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Fish oil for acne

Fish Oil for Acne: What You Should Know

Does fish oil help acne? If you’re wondering whether fish oil for acne is a good idea, the answer is promising. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in fish oil have shown positive effects on acne. Let’s explore this topic further to understand how fish oil can benefit your skin.

Fish Oil for Skin Health

Fish oil, particularly its omega-3 content, is considered a skin elixir. These fatty acids not only keep your skin soft and supple but also strengthen cell membranes, helping combat the signs of aging.

Furthermore, omega-3 in fish oil aids in fighting skin blemishes such as eczema, psoriasis, active rosacea, and pimples. In other words, fish oil can significantly contribute to improving your skin health.

Our Diet is Deficient in Omega-3

We all know that our diet plays a crucial role in the appearance of our skin. Consuming unhealthy foods can contribute to skin problems. Many processed foods today contain excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which can trigger skin inflammation. Unfortunately, these delicious treats like chips, cookies, fried foods, and sauces are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids.

On the other hand, fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for your skin. This healthy fat revitalizes the skin and helps combat blemishes, including acne. In fact, a deficiency in omega-3 can even worsen acne. Ideally, maintaining a balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids is crucial. Unfortunately, many people don’t achieve this balance.

If you’re experiencing skin issues like acne, the lack of omega-3 fatty acids could be a contributing factor. It’s advisable to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of omega-3 in your diet or through supplements.

How Does Fish Oil Help Acne?

The presence of omega-3 in fish oil has multiple effects on your skin, which is why it is often used in skincare products. If you’re wondering whether fish oil can firm your skin, let’s delve into the benefits of omega-3 for your skin:

1. Softens the outer (horny) layer of the skin.
2. Exhibits anti-aging properties.
3. Detoxifies the skin.
4. Promotes blood circulation in the skin.
5. Helps combat cellulite.
6. Keeps the skin supple, moisturized, and healthy.
7. Reduces stress and anxiety.

What Science Says About Fish Oil for Acne

Another study conducted by German researchers found a possible link between acne and a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids.

A study conducted on 45 adults with mild to moderate acne has shown that taking omega-3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6 fatty acids) can reduce pimples.

The participants were divided into two groups: one group took omega-3 fatty acid capsules, while the other group took gamma-linolenic acid capsules.

The study lasted for ten weeks, during which dermatologists examined the participants’ faces before and after the study to count the number of inflamed and non-inflamed areas.

The results showed a decrease in the number of pimples in both groups but not in the control group that did not take any supplement pills.

Fish oil for acne
Fish oil capsules in a spoon

Participants were also asked to rate the improvement in their acne, and it was found that only those who took gamma-linolenic acid or omega-3 fatty acid capsules reported improvements. The results were similar for both groups.

Further analysis at the cellular level revealed that both omega fatty acids inhibit a key factor (IL-8) involved in the inflammatory process of acne.  Blood analysis of acne sufferers showed that 94% of them had below-recommended levels of omega-3 fatty acids. These findings suggest that an adequate intake of omega-3 fatty acids, whether through diet or supplements, could help improve acne.

The group taking gamma-linolenic acid consumed 1,000 mg of borage oil containing 200 mg of gamma-linolenic acid. The omega-3 fatty acid group took a capsule containing 500 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid and 500 mg of docosahexaenoic acid. In both groups, two capsules were taken daily.

These findings suggest that both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in fish oil can be beneficial in improving acne by reducing inflammation and the number of pimples.

Another Study on Fish Oil for Acne

According to a study conducted by a team of researchers led by dermatologist Dr. Anne Gürtler from Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich (LMU), there may be a connection between acne and a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers presented their findings at the spring symposium of the European Academy for Dermatology and Venereology (EADV).

The study involved 100 subjects who suffered from acne, and the authors analyzed their blood samples to determine their nutritional parameters. They found that in 94 percent of the subjects, the levels of omega-3 fatty acids were below the recommended value.

The low levels of omega-3 fatty acids were accompanied by an increased level of IGF-1, a growth factor that has long been associated with the development of acne.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that individuals who reported regularly consuming legumes and avoiding sunflower oil had higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids.

Dr. Gürtler emphasized the importance of nutrition in the prevention, onset, and progression of various diseases, including dermatological conditions like acne vulgaris.

