Using Fish Oil for Acne – Does it Really Work?

young woman with hair pulled back squeezing a pimple on her face


Can you use fish oil for acne?

Studies show that fish oils can reduce inflammation and the severity of acne in moderate and severe acne.

Fish oil contains the omega 3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

A number of studies have shown these essential fatty acids are important for skin health and can protect you against sunburn and skin aging, reduce dry, sensitive skin and enhance wound healing.

Having clear, healthy skin is important because it helps you look and feel better about yourself. However, the appearance of blemishes, acne and redness can be a real problem and even affect your self-esteem.

Many things can cause acne breakouts and pimples. Stress and hormones may cause your skin to increase oil and sebum production which can clog your pores.

Scientists have discovered that a bacteria that naturally resides on the skin causes acne. And taking certain medications (corticosteroids and anti-seizure drugs) have been reported to cause acne in some people.  


6 Ways Fish Oil May Help Skin

A number of studies show that the fatty acids in fish oil can benefit the skin in many ways: 

  1. Fights Inflammation – An abstract published in the July 2018 issue of Marine Drugs discusses how fish oil provides an anti-inflammatory effect and promotes wound healing. Another study also confirmed that 3 grams of fish oil a day, containing 930 mg of EPA, improved overall acne severity by reducing inflammation.
  2. Improves skin texture – Omea 3 fatty acids can help increase cellular hydration which can lead to improved skin tone, smaller pores and smoother looking skin.
  3. Lowers Sebum Production – EPA and DHA have been shown to improve mood which may reduce stress and lower sebum production.
  4. Maintains the Skin Barrier – these essential fatty acids help fortify and maintain the outer layer of the skin  (stratum corneum) making the skin stronger and more resilient.
  5. Shrinks Oil Glands – May reduce the size of your sebaceous glands which can lower sebum output and reduce the look of shiny oily skin.
  6. Hormone Control – Fish oil fats can keep production of androgens (testosterone) under control which may reduce oil production, blackheads and pimples.

A study published in the Lipids in Health and Disease Journal showed omega 3 fatty acids improved inflammatory acne lesions and also helped regulate mood and depressive symptoms.  Study subjects used a nutritional supplement called GENUINE HEALTH Perfect Skin. Each capsule contained 250 mg. of EPA (from sardines and anchovies), 3.75 mg of zinc gluconate, 50 mcg of selenium, 50 mcg of chromium and 50 mcg of EGCG from green tea extract. After a 2 month period, researchers saw a marked reduction in the number of acne lesions and less redness and inflammation.

Researchers at the Department of Dermatology at the Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea also discovered similar results…A randomized, double-blind, controlled study on 45 patients with mild to moderate acne received 2000 mg of EPA and DHA.  After 10 weeks they found omega 3 fatty acids caused a significant decrease in inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions, with no adverse side effects.


Can Fish Oils Help Your Specific Acne Condition?

Your individual results from using fish oil for acne may depend on a number of factors, such as your overall health and actual skin condition.

Studies show that fish oils have a positive effect on hormones (particularly in women). This may help lower androgen production which can reduce acne breakouts and inflammation. provides Fish Oil and Acne Reviews from people who’ve tried using fish oils for acne.  According to the data, about 50% of the people claimed it helped reduce acne, but a few people didn’t experience any benefit at all.

Please remember to consult with your Physician before making any changes to your current skin care regimen, including the use of dietary or nutritional supplements.


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Author Details
Author Details
Kevin is a full-time blogger with a passion for functional, whole food nutrition. A former Registered Respiratory Therapist with over 25 years experience in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, he also has additional training as a Certified Natural Products Advisor. He enjoys a vibrant lifestyle that includes healthy foods, workouts focusing on core strength with flexibility and longboarding to stay fit and agile.