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Open Access Highly Accessed Short report

Effects of fish oil supplementation on inflammatory acne

Golandam Khayef, Julia Young, Bonny Burns-Whitmore* and Thomas Spalding*

Author Affiliations

Department of Human Nutrition and Food Science, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, California, USA

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2012, 11:165  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-165

Published: 3 December 2012

Abstract

Background

Given that acne is a rare condition in societies with higher consumption of omega-3 (n-3) relative to omega-6 (n-6) fatty acids, supplementation with n-3 may suppress inflammatory cytokine production and thereby reduce acne severity.

Methods

13 individuals with inflammatory acne were given three grams of fish oil containing 930 mg of EPA to their unchanged diet and existing acne remedies for 12 weeks. Acne was assessed using an overall severity grading scale, total inflammatory lesion counts, and colorimetry.

Findings

There was no significant change in acne grading and inflammatory counts at week 12 compared to baseline. However, there was a broad range of response to the intervention on an individual basis. The results showed that acne severity improved in 8 individuals, worsened in 4, and remained unchanged in 1. Interestingly, among the individuals who showed improvement, 7 were classified as having moderate to severe acne at baseline, while 3 of the 4 whose acne deteriorated were classified as having mild acne.

Conclusion

There is some evidence that fish oil supplementation is associated with an improvement in overall acne severity, especially for individuals with moderate to severe acne. Divergent responses to fish oil in our pilot study indicates that dietary and supplemental lipids are worthy of further investigation in acne.

Keywords:
Acne Vulgaris; Fish Oil; Inflammation; n-3 Fatty Acid; Omega 3 Fatty Acid; EPA