Last updated: Feb 12, 2009

Q: Ive heard fish oil supplements are good for the skin. True?


A: Absolutely. Fish oil contains two main types of omega-3 fatty acids: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Youve probably heard that both can help prevent heart disease. But DHA also keeps your brain functioning properly. And EPA benefits the skin by regulating oil production to boost hydration and prevent acne, and by delaying the skins aging process.

A 2005 study in the Journal of Lipid Research discovered that EPA can block the release of the UV-induced enzymes that eat away at collagen, causing lines and sagging skin. Because EPA is both an anti-inflammatory agent and an antioxidant, it can protect against sun damage and help repair it.
But most of us dont get enough omega-3s in our diets—oily fish like herring, mackerel, salmon, anchovies, and tuna are the best sources—so taking a supplement is a good idea. Look for one containing 180 milligrams of EPA and 120 milligrams of DHA; and take one capsule with each meal, for a total of three per day. Try Barleans Organic Fish Oil ($24.99).