Fish oil is filled with omega-3 – a polyunsaturated fatty acid (or “PUFA”) that provides many health benefits. Believe it or not, omega-3 can help with skin care – so continue reading to discover 3 ways fish oil can help make your skin more radiant. (Plus, you'll discover how EverlyWell's Omega-3 Plus Test can help you see if you're getting enough of this potent nutrient.)
UV radiation from sunlight can damage your skin and result in a sunburn, which can increase your risk of skin cancer.
UV radiation from sunlight can damage your skin and result in a sunburn.
Consuming omega-3, however, can protect skin from sunburn. In one study, participants who took 10 grams of fish oil a day – for up to 6 months – increased their resistance to sunburn the longer they took the fish oil supplement .
In another study, participants supplementing with 4 grams of omega-3 per day (for three months) didn’t sunburn as easily compared to those who took another kind of unsaturated fatty acid: oleic acid (which can be found in avocados, olive oil, beef tallow, and other vegetable and animal fats and oils) . This suggests that sunburn protection is a relatively unique effect of omega-3, and is not something that all unsaturated fatty acids have in common.
If omega-3 can help prevent sunburns , then can it also reduce skin cancer risk? Some research indicates that, yes, it can – linking higher consumption of omega-3 with a lower risk of developing some types of skin cancer .
Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the severity of chronic skin conditions like eczema. Research published in 2008, for example, found that daily doses of 5.4 grams of omega-3 lowered eczema severity by about 23% – at the end of 8 weeks . (Eczema severity is quantified with a scoring tool known as SCORAD.)
Omega-3 fatty acids may help reduce the severity of chronic skin conditions like eczema.
Interestingly, some experts believe eczema is quite common in the United States largely because Western diets tend to have a less-than-ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 .
What is the omega-6 and omega-3 ratio?
Omega-3 is not the only polyunsaturated fatty acid. There are other types of polyunsaturated fatty acids, one of which is omega-6. Omega-6 is commonly found in corn oil, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, and sunflower oil – as well as red meat and poultry. The amount of omega-6 in your body compared to the amount of omega-3 is the omega-6:omega-3 ratio.
In general, you want a low omega-6:omega-3 ratio because high amounts of omega-6 – relative to omega-3 – can contribute to a variety of health problems (such as inflammation). The majority of people in the United States, however, have a high omega-6:omega-3 ratio.
(To check your omega-6:omega-3 ratio, try the Omega-3 Plus Test.)
There are a number of compelling clues that omega-3 can have a positive effect on acne. For example, a number of studies show that acne occurs less often in communities whose diets are rich in omega-3 .
There are a number of compelling clues that omega-3 can have a positive effect on acne.
Other research studies have explored more direct links between omega-3 and acne. In a 10 week trial, individuals who took 2 grams of omega-3 per day witnessed nearly a 30% drop in acne severity compared to the control group (based on the Cunliffe grading system for acne severity) .
Why might fish oil have this effect on acne? No one knows for sure, but some researchers think it’s because omega-3 fatty acids can block the formation of inflammatory compounds involved in acne . So, now you know: omega-3s can help with inflammation in the skin.
If you want to make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 from your diet, try to eat oily fish – like salmon, tuna, and sardines – at least twice a week .
Testing your omega-3 levels is another important step you can take. You can do that from the comfort of home with EverlyWell’s Omega-3 Plus Test. This test reveals your overall omega-3 status, as well as your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. It thus gives you key information about your wellness – alerting you to deficiencies in omega-3 and showing how high your omega-6:omega-3 ratio is.
Here’s how one test-taker explained the value of taking EverlyWell’s Omega-3 Plus kit:
“This test was super easy to use, and I found out that my ratios were very off. The information was detailed and easy to read, plus had valuable content for how I can change my diet to improve my ratios.”
Omega-3 can benefit your skin by preventing sunburns and reducing eczema and acne severity, according to a number of scientific studies. To make sure you’re getting enough omega-3 to support your skin’s well-being, simply take EverlyWell’s Omega-3 Plus Test.