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I literally joined this forum just to post this review about fish oil. I have struggled with acne my entire life, and tried just about every product on the planet short of accutane, and this has had the best affect on my adult acne.
When I was younger, I was put on oral antibiotics twice. It worked well, but it just creeped me out to take them. So after I stopped taking them I figured I would just wait out acne until I was an adult. Well, flash forward to my early 30's and my acne became the worst it has ever been. So when my acne really started to get bad about a year ago, I took stock of my life. What was I doing wrong I wondered? I thought I was doing everything right. I exercised, ate well (or so I thought) washed my face twice per day, and I tried every product under the sun, including the acne.org routine. Well, about 6 months into using different routines my acne did not go away and I noticed my skin had become MUCH more oily. I thought oil was o.k. because it was keeping my skin healthy so what's the big deal? Well that's true up until a point. I far reached past that point.
I then started taking vitamin supplements in addition to the topical stuff. If my skin is acting up, maybe I'm just deficient in something. I read up on vitamins that help acne and concluded that I should be taking a, b, c and d vitamins in addition to zinc. I even started tracking my daily progress and literally counting the number of pimples on my face (some were cystic). Vitamins had a marginal effect. So I thought, maybe it's diet. This is where the story takes a turn. Only one thing really make a difference to this adult acne: laying off gluten and dairy. Well I'm not an obviously lactose intolerant person and I'm only as gluten intolerant as the next guy, so I figured I must have a mild allergy that is causing acne. Each time I would be strict and lay off of these foods my acne would get better but not go away. I figured that would be as good as it gets, that I have super sensitive skin that over creates oil from harsh routines, and that's life.
Well at one point, even when laying off gluten and dairy, I had a really bad outbreak of acne. And I got fed up. So I went back to the research boards. What is causing this oil on my face? It can't be the BP products, because I stopped using them months ago. It can't be lack of moisturizer because I tried being disciplined about that too. I completely laid off comedgenic products and detergents. My skin was still oily. So my research took me to articles about treating Asian skin, because I'm Japanese. And something in an article jumped out at me. Essentially the person who wrote the article said "How to I get that flawless Japanese skin?" This got me thinking... my skin is SUPPOSED to be good. What am I doing different here? T Here must be something HUGELY missing out of my life that is causing this reaction. It can't be a slight gluten intolerance. It can't be a minor vitamin deficiency. It must be hormonal because several articles pointed to a correlation between hormonal imbalance and sebum production.
So I kept reading and stumbled upon this article. [link removed]
Essentially, the study in the article showed the an imbalance of omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acids caused a spike in hormones and triggered an overproduction of sebum. Omega 3 fatty acids are in things like fish, which I do not eat a lot of. I eat a lot of salads, lean meats, complex carbs, but not fish. Omega 6 is in just about everything else that contains vegetable oil including breads, meats, cheeses, dressings, etc.... staples of the American diet. So whereas we're supposed to be getting a 3:1 or 2:1 ratio of these fatty acids, most Americans get 30 or 40:1 ratio. Could this be my cause, I wondered? After all, Japanese people with their famous skin are known to eat large large quantities of fish.
Well for me it has WORKED. The cystic acne on my face healed twice as fast as normal when I started taking it and I am now several weeks ACNE FREE! I do brazilian jiu jitsu so my skin is constantly exposed to dirt and bacteria so if it is staying acne free, I figure it must have been hormonal all along because I haven't stopped BJJ. My skin scars started disappearing overnight, and I have never been happier. Try this if you think your diet is imbalanced. It could save you lots of money on cleaning products.
Oh and by the way here is a list of dietary experiments and topical solutions I have tried:
Yeast cleanse (mild success)
No dairy and no gluten (mild success)
ACV drink ( I still do this but it didn't completely eliminate anything)
ACV toner (mild success)
Retinol (mild success)
Different levels of BP gels and creams (mild success)
OCM (mild success)
Vitamin supplementing (mild success)
I took fish oil pills for about a year. It worked at first for my eczema rash on my face and acne. I just took it on a daily basis, and it just seemed like I never took it. I stopped taking it 2 days ago and my acne cleared up so fast I couldn't believe it. I really don't know about fish oil or how I feel about it now. I guess try something else.
Most everybody should take fish oil because it is good for you. That being said, I've been taking it for a few years and I have never noticed any improvement in my skin. Supplements that have noticeably helped clear my skin: cinnamon, and NAC.
