Increasingly women are including this secret weapon in their anti-ageing arsenal to make sure their skin looks plump, smooth and glowing.
It’s been a celebrity favourite for years and the Hollywood A-list have long made sure they include plenty of omega-3 in their diets.
Victoria Beckham has heralded it as one of the best things she’s ever done for her skin in fact: “I eat lots of good fats, in avocados, nuts, seeds, salmon,” she has explained.
“You have to eat salmon every single day,” her dermatologist told her. “I said, ‘Really, every day?’ And he said, ‘Yes, breakfast, lunch or dinner, you have to eat it every single day.'”
And from the increasing popularity of the ‘Fish Oil Facial’ it seems she’s on to a good thing!
Fish oils are a type of polyunsaturated fat – a ‘healthy’ fat. Unlike saturated animal fats, they don’t raise your cholesterol levels, but have been found to have positive effect on health.
That’s because omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and also nourish your skin.
Researchers from the University of California found omega-3s – whether from supplements or fish – helped cells in the body live longer.
When they studied heart disease patients, they found the more omega-3 the subjects ate, the slower the damage to the DNA in their cells. That, in turn, meant better protection against inflammation and the ageing process.
It’s also been noted that low omega-3 fatty acid levels can cause dry and irritated skin, when you have enough your skin will naturally be more moisturised which then makes it look fuller and younger.
And fish oil also offers benefits if you struggle with acne. A study published in Acta Dermato-Venereologica in 2014 found that fish oil could reduce acne lesions in people struggling with acne after just 10 weeks.
There’s less research on the benefits of fish oil for your hair, but it does seem to help the condition and overall growth of hair.
Your scalp is essentially your skin too so keeping it nourished will indirectly have a positive effect on your hair. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology reported Omega-3 supplements might help with hair thinning.
Women that took the supplement for 6 months lost less hair, and their hair also grew in thicker, growing thicker individual strands of hair, as well as growing more hair overall.
This followed a 2013 report which found that fatty acid deprivation or deficiency can lead to hair color changes or loss.
Consuming enough omega-3 should help reduce breakage and increase the condition and glossiness of your hair, which in itself has an anti-ageing effect.
When consuming omega-3 it’s advised to choose oily fish which is naturally lower in mercury, like mackerel, trout, sardines and salmon.
There are vegan omega-3 supplements available too and it’s important to include omega-3 rich foods in your diet like flax, chia and walnuts.
Don’t be tempted to take extra omega-3 supplements in the hope you will improve the benefits as you can really have too much of a good thing.
A study published in the 2012 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded that excess consumption of fish oil can lead to side effects, including abdominal pain, diarrhea and easy bruising/bleeding.
If you want your skin to benefit from fish oils you still need to take them internally rather than topically on the skin.
This is because in order to help your skin your body has to convert the oil into the elements it needs the most.
So upping your consumption of omega-3 rich foods or a supplement is better than smoothing omega-3 oils on your face to sink into the skin.
The anti-ageing effects work from the inside out.