Vitamins and Minerals

Omega-3 For Skin Anti-Aging

Science Center

What science says about Omega-3 For Skin Anti-Aging

Scientists and medical experts have different opinions on the benefits of omega fatty acids for skin health.

Some experts believe that omega-3 can help improve skin health because it improves the function of the skin barrier and increases membrane fluidity, thus allowing the skin to retain moisture.

It also neutralizes free radicals in the skin, preventing DNA damage from increased sun exposure or poor dietary habits, which stops the formation of wrinkles. Omega-3 and omega-6 also help reduce inflammation in the skin which soothes it and increases the skin’s wound-healing capabilities.

However, other experts believe that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may not help soothe the skin. Some healthcare professionals believe that omega-6 fatty acids may not be beneficial for the skin because they are proinflammatory in high doses.

Plus, they argue that the scientific evidence around omega fatty acids and their effect on skin health is contradictory. There are also very few clinical trials conducted on omega fats and how they affect the skin.

Therefore, experts call for more research to investigate the effect of omega-3 on overall skin health.

Opinion in favor of taking omega fats for skin health and anti-aging:

Supporters of omega fat consumption for skin health maintain that omega-3 helps improve skin quality and because two of its main fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play an important role in regulating the skin’s membrane permeability and barrier functions. This allows the skin to absorb and retain moisture more effectively.

Experts also believe that EPA and DHA neutralize free radical accumulation in the skin and prevent inflammation, keeping the skin healthy and slowing the process of aging.

Dr. Anthony Youn, America’s Holistic Plastic Surgeon and anti-aging expert, explains that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the skin because they have anti-inflammatory properties that will “soothe and moisturize your skin.”
They also argue that the omega-6 fatty acid gamma linoleic acid (GLA) like EPA and DHA helps soothe the skin because it prevents inflammation and promotes wound healing.

Stuart Tomc, a certified natural health professional with over 25 years of experience in Nutritional Medicine, explains that both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are “critical for nurturing, protecting, and strengthening the skin.”

Several studies have found that EPA and DHA do improve various skin functions. For example, the review, “Healing fats of the skin: the structural and immunologic roles of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids,” indicated that omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids help the skin in a variety of different ways. They increase skin permeability, prevent inflammation, and stimulate wound healing to protect the skin.

Therefore, omega fatty acids do have potential therapeutic and cosmetic benefits for overall skin health.

Skeptical views about taking omega fats for skin health and anti-aging:

Most medical experts agree that people need omega fatty acids in small amounts for overall health. However, opponents of omega fat consumption for skin health believe the evidence surrounding omega fats and their effects on the skin is contradictory.

According to them, there might be other ingredients in the omega-3 supplements that improve skin quality other than the omega-3 components. For example, they suggest that the fish oil, vitamins or minerals in the supplements can be the ones affecting the skin’s vitality rather than the omega-3.

One review, "Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil's Fatty Acids on the Skin,” found that “despite the evidence indicating the successful application of fish oil and omega-3 PUFAs on skin disorders, there have been conflicting reports from meta-analysis and systematic review regarding the clinical benefit of using fish oil over the control or other lipids."

The authors of the review also point out that clinical trials on omega fatty acids and their effects on skin health and skin disorders are rare because they are costly.

Scientists also need to consider a variety of different factors, including the type of omega supplement and the amount of DHA, EPA, GLA in each one. This makes trials more difficult to conduct and regulate to produce accurate results.

Other experts argue that omega-6 fatty acids might not be beneficial for the skin because GLA is considered proinflammatory in high doses, so it might not prevent inflammation.

Furthermore, researchers still do not understand until now how omega fats work to improve skin vitality. 
Thus, they need more research on omega fats and their involvement in skin health before they can recommend them to treat dull or damaged skin.

Published: December 2020

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