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How Effective Is Flaxseed Oil for Acne?

Nicole Madison
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Derived from the flax plant, flaxseed oil is a home remedy for treating acne. While many natural health enthusiasts assert that it works, flaxseed oil is not a proven method of treatment. It does, however, have properties that are likely to help acne, such as those that fight inflammation and help counteract hormone-related problems. As such, a person may try flaxseed oil for acne and then move on to other remedies if he finds that it doesn’t work. It is generally considered safe for human use, but an individual may benefit from consulting with a doctor before taking it.

One of the main benefits of using flaxseed oil for acne seems to be its content of omega-3 fatty acids, which are fats important for health. Some research studies have produced evidence that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, which is a factor in some types of acne. For example, a common type of acne lesion referred to as a papule is marked by redness and inflammation. Pustules, which are collections of pus under the skin; nodules, which are somewhat hardened, sore lumps; and cysts, which are large lumps filled with pus, are also examples of inflammatory acne. Taking flaxseed oil for acne might mean less inflammation, and in turn, fewer acne pimples.

A person might also use flaxseed oil for acne because of a chemical called lignan. This chemical naturally occurs in plants and is categorized as a phytoestrogen, which means it acts similarly to the hormone estrogen in the body. As such, lignan and other phytoestrogens like isoflavonoids and coumestans, are thought to help reduce inflammation, aid in the reproductive process, and prevent some cancers. Besides helping to reduce acne-related inflammation, lignan might help reduce the effects of hormonal imbalances capable of causing or contributing to acne.

When a person uses flaxseed oil, he often takes it in capsule form, though a person can obtain the oil and take it by the spoonful as well. There is no set dosage established as effective for acne, but some people report that taking a couple of capsules or two tablespoons (29.57 milliliters) per day works. An individual may need to give it a try for a couple of weeks to determine whether it will be effective for him. Additionally, some people report that using flaxseed oil for acne results in flareups of blemishes rather than improvement. In such a case, a person can usually discontinue its use and expect his skin to return to normal within a couple of weeks.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By literally45 — On Mar 20, 2013

Flaxseed has improved my acne and rosacea greatly, but it took time. I did experience an initial phase of breakouts (I call it skin detox) but I didn't quit the supplements. I kept taking them and after a while my skin started clearing up.

I realize that this is not for everyone. Most people cannot do nothing when they see their skin getting worse. But if you are patient and keep at it, you will reap the benefits.

I also had similar results with fish oil supplements. These are also rich in Omega 3 amino acids.

By fBoyle — On Mar 20, 2013

@turquoise-- No, I think it's only taken orally.

My acne became worse after I started taking flaxseed oil supplements. At first, I though it was helping and it did improve the quality of my hair and nails. But I started getting more acne breakouts on my face after a few weeks so I had to quit.

I wish it had worked because I think flaxseed oil is a very healthy supplement in general.

By turquoise — On Mar 19, 2013

Can flaxseed oil be applied topically? Will it treat acne that way?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a The Health Board writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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