Science: Fish Oil Treats Acne – And Who Should Not Use It

When it comes to supplements, fish and cod liver oil bring home to the most positive emails and feedback. And there’s a reason why. Studies have shown taking fish oil can reduce acne by 42%. It can be especially helpful for women struggling with hormonal issues – and the acne that comes with them.

In this post I want to talk about how to use fish oil to treat acne. Does it help? how much you should take? and who should avoid it? are just some of the questions we’ll cover in this post.

tl;dr

2 studies have looked at the effect of fish oil on acne. One study showed 42% reduction in inflammatory acne and 20% reduction in non-inflammatory acne. The other study showed it can help people with moderate/severe acne, but has no effect on people with mild acne.

Other studies show fish oil can improve the caused of acne. It can help women struggling with hormonal issues, such as premenstrual breakouts or PCOS-related acne.

Short primer on omega 3 fatty acids

Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids. However, not all omega 3 fats are created equal and this can cause confusion. So let’s take a brief look at the different omega 3 fats.

Omega 3 fats come in many forms and the different forms have different effects. Plants contain only alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) form of omega 3. Most research on omega 3 fats has focused on long-chain omega 3 fats, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

While ALA is certainly healthy, studies show it doesn’t have the same benefits as EPA and DHA have. Animals can convert ALA into EPA, DHA and other long-chain omega 3 fats, but this conversion is very limited in humans. That’s why we need to get them from diet or supplements.

Study shows omega 3 supplements reduce acne by 42%

In February 2014 Korean researchers released a study that showed supplementing with omega 3 or gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) reduces inflammatory acne by 40 to 50%. I wrote about the study in detail here, so I’ll just show you the results here.

This graph shows the change in number of pimples after 10 weeks of supplementation (as compared to the beginning of the study).

Omega-3 and GLA supplements reduce acne

Source: Effect of Dietary Supplementation with Omega-3 Fatty Acid and gamma-linolenic Acid on Acne Vulgaris: A Randomised, Double-blind, Controlled Trial.

The omega 3 supplement contained 1000 mg of EPA and 1000 mg of DHA. The GLA supplement was borage oil (2000 mg), containing 400 mg of gamma-linolenic acid.

Both the omega 3 and GLA supplement reduced inflammatory acne by 40 to 50%, and non-inflammatory acne by about 20%. The researchers also measured inflammation in skin scrapings and found that it went down by 20 to 30% after supplementation. As I explained here, inflammation at the skin is the trigger that starts acne. So less inflammation is definitely good for the skin.

Prior to this one, only one small study had looked at the effect of fish oil on acne. Khayef et al. gave 13 men fish oil capsules for 12 weeks. The supplement delivered a daily dose of 930 mg EPA, 720 mg DHA and 174 mg DPA.

The results are inconclusive, at best. There was no change in acne severity when you look at the group as a whole. However, most people with moderate/severe acne improved while people with mild acne got worse. The study also showed slight decrease in redness of the skin.

Summary

These 2 studies show taking fish oil may reduce acne. But we can’t conclude anything definitive from just 2 studies, one of which was very poor. So think of this as something to try, rather than proven treatment for acne.

We can get more clues by looking at how fish oil affects acne causes.

The effect of fish oil on acne causes

Fortunate fish oil and omega 3 supplements have received a lot of research love. Many of the studies also look at their effect on acne causes: hormones, insulin resistance and inflammation. Let’s take a look at what those studies show.

Fish oil can reduce hormonal acne in women

Unfortunately, no one has studied how fish oil supplements affect hormones in acne patients. But there’s good evidence to show that fish oil supplements are helpful in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Underlying both acne and PCOS are similar hormonal imbalances, so we can quite safely assume that what works for PCOS is also helpful in acne. Not to mention that many women with PCOS also have acne.

