The role of Omega 3s for the health of many of our favourite organs has become more apparent with every study. The single largest organ in our body, as every medical student is quick to recite, is…the skin. So it only makes sense that Omega 3s must benefit the skin as well, and it does. While it is always safe in saying that more studies are needed, here are some ways that Omegas play a role in our skin health.
1. The anti inflammatory action of Omegas means less skin inflammation in conditions as diverse as: acne, dermatitis, eczema, UV sun damage (photoaging) and skin damage of aging.
2. As a moisturizer and humectant (keeps moisture in the skin). Because Omega 3s strengthen the integrity of cell membranes, the cells can retain more water and the skin becomes more hydrated and fresh. Omega-3s appear to improve skin barrier function, sealing in moisture and keeping out irritants.
3. Omega-3s may increase your skin’s resistance to sunburns, reduce the severity of skin redness after UV exposure, and alleviate the symptoms of certain photosensitivity disorders.
4. Prevents and reduces the damage caused by acne. In addition, Omegas appear to potentiate the effects of other anti-acne medications like isotretinoin.
5. Decrease hyper pigmentation. Omegas are reported to reveal skin-whitening capability by reducing melanin (The protein that darkens skin and causes moles and freckles) content by almost half.
6. Cancer. In addition to mitigating UV damage (which can cause skin cancer) Omegas are found to inhibit both the initiation and promotion phases of cutaneous carcinogenesis.
7. Some studies indicate that Omegas tend to enhance hair growth and prevent hair loss. A 2018 study found that omega-3s stimulated hair growth in rodents. In addition, after 14 days, the hair fibres of the treated follicles were longer and thicker than those of the untreated follicles.
While more studies are always needed, in summary Omega 3s can improve skin barrier function, inhibit UV-induced inflammation and hyperpigmentation, attenuate dry skin and itchiness elicited by dermatitis, accelerate skin wound healing, mitigate skin aging and prevent skin cancer development. If you want to extend the skin to include hair (as bald guys often do) you can add the benefits of Omega 3s to help prevent hair loss…in rodents.