Omega-3 Fish Oil and Skin Health

via Bryce Wylde



The physiological health and appearance of our skin is highly influenced by our omega-3 status. Specifically, low levels of the omega-3 fats EPA and DHA can adversely affect skin barrier function, skin inflammation, UV-induced skin damage, and collagen production which are major contributors to premature aging of the skin. Clinical studies have demonstrated that omega-3
supplementation, especially EPA, is an effective natural solution to protect and rejuvenate the appearance of the skin as well as provide relief to conditions such as acne, atopic dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.
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Omega-3 and cosmetic appearance:

Omega-3 reduces signs of skin aging including fine lines, hydration, and signs UV-induced damage.

  • UVA and UVB rays damage the skin, promotes skin aging, including increases in laxity
    and wrinkles1.
  • EPA protects the skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV radiation2.
  • EPA increases collagen and elastin formation by up regulating the expression of matrix
    proteins such as procollagen, tropoelastin and fibrillin 13.
  • EPA reduces the breakdown of collagen and cell matrix by down regulating
    the expression of MMP’s which are involved in connective tissue damage and
    wrinkle formation 3, 4.

Omega-3 and skin conditions:

Omega-3 reduces skin inflammation and dermatological conditions.

  • Omega-3 EPA and DHA exert anti-inflammatory effects in the body 5.
  • Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids have a lower prevalence of acne 6.
  • Omega-3 EPA and DHA reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory leukotriene B4 and PGE2
    which have been linked to the pathogenesis of acne and psoriasis 7, 8.
  • Long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA have been shown to be lower in adults with
    atopic eczema 9.
  • A recent study demonstrated that supplementation with DHA alone can significantly improve atopic
    eczema and reduce major pro-inflammatory mediators 10.


  1. Rabe JH,Mamelak AJ, McElgunn PJ,Morison WL, Sauder DN. Photoaging: mechanisms and repairs.
  2. Rhodes LE, Shahbakhti H, Azurdia RM, Moison RM, Steenwinkel MJ, Homburg MI, Dean MP, eicosapentaenoic in humans. An assessment of early genotoxic markers. Carcinogenesis 34:919–925.
  3. Kim HH, Shin CM, Park CH, Kim KH, Cho KH, Eun HC, Chung JH. (2005). Eicosapentaenoic fibroblasts. J Lipid Res 46:1712–20.
  4. Shingel KI, Faure MP, Azoulay L, Roberge C, Deckelbaum RJ. Solid emulsion gel as a vehicle angiogenesis.
  5. Wall R, Ross RP, Fitzgerald GF, Stanton C (2010). Fatty acids from fish oil: the anti-inflammatory
  6. Schaffer, H.K. (1989). Essential fatty acids and eicosanoids in cutaneous inflammation. Int J Dermatol. 28:281–290.
  7. Zouboulis CC. (2000). Human skin: an independent peripheral endocrine organ. Horm Res. 54:230–42.
  8. Ziboh VA (1994) Essential fatty acids/eicosanoid biosynthesis in the skin: biological significance.
  9. Manku MS, Horrobin DF, Morse NL, Wright S, Burton JL (1984) Essential fatty acids in the plasma.
  10. Koch C, Dolle S, Metzger M, Rasche C, Jungclas H, Ruhi R, Renz H, Worm M. (2008). DHA supplementation 158(4):786–92.


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