The study suggests that a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids could contribute to the development of acne, highlighting the potential role of a balanced diet rich in foods such as legumes, seaweed, nuts, seeds, and fish like wild salmon and sardines, which are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Taking Fish Oil for Acne

To prevent an omega-3 deficiency and potential skin problems like acne, it is important to incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. While fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3, many individuals struggle to consume enough of it. In such cases, fish oil can be a convenient and effective alternative to obtain the omega-3 fatty acids your skin needs.

Fish oil supplements contain concentrated amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are beneficial for your skin.

Omega-3 supplements for acne offer a practical solution for individuals who may have dietary restrictions, preferences, or limited access to fatty fish.

By incorporating fish oil into your daily routine, you can ensure that your body receives an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids. This, in turn, can help maintain the health and appearance of your skin.

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to determine the appropriate dosage and ensure it aligns with your individual needs.

Can Fish Oil Cause Acne?

While fish oil is generally regarded as beneficial for skin health, there have been anecdotal reports of fish oil causing or worsening acne in some individuals. However, scientific evidence on the direct relationship between fish oil consumption and acne is limited and inconclusive.

Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which possess anti-inflammatory properties and are believed to impact skin health positively. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body, which can be beneficial for managing acne. We already know that some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids can help improve acne symptoms.

On the other hand, a few people have reported experiencing acne flare-ups after starting fish oil supplementation. This could be due to various factors such as individual sensitivity, dosage, purity of the fish oil, or the presence of other ingredients in the supplement.

It’s important to note that everyone’s body is unique, and what works for one person may not work the same way for another, so answering does fish oil cause acne with full certainty is impossible.

Additionally, maintaining a balanced diet, managing stress levels, practicing good skincare habits, and considering other lifestyle factors can also contribute to healthy skin and help manage acne.

How Much to Take Fish Oil for Acne?

The recommended dosage of fish oil for acne can vary depending on individual factors and the severity of the condition. It’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist before starting any new supplement regimen. However, as a general guideline, a typical dosage for fish oil capsules is around 1,000-2,000 milligrams (mg) per day.

The key component in fish oil that is beneficial for acne is the omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Aim for a daily intake of EPA and DHA between 1,000-3,000 mg combined.

How Long Does Fish Oil for Acne Work?

Keep in mind that it may take several weeks or months of consistent use to see noticeable improvements. Additionally, it’s important to choose a high-quality fish oil supplement from a reputable source to ensure purity and potency.

Remember to follow the instructions on the supplement packaging and consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.

What to Take in Addition to Fish Oil for Acne?

In addition to fish oil, there are several other supplements that have been suggested to help reduce acne and promote healthy skin:

  • Plant Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Besides fish oil, omega-3 fatty acids can also be obtained from sources like chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts. These fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce skin inflammation associated with acne.
  • Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA): GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid found in sources like evening primrose oil and borage oil. It can help improve inflammation and balance the fatty acid profile in the body when a deficiency has been identified.
  • Selenium: This trace mineral has antioxidant properties and can help reduce inflammation. Selenium-rich foods include Brazil nuts, sardines, and sunflower seeds. However, it’s important not to exceed the recommended dosage, as excessive selenium intake can have adverse effects.
  • Vitamin E: As an antioxidant, vitamin E helps protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It may also assist in reducing inflammation. Good sources of vitamin E include almonds, spinach, and sunflower seeds.
  • Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 has been found to be beneficial for premenstrual acne. It helps regulate hormone levels, which can contribute to acne development during certain times of the menstrual cycle. Food sources of vitamin B6 include chickpeas, poultry, and bananas.
  • Probiotics: Maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is important for overall health, including skin health. Probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria, can help promote balanced gut flora. They can be obtained through supplements or by consuming fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi.

It’s worth noting that while these supplements may have potential benefits for acne, results can vary.

Important: It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist before starting any new supplement regimen, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications. They can provide personalized advice and guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances.


Can I apply omega-3 (fish oil) directly to my skin?

Regular intake of omega-3 fatty acids is believed to help prevent dry skin and reduce inflammation. While omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to have positive effects on the cells in your body, applying fish oil directly to your skin is not recommended.

Fish oil has a strong odor that can be unpleasant when applied topically. However, there are alternative ways to benefit your skin with omega-3.

Omega-3 for acne: experiences and benefits

Many people have reported positive experiences with omega-3 supplements, such as fish oil for acne or when it comes to improving their skin health.

If you have been taking omega-3 supplements, like fish oil, for your skin, we would love to hear about your experiences. Your feedback can provide valuable insights into the benefits of omega-3 for skin health and help others make informed choices.

Please share your experiences with omega-3 supplements and their impact on your skin in comments. We appreciate your input!

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