Fish oil is a good treatment—taken as a nutritional supplement—for pimples. It will not help with blackheads and whiteheads. Here is why.
Red Blemishes Are Inflamed Blemishes
Acne blemishes are generally white, black, or red, causing whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples (zits). The white and black blemishes we call whiteheads and blackheads are known in the literature of dermatology as "non-inflammatory comedones." A comedone is a plug of oil that blocks a skin pore. The red blemishes we call pimples are "inflammatory comedones," the redness a sign that the immune system has released inflammatory chemicals to attack the bacteria trapped inside the pore. Redness can also be caused by the release of hydrogen peroxide by the acne, eating away at the lining of the pore.
How Fish Oil Helps Blemishes
Fish oil contains two essential fatty acids, DHA (decosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), that limit the amount of inflammation the hormones released by the immune system cause in the face. Taking 1 to 5 capsules of fish oil every day reduces excess inflammation all over the body, including the skin. Fish oilwill not open a pore, and will not kill an infection. It simply shifts the production of hormones so that fewer inflammatory compounds are released in the skin and redness, itchiness, and irritation are reduced.
Omega-3 For Acne
The best-quality fish oil capsules contain at least 600 mg of DHA + EPA and do not include the term "esters" on the label. Keep fish oil capsules in the refrigerator to maximum freshness and to preserve antioxidants and vitamins included with the product.
What If I Am Allergic to Fish?
Better quality fish oils do not contain "marine liquids" that carry the proteins that cause fish allergies. To be on the safe side, however, you might get your essential fatty acids from a non-fish source, such as flaxseed oil, perilla oil, or evening primrose oil. You will need more plant oil to get the same effect, up to three times as much if you are female and five times as much if you are male. Healthy plant oils, however, also help clear up the skin.