Can Omega-3 Help Your Acne? Learn the Facts

If you are looking for a way to get rid of your acne, can omega-3 help?

Many people believe that it can, but, as always, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no.

Therefore, in this article, I will go over the facts about whether or not omega-3 can help with acne and discuss what’s known about how omega-3 can affect the skin and the ways in which they might be able to improve acne and inflammation.

TLDR Answer: Omega-3 supplements like those found in cod liver oil can be helpful for some people with acne, but it is important to consider what else you may need. If your condition needs more than just omega-3s to clear, then a good skincare routine and antibiotics might also help get rid of acne faster.

can omega 3 help with acne

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What is Omega-3, and What Does it Do For the Body?

Omega-3s are a family of essential fatty acids that play important roles in your body and may provide a number of health benefits.

As your body cannot produce them on its own, you must get them from your diet. Omega-3s can be found in fish oil, flaxseed, walnuts, and other foods.

There are three different types of Omega-3 fatty acids:

Since Omega-3s can fight inflammation in the body, this gives valid reasoning that they can help fight acne because this is also an inflammatory condition resulting from our immune system reacting to bacteria overgrowth.

Besides that, many people love taking omega-3 because it is a very beneficial supplement that should not cause any serious side effects when taken in normal doses.

How Can You Get More Omega-3 in Your Diet?

There are many different types of omega-3 supplements to choose from and many different food sources that can help you get more omega-3 in your diet.

Some natural sources of omega-3s include fatty fish such as salmon, cod, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and albacore tuna.

Vegetarian options include walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, edamame, kidney beans, seaweed, and algae.

On the other hand, when taking omega-3 supplements, it’s important to make sure your supplement contains enough eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) as these are the most useful types of omega-3 fats, naturally found in fish and algae.

On the other hand, seeds and nuts contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a small part of which can be converted into EPA and DHA in your body.

Many mainstream health organizations recommend that you aim for a minimum of 250–500 mg of omega-3s per day if you are an adult.

Can Omega-3 Help With Acne Outbreaks?

Omega-3s can help decrease the inflammation that’s causing acne, but it’s important to note that it can also interact with other medications.

For example, it’s fine to use omega-3 with some antibiotics specifically prescribed to you for acne, but it might affect the efficacy of others.

This is why it’s always best to be aware of the drug interactions that can occur when taking omega-3 supplements and make sure to ask your doctor whether taking them alongside your medication is a good idea.

You should also always do your research before beginning any supplement regimen so that you can have the most information possible about how these work and whether they can interact with other medications you might be taking.

Most people can take omega-3 supplements without experiencing any serious side effects, but it’s always best to be on the safe side by talking to your health provider.

How Does Omega-3 Help With Acne?

Taking omega-3 for your skin can benefit acne in three ways.

First, it can regulate hormones such as testosterone and dihydrotestosterone, which are a group of male hormones that trigger the overproduction of skin oil.

Second, the essential fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) is converted in the body to powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial substances, soothing the inflammatory response of your immune system.

And third, omega-3s can stop the liver from overproducing a hormone called ‘insulin-like growth factor 1’ (IGF-1), which can, in turn, soothe even those deep, hormonal acne.

Lastly, taking omega-3s for hormonal acne helps the body produce a family of hormones known as prostaglandins, which can regulate the amount of testosterone your body produces.

In a 2013 study, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome who were given an omega-3 supplement for eight weeks were found to have significantly lower testosterone levels in their bloodstreams than at the start of the trial.  

What Can Happen if You Take Too Much Omega-3?

If you are taking more than 3000 mg of fish oil or other types of omega-3, this could potentially cause some standard side effects most supplements to cause when overused, including nausea, diarrhea, and belching.

If the supplement is taken in high doses for an extended amount of time, serious liver problems can occur, including liver toxicity.

What Can I do if Omega-3 Don’t Work For Me?

If you find that the omega-3 supplement does not help with your acne at all, there are a few things you can try.

First, you can stop taking the supplements and speak to your health provider, a dermatologist, or an esthetician, and ask them to create a skincare routine tailored to your particular skin needs and concerns.

Second, you can ask for antibiotics that will help decrease acne alongside a good skincare routine.

Third, you can get in touch with a nutritionist and ask them for a food intolerance test, as this will help you determine whether there’s something else in your diet that’s causing inflammation in your body.

Are There any Downsides to Taking an Omega-3 Supplement or Eating More Fish Rich in Omega-3s?

The only severe downside could be a potential fish allergy or intolerance, in which case you can’t eat fish, and you definitely have to consult with a doctor on how to proceed with this health concern.

Another downside can be that fish can contain mercury and other heavy metals, which can build up in your body over time, although this is rare.

However, there are ways to lower these risks like choosing fish such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon or sardines instead of king mackerel, tilefish, and swordfish, if this is something you are really concerned about.

It’s also important to pay attention to the levels of mercury in a variety of fish and shellfish so you can make informed decisions about what types of seafood it’s safe for you to eat.


Although omega-3 supplements can work for some people with acne, they might not be the best choice for everyone. It’s always best to consult a doctor before beginning any supplement regimen, including OTC or prescription medications.

Also, consider that acne can be a severe inflammatory condition that can take a long time to clear up, and you might need other things to help with this process, including a good skincare regimen and a course of antibiotics or other medication.

With omega-3s, it can take several months before you see results, but if the problem is quite severe, consider that nothing will work overnight and it’s best to be patient with these things.

You may also want to try zinc supplements (particularly zinc picolinate) or something else that can boost your immune system and help keep acne under control.

OILY SKIN PRONE TO CONSTANT ACNE-BREAKOUTS?

simone sydel licensed esthetician

I've coached hundreds of clients just like you helping them tame their oily and acne-prone skin.


I've had my battle with acne. I know what it's like when your skin seems to be conspiring against you


The good news is, I can now show how to manage it!


My new book will help you understand your skin better so you can make informed decisions about what products would work best for your specific needs.

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