Cold, dry, harsh winter conditions can really do a number on your skin. Fortunately, you can “feed” your skin from the inside. Oily fish, nuts and leafy green vegetables are high in essential Omega-3 fatty acids and protein, both crucial nutrients needed to help repair damaged skin cells. Omega-3s heal the skin from the inside out, making the skin more resilient to internal and external threats.
Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and swelling, limiting irritation, and promoting more healthy skin. In a recent study, scientists found that various skin conditions can benefit from fish oil supplementation, including eczema, dermatitis as well as psoriasis. Omega 3 fatty acids encourage the body’s natural production of the chemicals that control inflammation. In psoriasis, an autoimmune disease, your immune system tells your skin cells to turn over at an abnormally rapid rate for unknown reasons. The result is redness, inflammation, and dry, scaly patches of skin that can cover almost any part of your body. Immuno-suppressant drugs can try to slow the progression of the disease and stop your body from attacking itself. However, the issue of inflammation remains. Inflammation is what causes itching, pain, and discolors the skin. Omega-3 fatty acids can enhance the management of your condition.
Omega-3 fatty acids are emollients; natural moisturizers that revitalize dry skin. Fish oil is rich in polyunsaturated fats, helping restore fats lost in the skin, thus eliminating dryness. In another study from the University of Maryland Medical Center, 13 people with sun sensitivity known as photo dermatitis showed less sensitivity to UV rays after taking fish oil supplements. In another study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that adults who consumed a serving (3.5 ounces cooked) of omega-3 rich fish every five days, on average, over five years had fewer sun-induced lesions called actinic keratosis (AKs). These lesions, which can turn into skin cancer, often develop in older people who have sustained serious sun damage. Sunscreen is still the best defense against the sun’s harmful rays, but when used in combination with Omega-3s, it’s a powerful duo.
While the conditions outside have a direct impact on your skin, your emotions also play a role. Stress is your skin’s enemy and is a large factor in pre-maturely aging skin. Chronic stress increases the hormone cortisol, which damages the skin’s ability to retain water, causing dry, irritated skin. The resulting moisture loss also diminishes luminosity. Omega-3s, specifically EPA, have been researched regarding their anti-depression properties. Reducing stress and feeling good emotionally plays a definite part in healthier skin. In that battle against stress, Omega 3s are a valuable asset.