Perhaps the most interesting paper was published in 2011 in The American Journal of Clinical NutritionPhelan et al. studied 109 women with PCOS and showed that women with higher omega 6/omega 3 ratio also had higher androgen levels. They divided the women into two groups based on blood levels of omega 6 fats. This graph shows androgen levels in both groups:

Effect of omega 6 level on androgens

Source: Hormonal and metabolic effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome: results from a cross-sectional analysis and a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.

In other words, women with higher blood levels of omega 6 also had quite a bit higher testosterone and DHEAS levels, both of which have been linked to acne.

The same researchers followed this up with another study where they tested the effect of omega 3 supplements on PCOS. The supplement delivered 1900 mg of EPA and DHA (combined) per day. This graph shows the results:

Effect of fish oil supplements on androgen levels

Source: Hormonal and metabolic effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome: results from a cross-sectional analysis and a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.

As you can see, there was a nice drop in bioavailable (free) testosterone and small drop in DHEAS levels in the omega 3 group. Again, both of these move the needle to the right direction as far as acne is concerned.

They further divided the women into two groups based on how well they responded, i.e., reduction in bioavailable testosterone. The women with higher reduction in bioavailable testosterone also showed much larger reduction in omega 6/3 ratio than the women who didn’t respond so well.

Not quite content with these results, the researchers further tested the effect of various fatty acids on androgen producing cells in ovaries.

Here are the results:

Omega 6 fats have profound effect on androgen secretion

Source: Hormonal and metabolic effects of polyunsaturated fatty acids in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome: results from a cross-sectional analysis and a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.

Eyeballing from the graph, AA (arachidonic acid, a common form of omega 6) triggered about 40% increase in androgen secretion as compared to EPA or DHA.

What this paper showed is that omega 6 levels and omega 6/3 ratio affects androgen levels in women with PCOS. I suspect that the same is true for non-PCOS women struggling with hormonal acne.

I also found 4 other studies that tested omega 3 supplementation on PCOS. 3 of these showed improvements insulin or androgen levels while one study showed no effect.

Fish oil and omega 3 fats have no effect on insulin resistance

Studies on men and women without PCOS quite conclusively show that fish oil or omega 3 supplements have no effect on insulin resistance.

A 2011 review of high-quality studies on the topic concluded the following (n-3 means omega 3):

In a pooled estimate, n-3 PUFA intervention had no effects on IS [insulin sensitivity] compared to placebo. Similarly, n-3 PUFA had no effects on IS in sub-group analyses (Type 2 diabetes vs. other population).

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

This was mirrored in a 2012 systemic review of high-quality studies on metabolic syndrome:

There is no evidence of beneficial effects of VLC n3 PUFA on the blood glucose control of MS [metabolic syndrome] patients and may even be harmful at high doses.

The effect of EPA and DHA on metabolic syndrome patients: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials

In conclusion, there’s conclusive evidence that, outside of PCOS, omega 3 fats have no effect on blood sugar or insulin levels.

Anti-inflammatory effect of omega 3 fats

Human data on anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 fats remains inconclusive. Despite most studies showing improvements in some inflammatory markers, there’s no consistency between studies.

A 2013 systemic review of high-quality studies concluded the following:

Observational studies in healthy adults support the recommendation that a diet rich in n-3 fatty acids may play a role in preventing and reducing inflammation, whereas intervention studies in healthy adults have yielded inconsistent results. The majority of intervention studies in adults with features of MetS have reported a benefit for some inflammatory measures; however, other studies using high n-3 fatty acid doses and long supplementation periods have reported no effect. Overall, the data reviewed herein support recommendations for regular fatty fish consumption and point toward health benefits in terms of lowering inflammation in adults with one or more features of MetS.

N-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Relationship to Inflammation in Healthy Adults and Adults Exhibiting Features of Metabolic Syndrome

In plain English: some studies show good results, some show poor results and we can’t really say for sure whether they work or not.

