Everybody’s skin is unique. Some people have more dryness, while others can’t seem to stop producing a ton of oil. But one thing we do all have in common is that our skin needs a steady supply of essential fatty acids, or EFA’s. Found in all sorts of different plant oils and wonderfully nourishing and strengthening to the skin, there are many good reasons to make sure you’re getting plenty. There are also signs your body will give you to let you know if your EFA supply is running low.

Scaly, flaking skin is a sure sign that you’re in need of some EFA’s. This is because essential fatty acids are essential for the healthy maintenance of the outer membranes of your skin cells. When they are not getting the amount of essential fatty acids that they need, they in turn become brittle, which can lead to things like scaly and flaky skin. Fixing this is easy: just slather on some much needed EFA rich plant oil, like raw Shea butter, for example. You can also mix a few different carrier oils together if you want for extra botanical healing synergy.

Rough skin texture and redness are also signs of essential fatty acid deficiency. The roughness comes from the same reason that the scaly and flaky skin comes from: poorly cared for skin cell membranes. The redness is a sign of irritation and essential fatty acids are excellent for soothing and reducing dermal irritations. This is one of the reasons that people love to use Shea butter on skin irritations beyond just redness. Its rich essential fatty acid profile perfectly soothes and protects irritated skin.

Dry, frizzy and splitting hair are also signs that your body is in need of more essential fatty acids. For hair this can be achieved by both intensive treatments such as hair masks and through daily maintenance that includes applying something like Shea butter on the ends to keep them healthy, protected and less likely to split. Other oils you could use to keep your hair nourished and healthy include Argan oil, Jojoba oil and Coconut oil. Better yet, you could blend these three oils with some raw African Shea butter for a seriously delectable and healing hair EFA focused hair treatment.

Even if you don’t have any of these signs, regular use of an EFA rich plant oil will ensure that your skin and hair stay healthy, strong, vibrant and clear for years to come.