Fact or Myth: Does Fish Oil Cause Acne?


If you are lucky enough to go through your teenage years without the blemishes and annoying breakouts or you don’t know anyone who has gone through “that” phase, then this is not the article for you.


Only a few of us outlive our teenage years completely blemish-free. But if you only started having acne as the years go by, perhaps during the “adulting phase” where you have to work to pay the bills, having to deal with wrinkles, terrible breakouts and other spots, then surely this one is for you. You’re still probably here reading because you are starting to think that Mother Nature still thinks you are in your teen years. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.


A Daily Telegraph study reported that research has found a 214% rise in the number of UK adults seeking specialist acne treatment. More than one in three of these were aged over 35, while nine percent were over 55. And the cause of this acne plague? Studies found that one in four of the 92 private dermatology clinics taking part said it was due to our fluctuating hormones, stressful lives, and poor diets.


You are probably suspecting right now that life has forsaken you since you are just trying to juggle being happy and healthy and this breakout is what you are only getting.


Acne develops when your body over-produces a skin oil called sebum. Excess sebum and dead skin cells get clogged in the tiny hair follicles, creating an ideal environment for normal skin bacteria to multiply. When your immune system tries to fight back, it triggers the inflammatory response of acne – redness, swelling and pus-filled spots. Newsflash teen breakouts may subside but adult acne has no set endpoint. We can discuss all day how all products can help you treat your acne problems but right now we are going to focus on fish oil and the myths.


Can Fish Oil Cause Acne?


There are actually conflicting results. Some say that this popular health supplement is super helpful but others claim that this causes them to the worst breakout of their lives. Let’s kick it up a notch by discussing where fish oil comes from. For starters, fish oil comes from fish that are fatty. Species such as tuna, even cod and or salmon.


Based on some of the research, this oil contains omega-3s which are commonly known as fatty acids. These are responsible for helping improve the health and physical quality of individuals, claiming that acne is one of those things. Normally, Fish oil or for some miracle supplement is used by people battling ADHD, joint issues, diabetes, and more. However, as soon as the acne topic surfaces, some people tend to change their tune, well, at least those that have conflicting opinions on this. Though Most users today are buying fish oil in capsule form, there are people who prefer the liquified version. You want to find supplements that are pure and not some proprietary mixture that contains a ton of other ingredients. Stick to the basics when it comes to fish oils.


Discussing furthers, some people insist that fish oil helped with their breakouts while there are also women who argue that the supplement made their acne worse. If you are new to taking supplements, these statements can be quite confusing.


Can Fish Oil Help or Worsen Your Acne?


Sis, if your skin is already greasy or oily enough, you may be worried that eating more oils such as Omega 3 will make acne worse, particularly if you’ve heard how fish oil can benefit dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Good news! Rather than making you produce more spot-inducing sebum, Omega 3 regulates its production, suggesting it can help if your skin is dry or oily. And of course, it can soothe inflammation at the same time.


However, taking Omega 3 could make acne worse if your fish oil is rancid. Long-chain polyunsaturated fats like fish oil are fragile and prone to oxidation, which in the body could lead to oxidative stress – a key element in an acne breakout. An easy way to tell if your fish oil supplement has oxidized is if it has a strong fishy smell that repeats on you.


How to keep your fish oil fresh and helpful?

Keep your Omega 3 fish oil in the fridge and spend in good condition supplements, such as our Lion Heart Omega 3 Liquid. At Bare Biology we go to great lengths to minimize oxidation in all our products, and we publish our results called Certificates of Analysis.


Medline Plus says, however, there is no evidence to show that fish oil either causes or alleviates acne outbreaks. On the other hand, Go Ask Alice, a service of Columbia University reports that taking fish oil supplements may actually help decrease the number of acne lesions and reduce the frequency of acne outbreaks.


The evidence in support of the benefits of fish oil with regard to acne is not convincing, and further research is needed. Meanwhile, there are two available studies which have looked at the impact of fish oil on acne. One study showed a 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. If you take Omega 3 supplements for acne could make your skin less prone to spots and blemishes. Not only do the essential fatty acids in Omega 3 fish oil benefits skin by soothing your body’s inflammatory response to excess sebum and bacteria, they can also tackle the root of the problem by helping to regulate acne-causing hormones, such as testosterone and androgen.


As I have mentioned, fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids. However, not all omega 3 fats are created equal and this can cause confusion. To break it down, 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 have focused on long-chain omega 3 fats, such as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

The best Omega 3 supplements for hormonal acne are ones that contain the highest levels of EPA and DHA because it’s these two essential fatty acids that have been shown to help regulate hormones and calm inflammation. Choose a clinical strength fish oil, as you can only get EPA and DHA from animal sources such as fatty fish and not from plant-based sources. Look out for fish oils that have been tested for toxins and don’t take them past the expiry date. If the oil is rancid, the delicate fatty acids can become damaged and can turn into skin-harming free radicals.


Taking Omega 3 for your skin can benefit acne in three ways. First, it can regulate hormones such as testosterone that trigger the overproduction of sebum. Secondly, its essential fatty acid EPA is converted in the body to powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial substances, soothing the inflammatory response. And thirdly, it can stop the liver producing a hormone called ‘insulin-like growth factor 1’ (IGF-1), which can, in turn, soothe spots.


When it comes to daily doses of Omega 3 for acne, a teaspoon of a clinical strength fish oil such as Bare Biology’s Lion Heart Omega 3 Liquid is enough. You’ll also need to wait at least two to four months to see an effect on your skin.


Just remember though, that not all Omega 3 fish oil supplements are created equally. The best fish oil for acne will have high levels of EPA and DHA per capsule or teaspoon, and this information will be easy to find, not buried in the small print.


We’ve mainly been focusing on Omega-3s but we mustn’t forget about omega 6 fatty acids. This type is basically the opposite of omega-3s. When you have an overabundance of omega-6s it typically means that your omega 3 levels are lower than they should be. As a result, you might develop acne or perhaps have done so already.




As mentioned repeatedly, fish oil supposedly help control hormones. This is good news for women, especially those that suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). There have been studies distributed that discuss the actual impact that fish oils have on lessening androgen hormone levels. This is an addition if you’re hurting from hormone-driven acne breakouts.

When testosterone levels develop as well as androgen levels, it can cause extreme sebum to be produced. This isn’t a good thing because as you know, sebum production has been directly linked to clogged pores and breakouts. In this case, that’s exactly what we’re dealing with. While your body needs omega-3s, if you have too much of this in your system, it can be bad for you.

Having too many omega 3s and omega 6s in your system may cause oxidation issues. When this happens, the free radical damage is often the result.



In full disclaimer, I would like to say that yes fish oils can cause acne when taken incorrectly. Like what I have said, too much can be really bad for your skin. and overall health. On the other side, if you have concerns with hormones being imbalanced, then I just want to suggest to give this supplement a shot and get the chance to have a blemish-free skin in no time. You’ll never know really know until you try right?



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