Omega 3/ omega 6 ratio

A possible explanation for the confusing results is that the anti-inflammatory effect of omega 3 fats is less due to omega 3 and more due to inhibition of inflammatory omega 6 fats.

Excessive omega 6 fats are known to be inflammatory and linked to development of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. As omega 3 and 6 fats compete for the same enzymes in the body, taking omega 3 can reduce the effect of omega 6.

Think of a traffic jam forming when multiple lanes of traffic converge into a single lane. All the cars have to pass through the same lane, so each car has to queue for its turn.

Something similar happens with omega 3 and 6 fats. They all require processing by the same enzyme. So if you eat too much omega 6 fats they are going to crowd out processing of omega 3 fats and thus decrease the bioavailability and effect of omega 3 fats. Increasing omega 3 intake pushes out some of the omega 6 from processing and thus decreases their effect.

Regardless, there’s evidence to show taking fish oil or omega 3 supplements has some anti-inflammatory effect, though reducing omega 6 intake is probably a better strategy for reducing inflammation.

Recommendations

So what to make of all this data? Who should take fish oil (or other omega 3 supplements) and who is better off saving money? Here’s what I would recommend:

  • People with moderate to severe acne should consider taking a fish oil supplement. There’s reasonable good evidence to show it can help. However, you can probably get the same results with antioxidant supplement.
  • I’m not sure that fish oil helps mild or occasional acne. It’s still worth a try, but I wouldn’t expect much.
  • Fish oil can also work for women with hormonal acne, even mild.
  • If your acne is linked to PCOS, hyperandrogenism, menstrual issues or other hormonal problems you should definitely try fish oil. Go for something that gives you 1000 to 1500 mg of long chain omega 3 fats per day. Long chain omega 3 fats are EPA, DHA – basically anything other than ALA.

Whether you supplement or not, make sure you get omega 3 fats from your diet, by eating fatty fish, omega 3 eggs and flax seeds. That, combined with restricting omega 6 intake, should help to bring your omegas back to balance.

Conclusion

Fish oil and omega 3 fats are among the few supplements science has shown to be useful. Studies show they can reduce acne, and they can be very helpful in women with acne that’s related to hormonal problems (PCOS, hyperandrogenism, etc.).

Don’t know how to get over acne? Let me help.

Feel like you’ve tried everything but acne still won’t budge? Read this page to understand why you get acne and what you can do to get over it.

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About Me

Hi, I am Acne Einstien(a.k.a. Seppo Pussa). I'm a bit of a science nerd who is also passionate about health. I enjoyed digging through medical journals for acne treatment gems I can share here. You can read more about my journey through acne and how I eventually ended up creating this.

References

31 thoughts on “Science: Fish Oil Treats Acne – And Who Should Not Use It

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17622786
    Arachidonic acid prevents insulin resistance induced by high fat diet.

    Pretty much goes back to pushing the paleo-ish diet.

    Great post, very honest research. I would love to see more studies done on fish oil’s effect on acne, with a larger study population.

    I have seen some studies that fish oil increases Glutathione peroxidase: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0271531700002141, which theoretically would reduce acne.

    From what I gather meat is not the enemy in regards to omega 6 fats, it is the excess of vegetable oils, which are converted to arachidonic acid.
    Anyway I personally eat 3 eggs everyday (or beef liver when I can–also great for acne with its zinc and retinol), and have begun taking fish oil with spirulina or another substance to prevent lipid peroxidation. I am more into fish oil for mental effects, but when improving those parameters I will improve acne as well!!!

    • Be careful with those mouse studies. Most of the time I don’t even look at animal studies since, by definition, we are talking of preliminary research and there’s a lot of uncertainty in the results.

      I’m not sure that omega-6 fats are as bad as they are made to be. A science advisory council to the American Heart Association reviewed the data on the association between omega-6 intake and heart disease in 2009. There’s good data to show that increasing omega-6 intake, even from vegetable fats, doesn’t increase inflammation or heart disease. In fact, most data show increase n-6 intake reduces the risk of heart disease.

