Omega-3 for acne


Approximately 80% of people (of all races) have acne at some point between the ages of 11 and 30 (although older and younger people also can have it). The exact cause of acne is not known, but androgens (hormones that increase in boys and girls during puberty), which make the skin’s oil glands get larger and make more sebum (the skin’s natural oil), seem to play an important role in this skin disorder, although there are other factors involved: genetics, some medications, greasy makeup, pollution, high humidity, etc. Acne usually affects the face but may also affect the back, neck and chest, and although it is not a serious health problem, it can cause scars; besides, it can harm the self-esteem.

Dietary supplementation with omega-3 prevents inflammation in acne, and can help reduce its signs, as scientific studies point out. In addition, omega-3 reduce inflammatory processes of the skin.

The treatment depends on the severity and type of the acne and can be topical (applied to the skin), and/or tablets. Oral isotretinoin is commonly used in the treatment of severe and recalcitrant acne with good outcomes, but it is associated with several adverse effects, including hypertriglyceridemia (an excess of triglycerides in the blood). A recent study indicates that omega-3 supplementation could be used to lower triglycerides levels during the treatment with isotretinoin, thus avoiding the use of other drugs and facilitating the continuation of treatment without dosage reductions.



Krishna S, Okhovat JP, Kim J et al. Influence of ω-3 Fatty Acids on Triglyceride Levels in Patients Using Isotretinoin. JAMA Dermatol. 2015:151(1):101-2.

Logan AC. Dietary fat, fiber, and acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007;57:1092-3

Nicolaou A. Eicosanoids in skin inflammation.Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2013 Jan;88(1):131-8.


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