Is Cod Liver Oil An Effective Cure For Acne? January 25, 2016

Are you on the lookout for a natural cure for acne that actually works? Do you often miss out on rave parties and get-togethers, as you do not want to be ridiculed? Worry no more! We have just the remedy for you that will bring back your lost confidence!

It is the cod liver oil we are talking about. Would you like to know more? Then just read on!

Acne – An Overview

A few physical conditions affect nearly everyone, and they cause more annoyance and inconvenience rather than posing serious health threats. Acne is a condition that falls in this category. Look around and you will find people from all walks of life getting affected by it – irrespective of the skin type.

For most people, it is a part of growing up and adolescence. However, adult acne breakout is not unheard of either. Acne does not pose serious harm to health or skin, but affects your look and consequently confidence levels. For teens, this can be a source of embarrassment at times. Thankfully, there are numerous treatment options available.

Causes Of Acne

Before you learn about the available and effective treatments for acne, learning about the root causes is necessary. Generally, acne formation is triggered by the following three factors:

  • Excess sebum production in the body (1) (mostly caused by hormonal excesses)
  • Dead skin cells lying on the skin surface and clogging the pores
  • Bacterial contamination on the skin

Acne can occur in various forms – including blackheads, pimples, and cystic acne (2). The last one can be quite painful. All forms of acne take some time to subside, and if you scratch them, the result could be a scar on the skin. While most acne will affect your face and neck, other body parts like hands and chest can also get affected by acne breakout.

Why Opt For Natural Acne Treatment Methods

For a lot of people, quick relief from acne is a priority, or they do not have time for making herbal extracts. That explains why they rush to chemist shops and buy OTC acne medications and solutions. The biggest drawback of such ready-made acne solutions that come in forms of gel, cream or ointments, is that they contain harsh chemical agents. Some people may find quick relief by applying these, but not everyone gets as lucky. People with sensitive skin get aggravated acne or skin drying after applying these solutions. It is prudent you seek natural remedies for acne, such as cod liver oil.

[ Read: Steps To Use Castor Oil To Treat Acne ]

Is Cod Liver Oil Good For Acne Treatment?

Cod liver oil, as evident from its name, is made from the liver of cod fish and it contains a number of nutrients considered beneficial for human health. It has been used since ages for numerous health needs and boosting immunity. Cod liver oil is taken internally in a capsule form by most people.

The ingredients in cod liver oil may help in fighting acne and eliminating it.

1. Vitamin A

Cod liver oil contains a large amount of vitamin A (3). This vitamin contains a component called retinoic acid, which promotes cell health. Vitamin A plays a major role in cell renewal. It helps new skin cells to replace damaged ones. This helps in clearing acne scars and spots from the skin surface. It also reduces the sebaceous gland size. Sebum production reduction can result in controlling acne outbreak to an extent. So, the amount of sebum available to clog skin pores and mix with germs reduces. The vitamin A in cod liver oil works better than synthetic vitamin supplements.

2. Vitamin D

Cod liver oil contains vitamin D in a fair amount. A study published in 2007 in the Journal of Experimental Dermatology revealed the benefits offered by this vitamin for human skin (4). Vitamin D has anti-comedogenic and antioxidant properties that can be useful for acne victims. It fights the free radicals and helps prevent skin damage. Studies have shown this vitamin can signal sebaceous gland cells and reduce sebum production.

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

The Omega-3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA found in cod liver oil are ideal for fighting acne. These healthy fatty acids help in controlling skin inflammations. Thus, cod liver oil can be particularly useful in battling cystic acne. Since Omega-3 fatty acids act as natural anti-inflammatory agents (5), you are spared from the risk of side effects.

[ Read: How To Use Coconut Oil To Treat Acne? ]

Faster Fading Of Acne Scars

Using cod liver oil not only helps in clearing acne from the skin, but also aids in scar removal. Most acne leaves ugly and blackish scar marks on the skin, and scratched ones make marks that take longer to fade. This can be quite annoying and inconvenient for the victims, especially teenagers who are generally conscious about their looks.

