A deficiency of these important fats is not common in people who consume a variety of foods such as vegetable oils, Cool soccer player haircuts vegetables, dried beans and peas, margarine, whole grain breads and cereals, nuts, and seeds. The amount considered necessary for health is only 2% of total calories, or approximately one tablespoon of oil a day. A deficiency of fat has been found in infants fed formulas lacking linoleic acid. The skin sores also are seen in adults maintained for too long on fat-free hair diets. A combination of linseed oil or linoleic acid combined with vitamin B6 has been an effective treatment for some fat-related skin problems. (Table 2, opposite)
Another important fat called gamma linolenic acid (GLA) might contribute to the health of the skin. The first step in the body to activate linoleic acid is to convert it to GLA. A type of eczema called atopic eczema begins in infancy and childhood and can continue throughout life. This skin condition might be caused by poor conversion of linoleic acid to GLA. Breastfed infants are protected from atopic eczema because breastmilk contains GLA. Evening primrose oil contains GLA and might improve the symptoms of eczema in some cases.