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Acne and Fish Oil

I am a naturopathic physician with nearly 20 years of experience developing breakthrough nutritional products.I also have extensive television and radio experience and have lectured widely to health professionals, the military and the public on all aspects of natural health.

Dr Myers, an expert who holds a doctorate in naturopathic medicine

Stephen Fry in my surgery during the making of the BBC TV program

Me with Lord Bragg, accepting my "Champion of the Year" award

After graduating, I was recognised as being the 'best young neurosurgeon in Britain'

Breakouts and acne are the dread of anyone – both young and old. While most believe that acne is a teenaged trouble, this is certainly not the case. Whether influenced by hormonal changes or pregnancy, stress or simply poor skin care, acne is able to appear at any time of a person’s life. In order to get rid of this annoying skin eruption, taking matters into one’s own hands is crucial.

What is Acne?

Acne is referred to by many names – pimples, blackheads, white heads, zits, and spots. These red or simply raised imperfections on the skin can look unattractive to others, causing as much mental anguish as physical anguish when there is pain involved. The raised acne is caused by an inflammation of the skin due to blocked glands in the skin. This is typically caused by an overproduction of oils in the skin, often related to hormonal changes – hence why acne is seen so frequently in teenagers. However, acne can also be caused by a build up of dirt on the skin that then becomes trapped in the glands, causing inflammation.

Some acne is caused by a build up of bacteria in the skin glands as well as within the body. These types of acne are easier to treat, but can be difficult to diagnose as it’s not a common situation.

Much of the development of acne is related to hereditary factors, but can also be caused by these outside influences.

How is it Normally Treated?

Treating acne is best left to methods of prevention. Cleansing the face with a gentle cleanser and warm water twice a day is a good way to start. The skin can then have a sweep of astringent over the surface, followed by moisturiser to rebalance the skin’s oils. By keeping the skin free of excess oils and dirt, many cases of acne can be prevented or at the least, lessened in terms of severity.

In addition, breakouts that have already occurred can be spot treated with a number of creams and gets. Chemicals like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are common. These ingredients work by drying the oil glands in the skin to prevent the build up of oil and thus of acne itself. Treatments like this can be found in drug stores and pharmacies, but more advanced cases of acne will need a prescription from a dermatologist for stronger medications like Retin-A. If the skin is breaking out because of a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotic ointments as well as oral antibiotics.

In severe cases where scarring becomes an issue, plastic surgery options may be explored to reduce the appearance of the acne.

What Does Fish Oil Offer?

Though it’s a common myth that eating certain foods will make your face break out, there is some truth to the idea that adding certain things to your diet will help to create clearer and smoother skin. Fish oil is one of these things. With fish oil supplements, the skin cells will be able to work more efficiently, allowing acne to have a lessened chance of becoming visible to others.

Because fish oils are made of Omega 6 fatty acids, they will be broken down in the body into smaller pieces, eventually creating prostaglandins that help to regular the amount of oil the skin produces.

Unlike some acne treatments, fish oil does not come with potential for side effects like drying and redness as the supplements are taken orally. No one will be able to tell when a patient is taking the fish oil supplements – at least, not until the results become visible.

What Do the Studies Say?

Studies done with fish oils have shown conclusively that fish oil affects the rate at which tissues in the body can become inflamed. That said, the skin will become less likely to become irritated by the inflammation of the glands due to oils and dirt.

There also seem to be healing properties that are inherent in fish oil, according to recent research. The link between the healing of deep acne scars and taking fish oil supplements is becoming clearer, helping those with a past history of difficult acne.

How to Add Fish Oil to Everyday Life

Adding fish oil to your diet is a simple process, though it needs to be done in small amounts when you are getting your sources from fishes. Because some fish, especially fatty fishes, can have higher levels of mercury in them, you do not want to overindulge in these sources of essential fatty acids. Taking fish oils supplements is one way to make sure that you are getting enough without the possibility of toxicity.

Essential fatty acids can also be found in flaxseed and nuts, but fish oil seems to be the best choice for acne.

Conclusion

Acne treatments that include a wide variety of methods in addition to fish oil seem to be the most effective. By balancing the body from the inside out clearer skin results.

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