      That said, I don’t claim to know all there is to know about this. Common sense should prevail, so let’s avoid excessive processed and junk food and eat some omega-3 rich foods and leave it at that.

      In most days I also eat 3 omega-3 eggs a day, cooked as scrambled eggs with tuna in the morning. I also eat bread made of flaxseed and n-3 eggs.

  2. Could it ever be that were having TOO much Omegga 3’s?

    As you know I’m already taking the cod liver oil gel 1/2 tea spoon a day but I wanted to implement omegga eggs.. do you think thats a good idea? you think it will help? will it be too much?

    I have never seen omegga 3 eggs.. are they sold everywhere? are there different qualities? anything in specefic I should look for/know when I go shopping for them? Do they taste different?

    Sorry for all my questions, once again thank you Seppo!

    PS: As gold members are we allowed to maybe meet with you? maybe via skype? I’m just going crazy regarding my skin I really need some support and assurance :((.. Do you ever come to la?

    • Yes, it’s possible to get too much omega-3 fats. They can be helpful, but they are not a panacea. In excessive quantities they can ‘thin’ your blood and make it harder for wounds to stop bleeding.

      If you already take cod liver oil, then you probably don’t need omega-3 eggs. I just use them because I don’t take fish oil or other omega-3 supplements.

      As far as I know, omega-3 enriched eggs should be available in most supermarkets. Walmart seems to have them.

      Some people say they have a ‘fishy’ taste, but I’ve never noticed any difference. The nutritional composition of eggs depends on what the hens ate. Hens that have been given fish oil produce eggs with higher EPA and DHA content, but hens that got flax seeds produce eggs with more ALA but less EPA and DHA.

      I live in Thailand, so coming to LA is little problematic 🙂 I’m thinking of starting a support program in case there’s need for such.

  3. Oh very interesting so which is better hens that got flax seed or hens that got fish oil.. and how would I know.. does it say this on the egg carton or something?

    Oh wow I did not know you live in Thailand that is so cooool!!! I would love to visit there sometime soon :))

    Yes a support group for gold members would be great!!!!!

    • For you it probably doesn’t matter, since you already get EPA and DHA from cod liver oil. I don’t think there are any requirements for companies to print these things into egg cartons, but the companies that sell eggs with high omega-3 content probably advertise the fact in the cartons.

  4. Hi Seppo,
    Do you think that it is the overall amount of omega-6 fats that matters or is i okay to eat a pretty great load of omega-6 as long as you complement it with an almost equal amount of omega-3?
    It is quite difficult to not end up eating a pretty big amount of omega-6 while on the Paleo diet, unless you can buy everything organic.

    Best regards from Drey

    • If your omega 6 comes from meats, eggs, nuts and other real foods, then I wouldn’t worry about it. I don’t really buy the arguments paleo proponents make that omega 6 fats are that bad. If you see my comment above, I linked to a report by the science advisory council to The American Heart Association. In the report they went through all the available evidence on the link between omega 6 fat intake and heart disease. Most of the evidence shows that higher omega 6 intake is linked to less heart disease and less inflammation.

      That said, I don’t claim to be a real expert on the topic and perhaps there’s something I’m missing. My view is not to stress too much about omega 6 intake. Eat real foods and make sure you have some omega 3 rich foods in your diet. I would leave it at that.

  5. Fish Oil, well. You know there is CLO, which is a fish oil and has quite a lot of Vit A. I would argue that the Vit A from CLO can help quite a lot of people with comedons or comedonic acne. Just my 2 cents

    • With CLO I presume you mean cod liver oil? I’m not sure that vitamin A (in the form you get from supplements of CLO) has much effect on acne. There are a couple of older studies that tested megadoses of vit A on acne and showed little to no results.

