Caring for your skin can be quite the process, with all of the different creams and products to try, but just providing your skin with the right nutrients can go a long way toward supporting its health. Your skin is vital to your overall health, as it keeps out potential pathogens and serves as a protective barrier.
Although skincare can be tricky, it turns out that adding omega-3s into your diet can be an effective and easy way to promote the holistic health of your skin. With the right routine, you can achieve the appearance of glowing, healthy skin.
What Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3s are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid. These acids are found throughout the body in cell membranes, making up important building blocks in the body. There are three main types of omega-3s:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the omega-3 precursor
- Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Of those three types, DHA and EPA are the two most important nutrients. ALA omega-3s can be found in foods like chia seeds, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and other nuts, seeds, and oils. ALA is abundant in a standard diet, meaning it is not necessary to worry about maintaining a consistent ALA intake, and ALA acts as more of a precursor to true omega-3.
The main concern for many people should be obtaining enough EPA and DHA in their diet, especially since these two nutrients have the largest impact on your overall health.
These two nutrients are much more limited in a standard diet. A common food source of DHA and EPA is fatty fish, like mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna. Unless you eat fish or fish oil regularly, it is a challenge to obtain all of the DHA and EPA that you need through your diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids have soothing properties that make them beneficial for several systems throughout the body. These fatty acids pose several health benefits, from supporting heart health to maintaining healthy joints and bones. Although not as widely discussed, omega-3s can also support the appearance of healthy skin.
How Does Omega-3 Benefit the Skin?
With the number of ways that omega-3s help support bodily functions, it may not be a surprise that they can also support healthy skin function. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it has several key functions, from fighting off pathogens to providing UV protection.
Omega-3 fatty acids might just be one of the most underrated parts of a strong skincare routine, as they can offer multiple potential benefits. These include:
1. Support for UV Protection
Regular omega-3 intake helps support your skin against harmful UV radiation. UV rays can have several negative effects on the skin, including sunburn and irritation. Sunscreen helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays, but of course, this protection only holds where sunscreen is applied.
Although sunscreen is a must for anyone spending time outdoors, your skin itself has built-in mechanisms to help it withstand UV rays.
Omega-3 fatty acids in your skin help support the skin’s natural photoprotection capabilities. Not only do they help support natural photoprotection, but omega-3 dietary supplements are also able to do so in a generalized manner because they are taken orally.
Your skin uses omega-3s alongside systems like melanin production and enzyme repair to create an advanced layer of protection against potential sun damage. Plus, some omega-3 supplements are fortified with other nutrients like selenium and vitamin A, which both have antioxidant properties and can help mitigate the visible side effects of sun damage.
By protecting your skin from UV rays, you can also keep it protected from sun damage that leads to early aging on your skin. The added protection that comes from your skin’s natural UV filter helps reduce the risk of developing sunspots, wrinkles, and discoloration.
Of course, omega-3s are no replacement for sunscreen. Without sunscreen, even your skin’s natural photoprotection will run out, and you’ll experience sun damage. Instead, you can take omega-3s daily to add support to your hardworking sunscreen.
2. Support for Skin Hydration
Dry skin bugs all of us, from its rough texture to the potential itching. Dehydrated skin is just outright uncomfortable. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it is also unhealthy.
Hydrated skin is far more resilient than dry skin, as it stretches more easily and is more resistant to potential wounds. For example, if you scratch dry skin, you will see a clear mark, while hydrated skin is less likely to show a sign of irritation.
Omega-3s play an important role in supporting your skin’s hydration as they strengthen the barrier that seals in moisture. These essential fatty acids are also found in cell membranes, so without enough omega-3s, you may not experience quick cell regeneration and growth, which can also result in dryness.
Improved hydration also helps support the appearance of healthy skin aging and delay the onset of wrinkles. In combination with healthy skin care habits and proper hydration, the moisturizing effects of omega-3 fatty acids help maintain your skin’s natural firmness and elasticity. By embracing the powers of omega-3s now, you may be setting yourself up for the long-term.
3. Temporary Relief of Skin Irritation
If you have skin conditions that cause dryness, you likely deal with the frustrations of itching or flaking skin. These symptoms can be particularly discouraging as they can be unpredictable and leave your skin with open sores and scabbing.
Omega-3s can help provide temporary relief for irritation. Between their ability to support hydrated skin and support the body’s natural wound healing process, omega-3s can help provide much-needed relief for the soreness and irritation involved with these symptoms of dryness. By supporting the development of healthy tissue, these essential nutrients are an excellent option for pushing back against irritation.
Omega-3s may also help to support relief for sensitive skin as well, by minimizing the skin’s response to potential irritants. This is another byproduct of improving the skin’s moisture, elasticity, and resilience.
4. Support for Skin Barrier
The skin barrier is vital to our overall health, protecting us from various outside threats. This barrier helps us to keep out harmful bacteria, chemicals, and other harmful pollutants.
Omega-3 fatty acids are helpful as they positively support the function of the skin barrier, helping to maintain its strength and soothe potential irritation to the skin. These nutrients also play a key role in the immune system, helping to support the skin’s response against potential invaders.
The eicosanoids generated by EPA are vital to supporting the skin’s immune response, allowing the appropriate cells to target and remove any threats. Altogether, omega-3 is extremely valuable in supporting your skin’s ability to protect your insides.
How Can I Get More Omega-3s?
Since DHA and EPA omega-3s can be hard to come by in a standard diet, it is important to be mindful and proactive about how you obtain these essential nutrients. Of course, the first solution for many people is to eat more fish, as they are rich in both nutrients.
Krill and fish oil supplements are an easier approach to obtaining more omega-3s, allowing you to receive the fatty acids through just a capsule or spoonful of the oil. Taking the recommended serving each day will give you the fatty acids you need.
If you are not a fish fan or prefer to avoid animal-based foods altogether, you may want to turn to a different supplement.
Fortunately, fish is not the only source of EPA and DHA fatty acids. After all, the fish have to get it from somewhere. We can actually get these two omega-3s from the same powerful source as the fish do — algae.
With iwi life’s algae-based omega-3 supplement, you can access a simple but efficient form of omega-3s. These omega-3s are also absorbed by the body more easily than those found in fish oil and krill oil. At the same time, you get to avoid the fishy aftertaste with a simple softgel tablet.
If you want to get more omega-3s in your diet, skip the middleman altogether and get your fatty acids straight from the source by trying iwi life algae.
Advance Your Skincare
Omega-3s have a surprising number of benefits for your skin, helping you to enjoy softer, more durable, and more radiant skin. Incorporating these essential fatty acids into your daily nutrition can give you more resilient skin while supporting your overall health and wellness.
To provide your skin with more of the nutrients it needs, start making iwi life part of your daily routine. Just two softgels each day can provide you with your daily recommended omega-3 intake. To see all the potential benefits you can gain from omega-3s, explore our complete family of iwi life products.
Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health | Linus Pauling Institute
Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil’s Fatty Acids on the Skin | PMC
Diet and Skin Barrier: The Role of Dietary Interventions on Skin Barrier Function | PMC