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Does Fish Oil Help Acne? (Hint: It Depends)

Various potential solutions have emerged in the constant quest for clear skin, but the recurring question is, "Does fish oil help acne?" It's a natural question to ask, considering the increasingly popular emphasis on healthy fats in our diets. 

From supporting heart health to easing inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have been touted for many health benefits. But does the correlation extend to treating acne, an inflammatory skin condition?

Can upping your intake of fish oil supplements, omega-3 fatty acids, or even consuming more oily fish provide the secret to a flawless complexion? The answer, as you might expect, isn't straightforward. Let's unravel the science behind fish oil's effects on acne.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil could potentially help reduce acne due to their anti-inflammatory properties, but the effect varies among individuals.
  • An imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 in our diets could exacerbate acne; increasing fish intake may restore this balance and improve acne.
  • High-quality fish oil supplements may provide a viable alternative for those who can't or don't want to increase their fish intake, but it's important to follow dosage guidelines and ensure product quality.
  • Exposed Skin Care incorporates the benefits of fish oil and omega-3 fatty acids in their products, offering a comprehensive approach to tackling various acne types.

Woman taking fish oil supplement

Unraveling the Omega-3 and Acne Connection

The Acne and Inflammation Connection

Acne is an inflammatory condition that results when hair follicles become plugged with excess oil and dead skin cells. This is often aggravated by inflammation in the body, exacerbating the appearance and severity of acne, ranging from mild acne to moderate to severe acne, including forms like acne vulgaris and hormonal acne.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammation

Omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids, are known for their potent anti-inflammatory properties. These essential fatty acids, most plentiful in fish, can help reduce inflammation in the body. This makes fish oil supplements a potentially beneficial tool for inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory acne.

Balancing Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids

In our modern diets, there's often an imbalance in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, leaning heavily towards omega-6. This imbalance can exacerbate inflammation, which can, in turn, worsen acne.

Regular fish intake, particularly oily fish like salmon, is a rich source of omega-3 that may help to restore this balance, thus reducing inflammation and potentially improving acne.

Man carrying prepared salmon dish

Exploring the Effect of Fish Oil on Acne

While the theory behind fish oil and acne is sound, what does the research say? In reality, does fish oil help acne, or are these claims all at sea?

The Impact of Fish Oil on Acne Severity

Several studies have suggested that fish oil can help reduce acne severity. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, such as EPA and DHA, have anti-inflammatory effects that may help decrease the inflammation contributing to acne. This suggests that increasing fish oil or omega-3 intake through diet or supplementation may help manage moderate to severe acne.

Hormonal Acne and Fish Oil

Fish oil might also play a role in managing hormonal acne. This is due to the potential ability of omega-3 fatty acids to regulate hormone levels, thus possibly reducing the hormonal fluctuations that can cause acne.

However, it's important to note that while fish oil may help reduce acne, it is unlikely to cure it. The effect of fish oil on acne varies between individuals, and it may have a more significant impact on some people than others.

Could Fish Oil Worsen Acne?

On the other hand, some might find that taking omega-3 supplements or increasing their fish intake may worsen acne or cause new breakouts. This could be due to various factors, such as a reaction to a particular brand of fish oil, the form of fish oil (like cod liver oil or krill oil), or even the dosage.

Woman checking her face of acne

Some forms of fish oil are higher in omega-3s than others, and overconsumption could potentially upset the balance of fats in the body, leading to breakouts.

Implementing Fish Oil into Your Acne Treatment Routine

Ways to Take Fish Oil

You can increase your intake of fish oil by eating more fish, taking fish oil supplements, or using a fish oil supplement. Some of the best sources of omega-3 are oily fish like salmon, mackerel, and cod. However, omega-3 supplements or fish oil capsules can be a viable option for those who are vegetarian or don't eat fish.

Fish Oil Dosage

Dosage is key in determining whether fish oil will help or harm your skin health. While there are no universal dosage guidelines, the International Fish Oil Standards (IFOS) suggest an omega-3 intake of at least 500mg daily for general health.

The dosage might be higher for specific health concerns, like persistent acne. However, adhering to the manufacturer's instructions is crucial when taking fish oil supplements.

Person showing fish oil pills

Ensuring Quality

While fish oil could potentially be beneficial for acne, choosing a high-quality fish oil supplement is essential. Look for supplements that meet the international fish oil standards (IFOS) for purity, potency, and freshness.

Unlocking Clear Skin: The Benefits of Exposed Skin Care

When it comes to managing acne, Exposed Skin Care offers a unique approach. It embraces the benefits of fish oil for acne and incorporates omega-3 fatty acids, a type of omega-3 beneficial for skin health, into their formulations.

 Exposed Skin Expanded Kit

Here are some key advantages of using Exposed Skin Care products:

  • Targeted Action: They target different types of acne, including inflammatory and noninflammatory acne.

  • Incorporation of Omega-3: These products harness the power of omega-3 fatty acids. Research has found that people who ate fish at least once per week were less likely to have acne, showcasing the effects of omega-3s on acne.

  • Comprehensive Approach: Exposed Skin Care acknowledges the complex relationship between acne and diet. Their recommendations often include consuming fish, given the ratio of omega-3 present in fish and fish oil.

Incorporating Exposed Skin Care into your routine may assist in your journey to clear your acne. However, since acne varies from person to person, outcomes will differ.


The relationship between fish oil and acne is multifaceted, painting a complex picture. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly those found in fish oil, may offer potential benefits in managing acne due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Yet, the degree to which these benefits can be felt will differ from person to person.

Factors such as the type of acne—be it inflammatory or noninflammatory—the form of fish oil used, and the individual's reaction to fish oil all play significant roles. Incorporating more fish into your diet is one approach to tackle acne, given that studies have found that people who regularly consume fish are often less likely to develop acne.

Furthermore, the use of products that harness the power of omega-3 fatty acids, like Exposed Skin Care, may provide a useful complement to dietary changes. These products specifically target acne, offering a comprehensive skincare solution that combines the benefits of fish oil with other active ingredients.

However, it's crucial to remember that while omega-3 fatty acids may help manage acne, they are unlikely to cure it completely. Finding the right balance in your diet and skincare routine, including a potentially beneficial role for fish oil, might be one of the keys to dealing with this persistent skin issue.


Does fish oil help acne?

The relationship between fish oil and acne isn't straightforward. While the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil could potentially help reduce acne, the impact varies between individuals. Some people might even find that fish oil worsens their acne.

Can taking a fish oil supplement improve my acne?

Taking a fish oil supplement might help reduce acne in some people due to the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids it contains. However, it's important to follow the recommended dosage guidelines and choose a high-quality supplement that meets international fish oil standards.

Does eating more fish help with acne?

Eating more oily fish like salmon, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, could help reduce inflammation and improve acne. However, the effect of fish intake on acne will differ from person to person.

Can fish oil cause acne?

In some cases, fish oil may cause or worsen acne. This could be due to various factors, such as a reaction to a specific brand or form of fish oil, or overconsumption of fish oil.

Is fish oil good for skin health?

Fish oil, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is generally considered beneficial for skin health due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to hydrate the skin, reduce inflammation, and potentially improve certain skin conditions, including acne. However, the effect will vary from person to person.