We expect to grow out of teenage spots, but more of us than ever are developing acne later in life. Why is adult acne on the rise, and could omega-3 help get rid of it?
Are you still dealing with teenage spots as an adult? If so, you’re not alone. Doctors say adult acne has reached epidemic proportions, but there could be natural remedy to help fight spotty skin – omega-3.
What causes acne?
Acne is often linked to hormonal imbalances, which cause too much sebum (the ‘oil’ on our skin) to be produced. Sebum comes from sebaceous glands that are attached to tiny hair follicles. When these glands become blocked by sebum, the follicles are colonised by bacteria that infect the blocked follicle.
The immune system’s inflammatory response then produces the redness and swelling we typically associate with acne. But new research suggests that inflammation may play an even more pivotal role than previously thought, possibly even preceding the onset of symptoms.
Stress, trans-fats and sugar – the hallmarks of modern life – are all thought to trigger inflammation, which may help to explain the recent rise in those with adult acne.
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An omega balancing act
According to experts, we should aim to consume roughly equal amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, found in vegetable oils, meat and dairy, and omega-3 – especially the kind found in oily fish. But our typical Western diet contains up to 25 times as much inflammation-inducing omega-6 as it does anti-inflammatory omega-3.
Acne is far less common in societies that eat more omega-3 than omega-6. Research also shows that acne sufferers tend to eat less fatty fish. So, could upping your omega-3 intake work as a form of acne treatment?
The jury’s still out, but studies suggest EPA supplements, a type of omega-3, are of definite benefit for some acne sufferers, with clinical anecdotal evidence indicating reductions of 50-60% within three to four months.
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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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