Acne is one of the most common chronic skin disorders affecting millions of people around the world. According to an estimate, approximately 17 million people are affected by it at any one point of time in the United States of America only.
The primary cause of acne breakout is changing in the level of internal hormones, more specifically androgens.
The major symptoms of acne vulgaris include a breakout of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and inflammation of the skin accompanied by redness and scarring.
Sometimes the inflammation reaches deep down the skin developing into cysts and nodules and acquiring a severe form.
The good news, however, is that over time a lot of medications have been developed to prevent if not cure the problem of acne breakouts.
This includes anti biotic, anti retinoid, Accutane, oral contraceptives and various other herbal and home remedies, minerals and vitamins. This article shall discuss the effectiveness of fish oil in treating acne and determine its efficacy in the same.
What is Fish oil and How it Benefits in Acne
It is a kind of oil extracted from the tissue of fishes. It is an extremely rich source of omega 3 fatty acid. However, these fatty acids are not produced by the fishes themselves but accumulated through their prey accompanied with the accumulation of active anti oxidants like iodide and selenium.
The consumption of some of these fishes from which fish oil can be derived has been limited by the Food and Drug Authority of the United States of America owing to their large toxic contamination.
This fish oil has been used since a long time to serve as a solution to various health problems like cardiovascular diseases, blood pressure problems, eye sight problems, age related muscular regeneration among other things.
It has often been suggested for conditions like diabetes, asthma, and dyslexic. Fish oil has also been known to benefit skin health and is used in various conditions of acne and psoriasis.
How does it treat acne
Fish oil is an extremely rich source of omega 3 fatty acid. This essential fatty acid exhibits anti inflammatory and anti oxidant properties.
While its anti oxidant property helps in fighting the acne causing bacteria and reducing oxidative stress, its anti inflammatory property is effective in controlling the acne induced inflammation thus affecting a considerable decrease in the resultant swelling and redness.
Omega 3 also benefits one psychologically by easing out depression and stress. This is an additional benefit because of stress though not a contributor to the cause is certainly effective in alleviating the condition.
Additionally, omega 3 fatty acid contains prostaglandins that have a pivotal role in regulating the production of sebum.
How to use Fish Oil for Acne
Fish oil can be used for the treatment of acne either by topical application or by its inclusion in the diet or oral intake through supplementation.
For topical use, it can be taken on a cotton ball and applied on the affected area as a spot treatment.
It can be washed off after some time. When taking it orally, you can begin by starting with ½ tablespoon a day which can be increased later on with time to 1 tablespoon and so on.
You, however, must make sure not to indulge in over dosing.
Benefits of Fish Oil
Fish oil has been known to have various health benefits. Some of them are enumerated below:
- The omega 3 fatty acid present in fish oil tends to lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol thereby reducing the risks of heart diseases including strokes.
- It facilitates weight loss and is known to give positive results when accompanied by exercise
- Fish oil helps in strengthening the immunity system
- Though rigid scientific research is lacking in this direction, researchers have considered fish oil to be beneficial during the condition of AIDS
- It is known to have been effective in treating gastrointestinal disorder and IBD
- Its anti inflammatory property prevents inflammation in the blood and tissues
- It helps towards the treatment of arthritis. This stand however still remains debatable
- Fish oil has been known to elevate your mood and ease out depression and anxiety
- It has been known since ages to have improved vision and also helps in the age related muscular regeneration of the retina
- The fatty acids it contains has been effective in dealing with Alzheimer’s disease
- The EPA and DHA makes it effective in healing ulcers
- It is a benefit in taking during pregnancy as DHA helps in the development of the infant’s eyes and brains
- It is known to have increased fertility in both men and women
- Fish oil tends to improve blood circulation further helping in a lot of health conditions.
Possible Side effects
Fish oil is extremely beneficial for the general bodily and skin health. However, in cases of over dose, there might be risks of some side effects. Some of these side effects are enumerated below:
- High doses can reduce the activity of immune system making it weak
- Minor side effects include belching, bad breath, nausea, upset stomach, headache and rashes
- If the source of the fish is contaminated, the fish might contain high level of toxins like mercury which is extremely unsafe
- High dose can often lead to diarrhea and acid reflux
- It can imbalance the blood sugar level
- Consuming fish oil increases the risk of bleeding
- Taking fish oil regularly might cause a low blood pressure.
- Most of these side effects are related to the oral in taking of fish oil.
In order to prevent yourself from suffering any of these side effects as well as to ensure maximum effect on your skin health and otherwise, you must make sure to follow the following precautions:
- If you are suffering from some liver disease, fish oil may increase bleeding risks in you
- If you are allergic to fish or sea food in general;, it is advised that you do not take fish oil without consulting your doctor
- If you are suffering from bipolar disorder, fish oil can increase the symptoms of this disorder
- It can increase the symptoms of depression and advised that you avoid it when in that phase
- Blood pressure patients should be cautious while talking it. It can lower the blood pressure
- It should not be taken by people who already have weak immune systems.
- Avoid fish oil if you have been implanted with a defibrillator
- It might increase the risk of cancer in people who are suffering from familial adenomatous polyposis.
Fish oil is known to interact with the under given medications/ drugs and their use simultaneously must be avoided:
Birth control pills tend to reduce the effectiveness of fish oil and hence must not be taken together
Taking it with medications for high blood pressure might make your blood pressure too low
When taken together orlistat can decrease the absorption of fish oil in the body
Fish oil is known decrease blood clotting. When taken with anti coagulants, it might increase the risk of bruising and bleeding
Customer review of Fish Oil for Acne
We did an analysis of online consumer review to determine the effectiveness of fish oil in the treatment of acne breakouts based on the experience consumers have had while using this oil. Here is a summary of what they liked and dislike about it:
What they liked about it:
Acne clear: A lot of consumers were very convinced of its effectiveness in treating acne, they said that after a few months use, fish oil made their skin absolutely clear
Bright: Many consumers were of the view that fish oil improved their complexion making the skin brighter. It helps in affecting an even skin tone. This was n added benefit for the consumers
Soft skin: Most consumers praised fish oil for an overall improvement in their skin texture. It had made their skin soft and smooth like it had been never before.
What they did not like about it:
Breakouts: Some consumers complained that application of fish oil and its use for a few days caused a breakout in their faces.
It has however been suggested that it might be because of allergy or over consumption/ application. These cases have been extremely rare though.
Fish oil is known to have been extremely beneficial for the health of the skin and body as a whole and also for the health of the brain, for a long time. It provides your body with the essential fatty acids.
These fatty acids with their anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties attack the problem of acne from two sides. The side effects are minor and will not occur if used safely and with precaution. It is a natural supplement and very likely to serve as a solution for your skin troubles.