaturated fatty acids and creates unnatural isomers of linoleic acid. Linoleic acid is the principal unsaturated fatty acid found in our dietary fats. Isomers are not utilized as unsaturated fatty acids by the body, and so all hydrogenated fats were carefully eliminated from the diet.

Few studies of the effects of unsaturated fatty acids on acne were noted in a brief search

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