Since the vitamin A in this oil promotes skin cell regeneration, you will find the acne scars fading faster than usual (6). However, you should have realistic expectations about it. Taking in cod liver oil for acne scars will not give you instant results. Generally, within a month or so, you will feel the difference.

Choosing The Right Cod Liver Oil For Acne Treatment

How to choose the best cod liver oil for acne? While you will find many brands and stores selling cod liver oil in the market, not all of them are equally suited for treating acne. You need to pick the aptest variant. There are broadly two types of cod liver oil that you can buy, refined and fermented.

The refined variant is made by cooking fatty cod fish tissues and subsequent treatment with chemical agents. This refinement strips the oil of many of its vital nutrients eventually. Some manufacturers, therefore, add synthetic vitamins to the oil.

The fermented version of cod liver oil takes much longer to produce, and it does not involve the use of chemicals or bleaching agents. In this method, extracted liver of cod fish is left to ferment in barrels with some sea water, and for several months it is left untouched. This results in the production of cod liver oil in its natural form without any chemical seeping in. Therefore, fermented cod liver oil retains most of the benefits. It is thus more useful for treating acne and other skin conditions. It costs relatively more than the refined variant, but the benefits are worth enjoying.

Using Cod Liver Oil For Acne Elimination

You get cod liver oil either in liquid or gel capsules. Both can be taken internally. However, the oil needs to be refrigerated in liquid form. In case you ingest the liquid form, talk with a doctor to know the right dosage for you. While buying the oil capsules or liquid, check the label for the number of nutrients present in it. Some people who do not like the strong taste and flavor of cod liver oil opt for topical application for acne elimination. It is possible to ingest the oil with honey or apple sauce if you cannot stand the strong flavor.

[ Read: How Rose Water Can Help Treat Acne ]

Things To Check When Using Cod Liver Oil

You may take cod liver oil for acne treatment and other health needs, but a few things need to be checked to avoid health woes:

  1. Intake of some cod liver oil variants can lead to side effects like headaches, bad breath, and upset stomach. These are caused when you use refined variants of the oil. Switching to a fermented variant of cod liver oil usually resolves such reactions. If you take the oil in the right dosage, the side effects tend to be minor and do not require medical attention as such.
  2. Those who use medications for ailments like diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disorders should take this oil only after talking with a doctor. Vitamin A is capable of interacting with some such medications. The same is applicable if you are generally allergic to fish oil.
  3. The vitamin A present in cod liver oil may help fight acne, but you need to be careful about over consumption. The density of vitamin A in this oil is very high. So, taking cod liver oil in higher dosages can result in excess vitamin A absorption, which may lead to health problems. As it is, you also get vitamin A from a number of foods you eat. This can be especially harmful to women who have conceived. Even for others, the risk of vitamin A toxicity cannot be ruled out either.
  4. Some people actually face the worsening of acne symptoms after taking cod liver oil. This is mostly caused by synthetic vitamin A and vitamin D3, which are added to the oil by some manufacturers. Again, switching to a refined variant of the oil can be useful.
  5. Some variants of cod liver oil can be contaminated with mercury and PCBs. Intake of PCBs and mercury can pave way to a variety of health hazards like child with birth issues and cancer, say the health experts. Cod fish can absorb mercury just like other sea fish and not all companies take care to purify the toxins during the manufacturing process. Look for contaminant-free oils and read the labels carefully while buying to be on the safer side. It does not necessarily mean you should buy the costliest cod liver oil variant available.

You may read the online reviews of cod liver oil variants before purchasing a product. Interacting with dietitians and doctors on the topic can be helpful. As a prudent move, buy the capsule or oil form in small amount for the first time. If the oil brings the desired result for acne removal, you may continue using it.

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