My skin has been prone to acne ever since I can remember. It took me a while to realize that instead of spending tons of money on high-coverage foundations, I need to find a way to heal my body or acne from the inside.
Acne isn’t caused by external factors. And I’m actually grateful for that when it comes to acne. I can’t control the level of air pollution, but I can definitely control what’s happening in my own body.
With the right tools and information, that is.
What I’ve found from experience is that a cure for acne can be as simple as taking some Omega 3s every day. If you have a vague idea what Omega 3s are but want to learn more, read on.
Table of Content
- 1 What is Omega 3?
- 2 How Omega 3 Can Help With Acne
- 3 How to Choose an Omega 3 Supplement
- 4 Conclusion
What is Omega 3?
Simply put, Omega 3 is fatty acids that your body needs but can’t produce on its own.
For this reason, it has to obtain them from different sources. Fish, meat and eggs are all known to contain Omega 3 but they won’t be equally beneficial to you. Here’s why.
Omega 3s – yes, plural
(Warning: long and complicated names to follow.)
I’ve often heard people say that they need Omega 3. I don’t mean to be that obnoxious person who always corrects everyone, but there’re actually three types of Omega 3s: a-linoleic acid (ALA), icosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
It’s the last two that are found in fatty fish and that are famous for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Bad news for vegans
As someone who tries to avoid animal-based products as much as possible, I’m not very happy about this fact regarding Omega 3.
Unfortunately, there’s no way around it. Plant-based omega 3 (ALA) are simply not enough.
This part about Omega 3 might sound too scientific but bear with me.
When you consume ALA (whether as a supplement or by eating chia seeds and walnuts) your body will convert part of it into DHA and EPA. This is great but far from enough.
Only a minimal percentage of the Omega 3 gets converted, so you won’t experience any of the benefits from Omega 3s if you rely only on their plant-based version.
No Omega 3 is better than bad quality Omega 3
Looking for a cheaper alternative is not a great idea when it comes to Omega 3.
There’s a risk your supplement won’t contain enough EPA and DHA. In this case, the supplement will be next to useless.
Worst case scenario, the fish oil might even be rancid. What this means is that instead of the beneficial fatty acids, you’ll be stuffing yourself with dangerous free radicals.
This will only disrupt hormones that your skin needs to heal itself, and your inflammation will get worse.
Always make sure to buy your fish oil from a company with a good reputation.
Not all manufacturers purify their oils. As a result, the supplements can contain toxins that the fish have accumulated. You definitely don’t want that!
How Omega 3 Can Help With Acne
You probably already know this but it’s worth repeating. Poor diet is one of the main reasons for acne. Let’s see how Omega 3 for acne can help.
Let’s define poor diet
A typical Western diet includes 15 to 20 times as much Omega 6 as Omega 3. Compare this 1:20 ratio to the normal (and desirable) ratio of 1:1.
Too much Omega 6 in our system causes inflammation and, consequently, a whole range of health issues, including acne.
Achieving the magical 1:1 ratio is far from impossible. It has already been done by past generations that weren’t bombarded with processed foods.
It’s also the normal ratio in parts of the world where the diet comprises mostly of fish, fruit and vegetables.
Causes for acne
First of all, what causes acne? When our hormones are disrupted, our body starts to produce too much sebum.
This sebum gets clogged in the hair follicles and creates an environment where bacteria thrive.
Acne as we know it – red, bumpy and gross – happens when your immune system fights back.
Acne is an inflammation – nothing more, nothing less.
The science behind it
Our skin cell membranes are comprised of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. As you already learned, these two are far from being balanced.
As a result, your skin cell membranes get damaged and aren’t strong enough to retain moisture and keep irritants at bay.
Some extra Omega 3 or fish oil in your diet will strengthen the outer layer of your skin and help it heal from wounds and scars.
More importantly, Omega 3 can decrease the production of sebum by regulating hormonal levels.
They will also soothe the inflammatory response your body has to bacteria.
Reducing inflammation in your body is the key to getting rid of acne. And Omega 3 are proven to do exactly that.
How much Omega 3 to take?
It often says in the instructions that fish oil doesn’t have any side effects. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to empty a whole bottle every day for acne.
If you have a good quality fish oil with a high level of EPA and DHA, one teaspoon/capsule per day is enough for acne.
Remember that it has to accumulate in your body before you see any results. This might take 1-2 months.
How to Choose an Omega 3 Supplement
The amount of fish oil brands you can see stuffed on one shelf can be overwhelming. It’s much easier if you know exactly what to look out for.
More is better
The higher the level of EPA and DHA, the better. They are the ones that help regulate the hormones and reduce inflammation.
It makes sense to try and maximize that effect!
If you can get at least 500 mg DHA and 40 mg EPA in one capsule, that would be great.
If you feel your skin issues are way too severe for the regular dosage of fish oil (been there) then I can highly recommend getting a clinical strength Omega 3 fish oil.
This means that with every fish oil capsule, you’ll get at least 1000 mg of DHA and EPA each.
Check the expiry date
As I mentioned earlier, rancid fish oil equals trouble. Fatty acids are extremely delicate.
The second the fish oil oxidizes, it has to be thrown away. Don’t forget to check the expiry date before you buy your fish oil.
I hope that now you’re as excited as I am when it comes to Omega 3 or fish oil. It’s worth mentioning though that a holistic approach is always the best approach.
If you’re suffering from acne, take into account all factors that may be causing your acne issues.
High stress levels are also known to cause acne. If your diet is especially poor (maybe also related to that stressful lifestyle), consider improving it.
Omega 3 supplements are great but even they will struggle to help you if you’re hooked on fast food takeouts.
Good luck on your journey to beautiful and healthy skin, free of acne – you’re now on the right track!