  6. I also think that you are supposed to be more concerned about your insuline levels rather than how man grams of omega-6 you intake from your daily diet. An adaption to paleo lifestyle has defintely imroved my skin even if I am not eating 100% paleo. Still eating small amounts of brown rice every day but not more than 100g of carbs.

  7. If I am understanding these results correctly, EPA reduces platelet aggregation (blood stickiness which is related to clotting) in males AND, in males, reduced platelet aggregation is inversely related to testosterone. Therefore, this study suggests that as EPA goes up in males, with it goes testosterone. Might explain the acne connection at least for males.

    Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2012 Feb;22(2):109-14. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2010.04.012. Epub 2010 Aug 12.
    Gender-specific inhibition of platelet aggregation following omega-3 fatty acid supplementation.
    Phang M, Sinclair AJ, Lincz LF, Garg ML.
    Source
    Nutraceuticals Research Group, School of Biomedical Sciences & Pharmacy, 305C Medical Sciences Building, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia.
    Abstract
    BACKGROUND AND AIMS:
    Increased platelet aggregation is a major risk factor for heart attacks, stroke and thrombosis. Long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCn-3PUFA; eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA; docosahexaenoic acid, DHA) reduce platelet aggregation; however studies in the published literature involving EPA and/or DHA supplementation have yielded equivocal results. Recent in vitro studies have demonstrated that inhibition of platelet aggregation by LCn-3PUFA is gender specific. We examined the acute effects of dietary supplementation with EPA or DHA rich oils on platelet aggregation in healthy male and females.
    METHODS AND RESULTS:
    A blinded placebo controlled trial involving 15 male and 15 female subjects. Platelet aggregation was measured at 0, 2, 5 and 24 h post-supplementation with a single dose of either a placebo or EPA or DHA rich oil capsules. The relationship between LCn-3PUFA and platelet activity at each time point was examined according to gender vs. treatment. EPA was significantly the most effective in reducing platelet aggregation in males at 2, 5 and 24 h post-supplementation (-11%, -10.6%, -20.5% respectively) whereas DHA was not effective relative to placebo. In contrast, in females, DHA significantly reduced platelet aggregation at 24 h (-13.7%) while EPA was not effective. An inverse relationship between testosterone levels and platelet aggregation following EPA supplementation was observed.
    CONCLUSION:
    Interactions between sex hormones and omega-3 fatty acids exist to differentially reduce platelet aggregation. For healthy individuals, males may benefit more from EPA supplementation while females are more responsive to DHA.

    • Thanks for posting this study, Patricia. I read the paper and you can’t conclude from this study that EPA or DHA supplementation has any effect on sex hormones. The paper talks about interaction between EPA/DHA and sex hormones and how the combination affects platelet aggregation. As far as I can tell, they didn’t do any before/after measurements for sex hormones, at least they didn’t mention the results in the paper.

    • I did some further research and couldn’t find anything that shows omega-3 supplementation would increase testosterone levels. In fact, I would studies showing flax seed intake reduces T levels in men with prostate cancer. That said, there aren’t too many studies on the topic and it’s hard to say how well the prostate cancer studies apply to healthy men.

    • Too bad that Dr. Galland didn’t bother to post any references or evidence to back up his little article. He is one of those ‘integrative medicine’ doctors and as a group they have a tendency to substitute science with their own beliefs. That makes me very suspicious of anything they say. Anyway, I’ll see if I can find something about this.

  8. hi there seppo just stumbled on this would your book help me? im 29 had acne since 16 on and off. I have endometriosis, low platelet count. Gastritis and oesophagitis and also a hiatus hernia. im assuming that this contributes to my acne. I have it mainly on one side of my face and my chin. I just broke out after being clear thru pregnancy. would your book help?

    • I can’t really say, to be honest. If your medical conditions affect your skin then I can’t say how much diet and lifestyle changes will help your skin. It’s possible they help, but a case like this it’s just not possible to say in advance. But if you want to try it and find that it doesn’t work for you, I’ll be happy to refund your order.

