Why Essential Fatty Acids are among the Most Important Nutrients for Acne and Rosacea

Although acne and rosacea are two very different conditions, they share one very important similarity - inflammation. We are familiar with inflammation that occurs when we sprain our ankle (swelling and redness), but inflammation can also signal blood vessels to dilate causing redness as in rosacea; and excess sebum production causing redness and acne. 

Fortunately there are several natural things we can do to lower inflammation. At the top of the list is to consume omega 3 fats (ALA from flax, EPA and DHA from fish) and the lesser know GLA (evening primrose oil). These are termed ‘essential fatty acids’ because our bodies can’t make them and therefore we must get them through our diet. 

Essential fatty acids reduce inflammation by altering our prostaglandin production which makes skin look healthier and more radiant. In contrast, certain fats promote prostaglandin production in the wrong direction, which causes skin breakouts, flareups, and an overall dull complexion. These include trans fat, saturated fats from animals, and highly refined vegetable oils found in many processed and fried foods. 

What does the research say about consuming essential fatty acids for acne? 

In 2014, a study that included 45 participants demonstrated that the consumption of 2 grams of EPA + DHA or 400 mg of GLA significantly reduced acne lesion count over a 10 week period (see graph below).

In another study, researchers examined the effects of EPA from fish oil along with antioxidants and minerals on acne severity. The researchers found that total acne count was decreased by 35% and inflammatory acne lesions were reduced by 67% (see graph below).

What’s really fascinating is that mental and emotional health improved on average by 24% in the participants. This is supported by several studies showing improved mental health in people taking fish oil.   

There are currently no studies on rosacea and essential fatty acids, but it is Dr. Plaskos’s clinical experience that consuming high quality essential fatty acids significantly reduces the redness in rosacea suffers.

If you are currently suffering from acne or rosacea, make an appointment with Dr. Plaskos at Contours MD to discuss your treatment options and start on Aegis Luma Glow - formulated with therapeutic amounts of a broad spectrum of essential fatty acids along with vitamin D and astaxanthin (a strong anti-inflammatory nutrient).