Omega 3 Acne Treatment: Promise For Severe Cases
Among the many effects of omega-3 essential fatty acids, modulation of the body’s anti-inflammatory response is perhaps best known. Therefore, it’s surprising that more attention has not been paid to the potential benefits of omega-3s for acne, an inflammatory skin condition that is prevalent in Western societies, particularly in those with diets that favour omega-6 over omega-3 fats as well as processed food. Information about Omega 3 Acne Treatment:
Previous case studies in Italy and South Korea point to differences among groups who consumed foods that favoured one of these fats over the other, with significant inverse correlations between omega-3-rich diets and acne. A recent controlled trial of omega-3 supplementation on acne severity published in Lipids in Health and Disease reported encouraging results.
The study included sixteen healthy males, (thirteen completed the study) 18–40 years old with mild to severe facial acne. All participants received three fish oil soft gels daily (930 mg EPA, 720 mg DHA, 174 mg DPA) for twelve weeks. Each participant’s acne was photographed and measured at baseline, six, and twelve weeks using a standardised scale.
Non-inflamed facial areas served as controls throughout the treatment period, against which the affected areas could be compared. Although results were mixed— eight subjects improved, four worsened, and one showed no change—in general, omega-3s appeared to help reduce the severity of acne in most cases, particularly when acne was most severe. The researchers note, “These findings raise the question of whether the efficacy of fish oil supplementation is dependent on the initial acne severity…perhaps only individuals with moderate to severe acne can benefit…” Overall, these results provide an encouraging, non-pharmaceutical treatment for a complex and increasingly common inflammatory skin disease. Experimentation with higher doses of EPA (3–6 grams daily), as recommended in the treatment of arthritis, is a possible next step.
Burns-Whitmore, Bonny and Khayef, Golandam, et al. Effects of fish oil supplementation on inflammatory acne. Lipids in Health and Disease 2012,11:165 A