  9. Hey Seppo

    Great post again and thanks for your on going hard work.

    I just wanted your take on cod liver oil. From what I’ve heard there’s a big difference between regular fish oil and cod liver oil. Most people take cod liver oil more for their fat soluble vitamins A,D, K2. This is the natural vitamin A and Accutane and retinoids use synthetic versions of the same vitamin A. I thought vitamin A was a key player in our skin and acne. Many bloggers have mentioned that cod liver oil is the best supplement for acne.

    Thanks again just wanted your opinion on these vitamins.

    • Hard to comment anything definitive on this. My guess is that if cod liver oil helps acne it’s because of its omega-3 content. Natural vitamin A seems to have minimal effect on acne. A few decades ago researchers did a few studies where they gave patients massive amounts of vitamin A (several 100k IUs per day) to see if it has any effect on acne. Some studies showed it helped but the results are anything but conclusive. The best we can say is the if vitamin A helps acne you have to take it in such large doses that it could cause negative side effects.

  10. I mentioned it because most bloggers have mentioned it drastically affected their skin, including Tracy from Love Vitamin and Devon from Clear Skin Forever.

    Chris Kresser also mentioned the important of vitamin a for acne.

    “Vitamin A influences the physiology of the skin by promoting epidermal differentiation, modulating dermal growth factors, inhibiting sebaceous gland activity, and suppressing androgen formation. (1) As it promotes cell turnover in the skin, vitamin A is effective in preventing the formation of comedones that cause the most common forms of acne.”

    Here’s the link its a great little ebook for skin health.

    https://my.chriskresser.com/wp-content/uploads/membership-files/ebooks/Nutrition%20for%20Skin.pdf

    Thanks again for your feedback Seppo

    • I also read Chris’es ebook some time ago. I can’t really agree with much of what he writes. I mean, technically the bit you quoted is correct. But just because vitamin A deficiency leads to skin problems and vitamin A plays a part in skin health doesn’t mean that eating more vitamin A helps your skin – especially in people with sufficient vitamin A levels.

      Zinc is a good example of this. People with moderate to severe acne have low levels of zinc, probably because zinc plays a part in antioxidant pathways. For such people supplementing with zinc could reduce acne. But once zinc levels are back to normal it’s unlikely that further supplementation helps.

      I would also strongly disagree with this statement:

      While physicians prescribe synthetic retinoids to treat skin conditions including acne, eczema, psoriasis, cold sores, wounds, burns, sunburn, and ichthyosis, it is possible to obtain similar effects from consuming natural sources of preformed vitamin A.

      The problem with that is that pumping up blood levels of vitamin A probably has minimal effect on skin levels of vitamin A derivatives. Furthermore, vitamin A itself has little to no effect on skin. It needs to be further converted into other forms. The rate at which the conversion happens at the skin severely limits the effectiveness of ‘nonconverted’ forms.

      I’m not saying vitamin A couldn’t help acne. Just that so far there’s no real evidence to say it does.

      As to bloggers claiming it helped their acne. Take such statements with a grain of salt. It’s really difficult to figure out what helps your acne and what doesn’t. Many times I’ve claimed something helped my skin only to later discover it actually had no effect. That’s one reason I usually don’t share anecdotes on this blog and try to focus on science and other reasonably reliable evidence.

  11. I have what seems to me like mild to moderate acne and have noticed that many people have mentioned that omega 3 fish oil improves their acne. So I decided to go out and buy it myself, and my acne has not gotten better but in fact, ive gotten more acne each day that had passed, but I dont know whether its the fish oil or not. I normally do have oily skin but its just bugging me and id like to know what your thoughts were on this.

