Fish Oil & Rosacea

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Called the "curse of the Celts" because it tends to affect fair-skinned people of northern Europe, rosacea affects the facial skin, causing red acne-like bumps, broken blood vessels and flushing. This can cause embarrassment and lack of confidence. Triggers include heavy exercise, hot baths, alcohol, emotional stress and spicy food. There is no credible evidence that taking fish oil is an effective way to prevent or treat rosacea.


Rosacea is a chronic disorder. This means that relapses and remissions are common. Remissions are not necessarily complete because scarring from broken blood vessels can be permanent. reports that a retrospective study of 48 previously diagnosed rosacea patients "found that 52 percent still had active rosacea, with an average ongoing duration of 13 years."


Since rosacea is a chronic condition, the therapeutic focus is more on managing the condition, rather than curing it. In addition to identifying and avoiding triggers, rosacea may be treated with topical antibiotics, sulfur drugs and azelaic acid. Laser therapy is used to eliminate broken blood vessels. Unlike heat from a hot face cloth that can aggravate rosacea, heat from a laser is directly targeted at the broken vessels. This heat causes the broken vessels to disintegrate. Multiple laser treatments as usually necessary.

Fish Oil

Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid, better known as DHA and EPA. The Mayo Clinic provides a long list of possible conditions that might be benefited from fish oil. Rosacea is not on that list. As of 2011, there are no peer-reviewed articles on rosacea and fish oil appearing in U.S. National Library of Medicine database. Your dermatologist is a good source of up-to-date information regarding new treatments.

Other Therapeutic Uses

Fish oil is beneficial in treating cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. The data that supports this finding is so credible that the Mayo Clinic gives it an "A." The FDA has even approved a prescription variety of high strength fish oil to treat high glyceride levels. Other possible uses of fish oil supported by credible data are treating rheumatoid arthritis and preventing nephrotoxicity from cyclosporine. Be sure to check with your doctor before starting fish oil, because it is not for everyone, particularly people who already take nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS.