Ground Flaxseed for Acne

Acne plagues most people at some point in their life, especially during the teen years. If you've tried topical remedies and oral medications with little success, it's worth considering the role your diet may play. For instance, foods such as ground flaxseed may be beneficial for improving acne. But you should still consult a dermatologist to check out all your treatment options.

Flaxseed and Inflammation

Inflammation is one of the main players in acne formation. Like other omega-3 essential fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid found in flaxseed is a potent anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce inflammation in a variety of health conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease and some skin conditions. The typical American diet tends to be high in omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation in your body. Adding flaxseed can help to restore a healthy balance and may improve acne.

Flaxseed and Insulin

In a study published in the "Nutrition Journal" in May 2011, researchers found that taking 40 g of ground flaxseed for 12 weeks improved insulin resistance in people who were obese and had glucose intolerance 1. Insulin resistance is a condition in which the body doesn't properly use insulin, which leads to high insulin levels. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, some women with acne who are overweight have excess insulin. Reducing their insulin levels often helps their acne to improve.


A doctor or nutritionist can provide an appropriate amount of flaxseed to take to improve your acne and overall health. In general, adults can take 1 tbsp. of ground flaxseed two to three times daily, or 2 to 4 tbsp. once a day, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Drink lots of water when taking ground flaxseed. Also, it's best to use up all the flaxseed within 24 hours of grinding them to reap the maximum benefit.

Side Effects

Flaxseed is generally safe to take. However, flaxseed is a source of fiber and if you're not used to fiber in your diet, you may experience gas, constipation or abdominal pain. Drinking water helps to minimize these side effects. Also, flaxseed may slow the absorption of some medications and supplements so wait a few hours before or after to take it. Consult a doctor before taking flaxseed to treat acne if you also have breast cancer, diabetes, prostate problems or schizophrenia.