1. Hydrate dry spots with omega-3s
Is this your new after shower oil? “Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely moisturizing. You can improve the skin’s barrier function to prevent water loss, ”explains Debra Jaliman, MD, a certified dermatologist in New York City and author of Skin Rules. “When you apply fish oil topically, it’s best to use it in dry areas,” she says. Dab on small rough spots near the eyes or around the edges of the face, advises Dr. Jaliman. Or try the really dry spots on other parts of your body, like your elbows and knees.
One warning (an anti-hack, if you will): If you’re acne prone, fish oil can cause breakouts when applied topically, so it’s best to avoid it, says Jaliman. For the same reason, skip using it in your T-zone entirely.
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2. Soothe red or sunburned skin with a small amount
The anti-inflammatory properties of fish oil can also help suppress redness associated with inflammatory skin problems like eczema, sunburn, or generally sensitive skin, says Purvisha Patel, MD, certified dermatologist and founder of Visha Skincare in Germantown, Tennessee. “The oils help repair the epidermal cell barrier, increase skin firmness and reduce DNA damage in the skin,” she says. To soothe angry skin, she recommends applying a small amount to damp skin. (Don’t apply oil and then go out in the sun.) But using a skin product that has omega-3 fatty acids as an ingredient may be a better option, says Dr. Patel, as it is specially formulated to be well absorbed by the skin. contains supportive ingredients to increase effectiveness and smell more pleasant.
3. Fish oil can speed up skin healing
Consider putting a little fish oil on a small cut or scratch – there’s limited evidence that topical application of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-3 supplements promotes wound healing, says Jaliman. In fact, a small, previous randomized controlled trial suggested that fish oil holds great promise for this purpose.
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4. Use fish oil for extra UV protection
EPA in fish oil in particular can strengthen the body’s defenses against UV rays – similar to sunscreens from the inside, in part due to its anti-inflammatory properties, as earlier research suggests. Still, it’s no substitute for applying a good SPF 30 to exposed skin in the morning – but a diet high in fish oil can add another protective layer.