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Do Omega-3s Improve Your Skin?

Bowl of Omega 3 pills on white table

With all the new and exciting skincare treatments out there, we sometimes need to remember the tried-and-true basics that keep our skin looking healthy and glowing between those treatments and visits to the office. Patients should take advantage of the full array of natural and holistic options we know so much about because they may work! We’ve discussed a cleansing and moisturizing routine and its importance for continued facial skin health. You also understand that hydration makes a big difference in the health of your skin. But can any supplements give you a hand in fighting aging? The short answer is maybe.

Enter omega-3s. These compounds, known as fatty acids, are found in deep-sea fish, krill, and other marine life. You’ve likely seen fish oil on the shelves, but you may not have seen data or research on the full benefits of this unique compound. Why? Ultimately, supplements, such as omega-3s, aren’t typically as profitable as pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals, so they don’t have as much money behind them. While their results may not be seen as quickly or dramatically, they still have a place in the care continuum.

How Omega-3s Work

Omega-3 fatty acids can profoundly affect your overall health, cardiovascular health, and the brightness and tone of your skin; think of these as moisturizers from the inside of the body. We love these fatty acids because they can give your face a brighter look that complements your facial treatments, leaving you and us happier. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce acne’s appearance and severity, a benefit that warrants further research.¹,²

The benefits don’t end there, however. Fatty acids can also be photo-protective³ – the skin becomes less sensitive to UVA and UVB radiation, which can cause the skin to age prematurely. This does not mean you shouldn’t use sunscreen – you absolutely must. However, having an ally in the form of fish oil means beautiful skin for longer.

Fish oil and omega-3s can also protect against dry skin.4

Important Things to Note About Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Despite all the benefits of omega-3s, only some people are suited to taking the supplement. You must speak to your doctor or nutritionist about the best way to start a new omega-3 program. You’ll probably start with just a little to see how it feels and ensure you don’t have any side effects or adverse reactions. From there, you can increase your dosage based on what your healthcare professional tells you.

Many people tend to burp with fish oil, and the results can be unpalatable. After all, you’ve just eaten fish. To minimize this, some supplement companies have special formulas, while others mask the taste of the fish oil with lemon or other citrus fruit flavorings.

Be sure you research the supplement company well. The FDA does not regulate supplements, and there are few barriers to entry for companies that are not on the up and up. Tried and true brands with years of research and development behind them are the ones to choose. Yes, they may be slightly more expensive, but you may also be getting a better-quality product and one that works.

Even the best brands can go rancid. After all, this is fish, and even though it’s encapsulated and airtight, it will eventually go bad. Be sure to choose a supplement known for its purity and store it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Rancid fish oil can be ineffective and can also upset your G.I. system.

Be consistent. While fish oil will likely offer a great deal of benefits, this will take time to happen. Seeing an appreciable difference in your skin may take weeks or even months. As such, we always tell our patients that unless they have a problem with the supplement, they should continue taking it without expecting immediate results.

Don’t worry about the omega-3/omega-6 balance. Many patients concern themselves about issues associated with other omega fatty acids. Some have postured that omega-6 or other fatty acid imbalances may have a detrimental effect. This is not something most of us need to worry about as long as our diets are healthy and consist of wholesome foods.

Be wary of getting your omega-3s from food. While supplements are the quickest way to deliver omega-3s into your system, many people want to take a more “natural” route by getting their omega-3s from the fish they eat. While this is an ideal route, pollution, and mercury concerns must be considered if you primarily consume fish.

Plant-based fatty acids are not the same as their seafood-based counterparts. While you may see plant-based options high in ALA or Alpha Linolenic Acid, these fatty acids are less potent than those derived from seafood sources.

Lastly, while you may see some influencers online taking very high doses of fish oil, you should understand that very little clinical data supports these massive doses. As mentioned above, it’s best to start slow and see how you react to this new supplement. From there, you can up your dose to what is discussed on the bottle or speak to your healthcare professional about the appropriate amount.

The Bottom Line

Skincare and overall health depend on various factors to create beautiful, healthy, glowing skin. We encourage you to visit with Dr. Boger and Anna, our aesthetician, to schedule a facial along with other treatments, like Microdermabrasion, microneedling, IPL, or laser skin care. We will work with you to develop a skincare regimen that works within your budget and gives you the results that you’re looking for.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Boger or Anna at Revive Skin Care Clinic in Orlando.


  1. Sawada Y, Saito-Sasaki N, Nakamura M. Omega 3 Fatty Acid and Skin Diseases. Front Immunol. 2021 Feb 5;11:623052. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2020.623052. PMID: 33613558; PMCID: PMC7892455.
  2. Tanghetti EA. The role of inflammation in the pathology of acne. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013 Sep;6(9):27-35. PMID: 24062871; PMCID: PMC3780801.
  3. Pilkington SM, Watson RE, Nicolaou A, Rhodes LE. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: photoprotective macronutrients. Exp Dermatol. 2011 Jul;20(7):537-3doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2011.01294.x. Epub 2011 May 16. PMID: 21569104.
  4. Kawamura A, Ooyama K, Kojima K, Kachi H, Abe T, Amano K, Aoyama T. Dietary supplementation of gamma-linolenic acid improves skin parameters in subjects with dry skin and mild atopic dermatitis. J Oleo Sci. 2011;60(12):597-607. doi: 10.5650/jos.60.597. PMID: 22123240.