I have been a fan of fish oil for a while for its anti-coagulation properties. Recently, I started looking at fish oil as an adjunct therapy for acne. There is actually a lot of research on fish oil and omega 3 use and it's effects on acne, I would like to share a study I ran across with you all:
Summary of the study: The purpose of the study was to look at efficacy, safety, and changes in tissue from dietary omega-3 fatty acid and gamma-linoleic acid supplementation in acne vulgaris. They enrolled 45 participants with acne and supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids (2000mg EPA/DHA), gamma-linoleic acid (400mg), or were placed in a control group. After 10 weeks, in both the omega-3 and gamma-linoleic acid groups, improvement was seen in both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions. Acne staining also improved. No adverse effects were reported.
My interpretation: Given the above evidence, I will be giving fish oil (which is comprised of EPA and DHA) a try since it is a relatively inexpensive supplement. The brand I have selected is USP certified to have no contaminants and contain the amount of active ingredient advertised. I am very excited to try using fish oil in conjunction to the antibiotic and topical medications I am on. If nothing else, the fish oil should reduce the tenderness and redness caused by inflammation because the EPA and DHA are anti-inflammatory.
Jung JY, Kwon HH, Hong JS, et al. Effect of dietary supplementation with Omega-3 fatty acid and gamma-linolenic acid on acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial. Acta Derm Venereol. 2014 Feb 18. doi: 10.2340/00015555-1802
Like a lot of others I experienced hormonal acne around my chin after taking fish oil. At first I tried a generic brand, then an organic, but had the same reaction both times. After that I was afraid to try cod liver oil. My chin is consistently fairly clear which is how I knew the cysts were caused by the fish oil.
(I started taking chia seeds, then I found Ovega-3 vegetarian dha/epa supplement. I strongly urge everyone to try it who's had bad luck with fish oil causing breakouts. It's algae-based, which is what fish eat in order to obtain their omega-3 fats.)
I am a 28 yo female who has only experienced one episode of acne before in my life. Two years ago I was put on oral steroids for an adrenal issue which caused moderately severe acne while taking it for a year. I weaned off of that and at the same time started using epiduo prescribed by a derm. My face cleared up beautifully and was clear for a year until two months ago something happened. I started taking cod liver oil capsules (one daily) and developed some cysts on my chin. No biggie, strange, but I figured they would go away. As my skin progressively got worse I went to a naturopath to get some help. she gave me a stronger dose of liquid cod liver oil and I began taking that 6 weeks ago. I have NEVER had such bad acne in my entire life. Period. It is awful, 6 to ten new red inflamed pustules every other day. After reading all of these reviews I can only assume that this is the culprit, i stopped taking the oil three days ago and am praying that this goes away soon. I know this is long and too detailed, sorry, it's my first ever post on here.
In 2010 I had a massive breakout on my forehead and cheeks. So, off to the doctors I went who gave me Zineryt solution and Tetracycline (I think). The solution worked but the tablets I don't think had an effect. I finished my course with the tabs and instead I came off them not wanting to depend on acne tablets all my life and started taking fish oil tablets (after stalking this site and mostly positive reviews about it). At first I took 500mg and then slowly went higher to ~1000mg and took them religiously in the morning. It took around 4 months but after that I had the clearest skin I have ever had. So they definitely helped me clear my skin and stay clear for around 1.5-2years. I took them on and off I think. Can't remember exactly.
HOWEVER, in 2012 I lowered my fish oil tab dose and decided to take a skin hair and nail tablets which was the worst decision I have ever made as after 4-5 months I had a MASSIVE breakout and experienced the most terrible and painful acne EVER. It cleared up after 3-4months and I had okay but spot prone skin.
Now, 2013 I am still on my fish oil tabs but I am experiencing a horrible breakout, lower jaw, cheekbones and forehead areas. It sucks but I am now sticking to my fish oil tabs I now take 789mg every morning. Hopefully after 3-5 months I hope to see a change and reduction in my never ending cycle of acne.
Sorry about the huge timeline. Just want to help someone if I can.
BOTTOM LINE: If you find something works for you then "if it ain't broke don't fix it".
This was great for the overall look of my skin, the brightness and firmness, and for my hair. However, not long after taking it I started to get very red nodular/cystic acne on my cheeks and jawline, something I'd never had before. Not sure if it was the brand I was using or the amount I was taking (probably far too much, knocking the Omega 3-6-9 balance off). Since I've stopped (about 2 weeks), I've noticed the spots have gone down or away completely.