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Feed Your Face: Fish Oil for Your Skin

By Dr Jessica Wu

Many of you may be taking fish oil for your heart, but did you know that it can also help your skin stay more healthy and beautiful? Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help replenish your skin’s natural “bubble wrap” of lipids. In addition, these fatty acids fight inflammation and have been shown to help soothe rashes (like eczema and psoriasis) and calm breakouts of acne. If you can, try to get your fish oil the natural way -- by eating fatty cold-water fish like wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. If you don’t care for fish, you can get omega-3s in a supplement. Here are some things to consider if you're taking fish oil capsules:

If your fish oil capsules give you a fishy aftertaste or fishy burps, try an enteric-coated version, and take it before eating. You can also try storing the capsules in the freezer -- swallowing frozen pills will help reduce the fishy taste.

If you have trouble swallowing pills, try taking liquid fish oil. I once choked on a fish oil capsule (during brunch at a fancy restaurant -- mortifying), so now I take chocolate-flavored liquid fish oil by Stronger Faster Healthier. It tastes like a slightly oily chocolate syrup, and I get my DHA and EPA (the beneficial fatty acids of fish oil) without choking. The oil is available in four other flavors, all sugar free: vanilla, mint, tangerine, and lemon (strongerfasterhealthier.com). Some people add liquid fish oil to their salad dressing or mix it in food. If you have acid reflux or a sensitive stomach, check with your doctor before switching to liquid fish oil -- it might be more likely to give you heartburn.

Check the labels of fish oil supplements for toxins. Fish can be high in contaminants, so be sure your supplement has been tested for such toxins as mercury, lead, and PCBs, which are found at high levels in farm-raised fish.

As with any supplement, check with your doctor before you start taking it, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.

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