Acne is surely an unpleasant and a painful experience. Other than making us look unkempt, the condition makes it even harder on us as numerous cosmetic products gobble up our money. In the following paragraph, you’ll be introduced to acne as well as the most common treatment used for them – fish oil – and how it really affects our skin
What is acne?
Acne represents a skin condition that is characterized by red pimples on the skin, especially on the face due to infected or inflamed sebaceous glands and prevalent chiefly among adolescents. People between 12 and 25 are prone to get them, especially boys. The gravity of the condition scales from mild to severe which affects 3 out of 10 people with the skin problem. Untreated, acne usually last up to five years but there are some instances of them lasting even longer.
Fish oil’s role in a diet has been studied since the 19th century when it was discovered that Greenland’s Inuits are at a lower risk of getting a heart attack because of a major role of fish in their meals. Fish oil contains a very important ingredient- omega 3 which is believed to have multiple health benefits: they lower the risk of coronary heart disease, improve cholesterol, depression, cancer and deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). On the other hand, fish oil overdose can result in blood sugar control problems, bad cholesterol and heart-rate problems to persons who have suffered a stroke.
How omega-3 causes acne and the consequences of imbalance between omega-3s and omega-6s
PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats) such as DHA, EPA, and ALA from fish oil are inherent in our body’s functioning. Nevertheless, they are very fragile and get easily oxidized in contact with free radicals, creating malondialdehyde (MDA), which can directly damage DNA and proteins throughout the body this oxidative stress is one of the key elements in an acne breakout.
Taking omega-3s in bigger amounts has some additional side-effects. Minor side effects include fish-like smelling breath, stomach indigestion, loose stools, and nausea. They also act as blood-thinners causing easy bleeding which means that people with scheduled surgeries or who are already taking blood-thinning medications should consult their doctor.
A balanced ratio between omega-3s and omega-6s is encouraged for this problem’s solution. Namely, omega-6s are responsible for the instigation of our immune system (which in many cases causes inflammation) while omega-3s are taking care of its reduction. The asymmetry between the two makes our immune system go berserk. For example, if the omega-6 acids are dominant, our immune system will react to the most minute shortcomings (such as clogged pores) very violently and omega-3s won’t be great enough in number to take care of it. Consequently, we’ll have a lasting inflammation going on, which is exactly what acne are. The focus should be on cutting down on the consumption of omega 6 products (sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut/groundnut oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil etc.) and slightly increase your omega-3 intake using fermented cod liver oil.
Some myths about what causes acne
- Acne is caused by dirty skin – Although dirt on the skin can promote further irritations of acne, it is certainly not its primary cause. The reason for this is, as we said, the overproduction of oil by the glands in our skin and trapped dead cells in our pores. As a matter of fact, rubbing your face too much and constantly using chemicals to clean it is more likely to ignite the condition.
- Junk-foods cause acne
- Make-up causes acne
This is just another misconception about acne. If you use high-tech make-up with oils that don’t clog the pores (noncomedogenic) and take it off regularly it won’t do any harm to your face.
How does fish oil help acne?
Studies of the relationship between acne and fish-oil are not so big in number. Nevertheless, in the ones that have been carried out, it turned out that patients who were given 930 mg of the omega-3 fatty acids daily for twelve weeks have shown an improvement in acne removal. Moreover, omega-3s are potent stress reducers, so it is not surprising that they aid acne decrease as stress is a major player in their outbreak. However, the progress was only visible in patients with moderate and severe acne conditions which is why many experiments have yet to be done.
In a nutshell, usage of omega-3s has its advantages and disadvantages they certainly do good to our bodies but exaggeration can lead to some immune system issues. So, what else can we do to put our acne into order?
Other ways to prevent and treat acne
Acne prevention usually incorporates sticking to your doctor’s advice and taking medications such as contraceptive pills and some light treatments. However, there are many things you can do on your own to disable acne from breaking out.
- Wash your face twice a day and pay attention to the areas that are most likely to be affected in order to get rid of excess oil. Use oil free and water based products and don’t wash your face too many times since it can cause irritation.
- Use an over-the-counter acne cream or gel to help dry excess oil. Look for products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as the active ingredient.
- Use non-oily make-up and remove it before going to bed. You mustn’t forget to clean your brushes regularly and throw away old make-up.
- Shower after exercising
- Avoid touching problematic areas