Borago officinalis, also known as starflower, is an annual herb native to the Mediterranean region. The plant is commercially cultivated for oil extracted from its seeds. Borago officinalis seed oil is currently used in skin care products due to its high content of gamma-linoleic acid (GLA). In fact, Borago officinalis seed oil has one of the highest amounts of GLA of seed oils; GLA comprises about 24% of the oil, which is higher than evening primrose oil and black currant seed oil.
The human body can produce GLA from linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that must be obtained from dietary sources. After ingesting linoleic acid, the enzyme Delta-6-Desaturase (D6D) converts it into GLA. GLA is then converted into a very important compound called Prostaglandin 1, a key molecule for maintaining healthy skin. Those with skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis often have reduced activity of the D6D enzyme, which means they cannot effectively convert linoleic acid to GLA. Therefore, the use of Borago officinalis seed oil is very beneficial for those with inflammatory skin disorders since it contains such a high percentage of GLA.