Acne is characterized by frequent outbreaks of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, and inflammations marked by scarring and redness of the affected area.
The good news, however, is that over time, a lot of medications and methods have been developed to prevent if not completely cure these breakouts.
In this article, we shall discuss one such home remedy that of using flax seed oil to cure acne and procure other skin benefits.
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What is Flaxseed Oil?
Flaxseed belongs to the family of Linaceae in the genus Linum.
It is a food and fiber crop that requires cooler weather conditions for growth.
It is believed to be native to the regions ranging from the Mediterranean through Western Asia and from the Middle East to India.
Flaxseed oil is obtained by coldly pressing the oil out of these seeds. It is believed to be high in nutritional value because of its high content of Omega-3 fatty acids and lignans.
Lignan is one of the main components of flax seed and contains antioxidants as well as phytoestrogen.
It contains up to 800 times the lignan that other plants might have.
Apart from that, it has an abundance of macronutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 is also a major component of flax seed and flax seed is believed to be one of the richest natural sources of an Omega-3 fatty essential fatty acid known as Alpha-Linolenic Acid. Flaxseed oil contains a concentration of 35% to 65% of this fatty acid.
It is also known to have Omega-6 and Omega-9 essential fatty acid.
So it contains all three Omega fatty acids together making it a well-balanced source.
How Effective is Flaxseed oil in Treating Acne?
Flaxseed oil exhibits anti-inflammatory properties.
It contains polyunsaturated fatty acid which combines with related chemicals in the flaxseed oil to cause a reduction in inflammation.
This anti-inflammatory property helps in the reduction of the acne induced inflammations. Moreover, the fatty acids also tend to moisturize affecting a smooth and soft skin.
Flaxseed oil is also believed to be a strong anti-oxidant.
It helps in reducing the oxidative stress and wiping out the acne-causing bacteria and microbes also in the process unclogging the blocked pores.
There are two ways to undertake flaxseed oil treatment for acne.
Firstly, you use it topically on your face like a moisturizer or in some cosmetic item and secondly, you take in the oil orally along with your meal.
The topical application would lead the Omega-3 fatty acid to normalize skin lipids and seal the moisture in order to keep the skin hydrated.
Oral intake, on the other hand, would improve the health of the skin generally and help in maintaining the structural integrity of the epidermal and dermal cells.
Application of Flaxseed oil
The best way to externally use it is to apply it like a moisturizer. Simply take a few drops and massage it onto your face or on the affected area and leave it on while you sleep.
In case it gets too oily, you can wipe off the excess oil.
Apart from using it independently, you can use flax seed oil in combination with avocado oil.
Avocado oil contains monounsaturated fatty acid which better penetrates and easily gets absorbed by the skin.
It also works as a great moisturizer in case your skin is extremely dry. To try on this combination, you must first apply flaxseed oil, and then follow it with avocado oil to provide a moisturized and hydrated effect.
When taking in orally, it can be mixed with water or juice. It is also available in powdered form and in the form of supplementary capsules.
Benefits of Using Flaxseed oil
The benefits of using flaxseed oil are numerous and range from specific skin benefits to general health benefits. Some of them are enumerated as below:
- It prevents loss of water and keeps your skin hydrated and moisturized.
- Flaxseed oil aids healing and reduce symptoms of itchiness in cases of eczema and dermatitis.
- Reduces inflammation and the resultant redness.
- It causes the sebum to thin down thereby unclogging the blocked pores and preventing acne.
- Helps in soothing sunburnt skin.
General health benefits
- It helps in lowering cholesterol thereby decreasing the risks of heart disease.
- It may be effective in controlling high blood pressure by reducing inflammatory reactions that cause artery hardening plague and poor circulation
- Omega-3 fatty acid facilitates the absorption of iodine which further helps with reducing the pain caused in the condition of the fibrocystic breast in women.
- Being high in dietary fiber, it helps to ease constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticular disease.
- The essential fatty acids facilitate the transmission of nerve impulses thereby preventing nerve damage.
- The lignans are believed to prevent breast, colon and prostate cancer.
- The plant estrogen stabilizes the estrogen-progesterone ratio in women and helps in dealing with the issue of menopausal difficulties, infertility, and menstrual pain.
Possible Side effects of Flaxseed oil
The side effects of flax seed and flax seed oil have been mightily rare. However, some of those are listed below:
- Since it is a fibrous substance, it should be taken with water or it might cause intestinal blockage.
- Both flax seed and flax seed oil might cause diarrhea.
- It may lower the body’s ability to absorb certain medications and must not be taken with conventional medicines and dietary supplements.
Precautions while using
Though the side effects of flaxseed oil are rare, you must maintain the following precautions while using it:
- It is unsafe to consume during pregnancy as some researches have shown that it may increase the change of premature birth when taken during the 3rd or 2nd trimesters.
- There is not enough information on its use while nursing and it is therefore suggested that you be on the right side by avoiding.
- It may increase the risk of severe bleeding in cases of bleeding disorder.
- It is advised to not take this oil 2 weeks before and after surgery as it might increase bleeding risks.
- It should be stored in a frosted bottle protected from heat as it can break down chemically if exposed to heat.
Drug interaction of Flaxseed oil
Flaxseed and flaxseed oil tends to react with an anti-coagulant and anti-platelets drug.
Since it slows down the clotting process, it might increase the impact of medicines that do the same and cause severe problems in clotting.
Customer reviews of Flaxseed oil for Acne
We did an analysis of online consumer review to see what consumers who have already used this product, liked or disliked about it.
Here is a summary of what they have to say about it:
What they liked about Flaxseed oil
Improves texture: Many consumers believed that using flax seed oil genuinely improved the texture of their skin making it not only healthier than before but also soft, smooth and glowing. It tended to even down their skin tone.
Moisturize: Unlike most other forms of treatment that cause extreme dryness to the skin, flaxseed oil, because of the presence of essential fatty acids, tends to moisturize the skin and also lock in the moisturizer to make it feel hydrated.
What they did not like about it
Increases acne breakouts: A few consumers experienced increased acne breakouts after they started using this product, though these cases were comparatively rare.
This has been attributed to the presence of plant estrogen in the product.
It was also believed by some that this product is more effective for women than for men.
Flaxseed oil in one of the richest sources of the essentially required nutrients- Omega-3, 6 and 9.
Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are quite strong and have been highly effective in dealing with acne problems along with other health problems in general.
It has a very high safety profile with minimum side effect dangers.
If you are fed up of all the chemical based antibiotic medications, this might be a good natural solution to explore.