An Underrated Supplement That Supports Skin Health (Besides Collagen)
Collagen is a great supplement for skin health, but it often steals the spotlight from other worthy ingestible ingredients. If you're already taking collagen, that's great! Please, carry on! Just know that there are options out there if you want to add even more skin-loving steps to your routine, including one often-overlooked ingredient: fatty acids.
Why omega-3 supplements are great for skin health
While omega-3s are well-known for their heart- and brain-related benefits, they're actually great for the skin, too. While the research on skin specifically is still gaining, there have been notable findings.
Firstly, omega-3 supplements have been shown to improve the severity of atopic dermatitis1, also known as eczema. Gamma linolenic acid (GLA), in particular, has also been shown to treat transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and support a hydrated and healthy skin barrier2.
A 2020 review on omega-3 fatty acids in dermatology also concluded that this supplement can be helpful for many kinds of inflammatory skin conditions, including acne3.
Interestingly, oral omega-3 fatty acids via fish oil actually helped reduce side effects from isotretinoin treatment (formerly known as Accutane), including alleviating dryness4.
See, maintaining a healthy skin barrier is of vital importance when it comes to achieving even-toned, hydrated, and generally well-functioning skin. Most people tend to the skin barrier topically, but that's only half of the equation. Keeping your skin hydrated from within via adequate water intake; nutritious, water-dense foods; and skin-moisturizing supplements (hello, omega-3s!) completes that full puzzle.
Even if hydration and inflammation control aren't your main skin care goals, this supplement is incredibly beneficial for other full-body effects. These include eye health and vision, mood, joint health, and so much more—omega-3 supplementation is far more than a beauty habit.
Now, there are a few different fatty acids to choose from, so it's worth taking some time to research which forms are best suited for your needs—skin health and beyond. Here's a curated list of some of our top choices, along with expert advice from a nutrition scientist.
Omega-3s and other fatty acids are often ignored in the realm of skin health supplements. However, fatty acids are a great addition to your diet and supplement routine to reduce inflammation and support optimally hydrated skin. Of course, eating the right foods helps, too; if you want to start adding more healthy fats to your diet, check out this list for some of the best natural sources.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including skin care, women’s health, mental health, sustainability, social media trends, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends and innovations, women’s health research, brain health news, and plenty more.