    • I haven’t seen any research on this, but it could be possible that some people don’t tolerate PUFAs very well. PUFAs are omega 3 and 6 fats and they are prone to oxidation. Again, I’m not sure if this is true and large studies show that higher PUFA intake is not linked to increased heart disease, but I have heard from people who claim that too much omega 3 or 6 causes problems for them. Perhaps you can try to minimize them in your diet and eat more MUFA (olive oil) and saturated fats.

  12. Hi Seppo,
    I was wondering if you could help me regarding my take on fish oil capsules.

    Im a 17 yr old girl with cystic acnes. They always appear around my mouth especially on the chin. The other parts of my face are literally clear. No acne at all. I was thinking that my hormones are having a problem and this fish oil could help me. I eat clean as much as possible. I eat eggs for breakfast and salmon for lunch and dinner. I avoid sweets and dairy product as much as possible because im watching my weight also because i know it inflames my acnes. I was thinking on taking 1500mg of fish oil a day. Would that help? Or is it too much omega 3 for a day? Thank you!!

    • If you already eat salmon and other omega-3 rich foods then you probably don’t need to supplement with fish oil. It probably doesn’t help.

  13. I have to disagree with fish oil improving acne. I am 17 and I have never had a problem with pimples or acne. I started taking fish oil a month or 2 ago and now I am constantly battling acne and pimples. Idk how these studies are done but I would not recommend fish oil.

  14. Hey there,
    I know that this is from a long time ago haha, so hoping that you’ll give me a reply.

    I got what is more correctly defined as ‘subclinical acne’ on my forehead about midway last year. I was thirteen.

    I realise that this is the age when acne starts; but I really don’t think mine is completely hormonal. It’s not severe or cystic (probably just jinxed myself saying that), it’s more like clogged pores, tiny red bumps/pimples, and the occasional nodule. The occasional whitehead, but really, all very SMALL pimples. The recent stress over this has led to more small pimples forming over my neck and chest 🙁

    The reason I said that is because over the last (two) years, my mum had been making me take Omega-3 Fish oil supplements for children. I can’t be completely sure, obviously, but my acne might have started forming after I stopped taking the fish oil.

    I stopped taking it because I thought it tasted bad, was mad she was forcing me, and eventually just stopped eating it. Nothing she could do, so that was that.

    I’m just wondering if there is possibility the two are linked, at all. I will start taking a single capsule every few days now, though.

    I’m just wary, because I just saw a website that said fish oil has now been proven to make acne and inflammation worse in the long run (even if it may help right now), and that cod oil would be more beneficial.

    Many thanks!

  15. Hi there! Thanks for the detailed info in all your articles. I just wanted to add my experience with Omegas and see if you had any thoughts on it. Everytime I have tried supplementing with fish oil (mind you I have taken large doses), I have been okay for a few days but after about a week, my acne increases s.i.g.n.i.f.i.c.a.n.t.l.y. Like it goes from moderate cystic to severe with several massive lumps at a time. By massive, I mean dime and nickel sized. It’s terrifying.

    The reason i believe it to be caused by omegas is because it has happened at 2 different times when i have supplemented with fish oil and it also happened another time when i increased my omegas through chia and hemp. I began eating hemp and chia on cereal and salads (probably 3 to 4 tablespoons a day) and a week later I had the same response as with fish oil.

    I eat about a 75% Paleo diet and usually tolerate fats well. I eat an average of 3 eggs per day (non omega).

    Do you have any thoughts as to why this might be? Do you think that I’m missing another nutrient that would cause me to have such a massive response with Omega? Do you think I’m safe to take lower doses? I’ve been afraid to try, tbh. I think I was taking high epa oil (for mood) at one time when i had the bad response…. Could that have contributed? What could be causing such an extreme increase in acne? I know you said there wasnt much research saying this but do you think omegas could be impacting my hormones in some way? The reason i suspect this is because the only other time in my life when my acne was similarily as bad as on omegas was during early pregnancy in a pregnancy that ended in miscarriage.

    Any thoughts you have about this would be great!

    Thanks!

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