Should You Take Fish Oil For Acne and Acne Scars?

The role of diet in acne and acne scarring is controversial – some doctors believe it is necessary to follow a strict diet to curb acne; others feel that acne might occur despite dietary restrictions. The role of essential fatty acids in acne prevention is also being studied today. Some people wonder whether fish oil causes cystic acne; others believe that taking fish oil supplements could reduce acne scars and blemishes. So in today’s article, we will take an in-depth look at this issue.

How does fish oil help acne sufferers?

By increasing your intake of fatty fish, you get Omega 3 essential fatty acids which prevent dry skin, acne, eczema and other skin issues. One of the most important essential fatty acid is EPA or eicosapenaenoic acid. This reduces inflammation and also raises prostaglandins. Moreover, Omega 3 essential fatty acids can reduce production of sebum and reduce stress, both of which are causes of acne. The DHA found in fish oil is an effective mood regulator and stress buster. This provides another sound reason to take Omega 3 for hormonal acne.

Studies on fish oil and hormonal acne

There are surprisingly very few studies on fish oil for hormonal acne but the few that have been conducted have shown that deficiency of essential fatty acids could lead to higher sebum production. This, in turn, can trigger acne. Lower essential fatty acids causes blocked follicles and covering of dead skin cells that trigger acne. This is also the similar reasoning behind how essential fatty acid deficiency causes red scaly patches of eczema.

In 1958, an experimental study published in the British Medical Bulletin also highlighted how deficiency of essential fatty acids resulted in loss of moisture or water from the skin. This results in characteristic dead or hardened layer of the skin the cover blocked follicles in acne. Removing this dead skin layer is important. Hence weekly exfoliation is an important part of acne treatment.

Why do some people break out into cystic acne after taking fish oil?

There is no correlation between fish oil supplement and cystic acne. Cystic acne can occur due to numerous reasons- stress, improper diet, and pollution and of course hormonal imbalance can all trigger cystic acne. So it is a myth that your acne is caused due to fish oil supplements. In fact, you need to take Omega 3 fatty acid supplements for at least 3 months to clear up your complexion. In addition, you must follow a healthy diet and exercise regime, drink plenty of water and follow a good cleansing toning and moisturizing routine daily. Also, every few days, exfoliate the skin. This will reduce acne scars and blemishes. Make sure you also take vitamin B complex, zinc and probiotic supplements to aid digestion. Avoid junk food completely.

Best sources of Omega 3 essential fatty acids

According to studies, omega 3 essential fatty acids are very beneficial for healthy skin in older women because it helps regulate hormones and balances hormonal imbalances in menopausal or peri-menopausal women. Several endocrinologists also feel that Omega 3 essential fatty acids are one of the most important supplements to take for preventing acne breakouts. If you eat fish, include it 2-3 times a week in your diet. Go for fatty fish like salmon, tuna, etc. Vegetarians may take flaxseed oil or flaxseed oil capsules. Walnuts are also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids.

GLA or Gamma Linolenic acid

Another great omega essential fatty acid is GLA or Gamma Linolenic acid (GLA) found in Borage oil or evening primrose oil. Taking GLA supplements can also clear up acne, as per herbalists.

Flax seed oil for acne

If you do not eat fish or do not like the fishy burps caused by fish oil, you can go for flaxseed oil capsules. Take one or two fish/flax seed oil capsules daily with meals. Flaxseed is rich in zinc and B vitamins. Both these vitamins help combat acne and are also a great source of protein. Flaxseed oil is also a great source of magnesium.

How much fish oil to take daily?

Go for a good brand of fish oil (Spring Valley fish oil is good for acne sufferers) having higher EPA/Eicosapenaenoic acid content. You need at least 1000-3000 mg per day as stated by dietary guidelines.


Omega 3 for hormonal acne is found in Fish oil, Evening Primrose oil and Flaxseed oil. It is proven to have an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action that could benefit mild to moderate acne sufferers. Therefore, including these supplements in your anti-acne diet for tissue repair, healing and unclogging pores can help you get the complexion you have always dreamed of.

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