Omega-3 and Skin Health

If you're experiencing dry, scaly skin, you might just need to add a few more servings of fish into your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids -- and particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) -- are essential for healthy skin and hair. EPA helps regulate oil production in your skin. Having plenty of this essential fatty acid in your body keeps your skin hydrated and prevents it from drying and flaking.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help protect your skin from damage. When your body is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, harmful substances called free radicals are generated, which can damage cells and lead to cancer and premature aging. Omega-3 fatty acids act as an antioxidant that protects your body against these substances.

The fatty acids not only protect against sun damage, they actually help repair it. When you're exposed to the sun's harmful UV rays, EPA can help prevent the release of enzymes that destroy collagen, warding off sagging skin and wrinkles [source: Health Magazine]. Some research has suggested that omega-3 fatty acids might also help prevent certain types of skin cancer, but this hasn't been proven [source: Baumann --please link to LMI]

Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, omega-3s can also help relieve skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.

Omega-3s are even good for the skin on top of your head. Without enough of these nutrients, your scalp can start to get dry and flaky, and your hair can lose its luster. [source: WebMD]

While you're using omega-3 fatty acids to keep your own hair and skin looking lustrous, you can also use it on your dog or cat. Omega-3s are often given to pets to improve the health of their skin and coat.

For more health information, take a look at the links on the next page.