Just in time for back to school skin scrutiny, research suggests that a daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce acne by 21 percent.
Researchers sought to test the effects of EPA/DHA as well as gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) on young adults with acne. They split 45 subjects with mild to moderate acne into three groups. The first took daily doses of omegas consisting of 1 g EPA and 1 g DHA. The second received a daily capsule of 200 mg GLA. The control group received nothing. The study included men and women with a mean age of 23.7. Their diets were guided by nutritionist over the 10 weeks of the study. Researchers evaluated the subject’s faces using the Leeds revised acne grading system, which uses digital imaging to analyze the severity of the outbreak.
Comparison of acne scores during the course of the study revealed that after 10 weeks, statistically significant improvements in acne were reported in the omega-3 group compared to the control group. Inflammatory lesions were reduced by 43 percent when compared to baseline, non-inflammatory lesions by 20 percent, and the acne severity score by 21 percent.
The research is the first controlled study to address the potential effectiveness of daily EPA/DHA for common acne in young adults. It was conducted by scientists in South Korea at the Department of Dermatology, the Department of Food Service and Nutrition, and the Acne and Rosacea Laboratory at Seoul National University College of Medicine and University Hospital, in collaboration with Oracle Dermatology Clinic. Results appeared in the journal Acta Dermato Venereologica and were noted in the Fats of Life newsletter. Other research suggests different ways omega-3s have a healthy impact on our skin. One study, funded by the Association for International Cancer Research, found that taking a regular dose of fish oils boosted skin immunity to sunlight. Specifically, it also reduced sunlight-induced suppression of the immune system, known as immunosuppression, which affects the body’s ability to fight skin cancer and infection.