Does Cod Liver Oil Work for Acne? Learn More

cod liver for acne

Most acne treatments include synthetic ingredients, but cod liver oil for acne is an all-natural alternative treatment that aids in the skin’s health. A lot of people have sworn by cod liver oil’s effectiveness in the treatment and prevention of acne. Read on to find out how this supplement will benefit you and the ins and outs of using it.


Nearly everyone is affected by physical conditions, and while some of them pose serious health threats, these issues often cause inconvenience, not to mention annoyance. Acne is one of these conditions. Take a good look around you and you’ll notice that acne is common to everybody, regardless of one’s skin type.

Most people have breakouts in their adolescent years, and while some are lucky enough to have clear skin by the time they reach adulthood, some people still have them. Adult acne, technically, does not pose serious harm to one’s health, but it could seriously affect your confidence. Teenagers are often embarrassed by it, while adults are just sick and tired of having acne and want to get rid of it once and for all. We’re lucky though that acne treatments are just around the corner.

cod liver for acne

Before we discuss how cod liver oil helps in treating acne, let us first learn about its root causes. Generally, the formation of acne is triggered by the following three factors:

  1. Bacterial contamination
  2. Clogged up pores due to dead skin cells
  3. Excessive production of sebum

Unknown to most people, acne doesn’t just come in its cystic acne form or that red, painful bump on your skin. Pimples and blackheads are also considered acne. They all have one thing in common though: if you scratch them, they could form a scar on the skin. It mostly affects the face and neck, but acne can also break out in other body parts like chest, back, and hands.

Since a lot of us nearly don’t have time for anything, we’re all about quick relief and fast solutions. This is the reason why a lot of people rush to buy acne solutions and medications. However, ready-made acne treatments that come in an ointment, cream, or gel form often have harsh chemical agents in them, which is not good for the skin. While it works for some people, not everybody gets a happy ending.

People with sensitive skin, in particular, will find themselves in worse shape than before. Instead of being reliant on OTC medications, it is essential to turn to natural solutions, such as cod liver oil.

How Does Cod Liver Oil Help with Acne?

As its name suggests, cod liver oil is made from the liver of codfish, which is said to contain a number of nutrients fit for human health. Cod liver oil has long been used for boosting immunity, but it wasn’t until recently that it had gained a reputation as a natural acne solution.

The ingredients in cod liver oil show promising results in treating acne and preventing future breakouts.

Vitamin A

Oil extracted from the cod liver is rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A contains retinoic acid, a component that promotes cell health, which means that taking adequate amounts of vitamin A will renew the cells in our body. Simply put, your damaged cells will be replaced with new ones.

For this reason, spots on the skin and acne scars will eventually be diminished. Additionally, vitamin A reduces sebum production, which in turn will control the onset of an acne breakout. Because the amount of sebum is controlled, it lessens the chances of having clog skin pores.

It’s worth noting that vitamin A found in cod liver oil works more efficiently than those found in vitamin supplements.

Vitamin D

Cod liver oil also contains vitamin D. a study published in the Journal of Experimental Dermatology showed that vitamin D is beneficial for the human skin. It has antioxidant and anti-comedogenic properties, plus it can also fight free radicals in the body that further prevents skin damage.

Like Vitamin A, Vitamin D had been found to reduce sebum production as well.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cod liver oil is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA, which is essential in terms of combatting acne. These fatty acids prevent skin inflammations, so if you have cystic acne, getting an adequate amount of vitamin D can greatly help.

Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties, which means there are no side effects to taking it.  

cod liver for acne

Scar Removal

Having acne is a problem in itself, but it your problems won’t stop once it starts to fade. Acne is known to leave scar marks on the skin, and if you happen to have scratched ones, they even take a longer time to fade. This can be quite troublesome for a lot of people, especially if you have always wanted clear skin.

As mentioned, vitamin A, which is rich in cod liver oil, helps renew cells. This means that you notice your acne scars fading faster than before. Take note, however, that you should always be realistic about the situation and remember no acne solution offers instant results. Cod liver oil will reduce acne and pimple scars, but it may take a while before you notice results.

An inflammation is actually a sign that your body is fighting infections and trying to heal an injury. Unfortunately, inflammation can last longer than usual, and nobody has time for that. An inflammation becomes harmful if its chronic since it increases the risks of acquiring disease and high blood pressure.

To avoid the risk of having chronic inflammation, your body should have a sufficient amount of omega 3 fatty acids. These fatty acids work by controlling the proteins that cause the inflammation. Cod liver oil’s vitamin A and vitamin D content are also antioxidants, which help in fighting damaging free radicals. It has been found that people who have inadequate amounts of vitamins A and D are more prone to developing chronic inflammation.

Adding Cod Liver Oil to Your Diet

It is fortunate that it’s fairly easy to add cod liver oil to your diet. It comes in many forms, but capsule and liquid forms are the most popular. Nothing has been said about how much you should take cod liver oil, but to safe, cod liver oil intake should be based on intake levels of vitamins A and D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Most people take 1 to teaspoons of cod liver oil daily, but you may take up to one 1 tablespoon. Don’t ever make the mistake of taking cod liver oil excessively, as excessive doses of vitamin A can be harmful.

It’s important to note that cod liver oil should be taken in moderation because it also works as a blood thinner. Before anything else, get the advice of a medical professional if you take any medications for blood pressure.

Pregnant women should also refrain from taking cod liver oil, as high doses of vitamin A may harm the baby.

How Can You Use Cod Liver Oil for Acne?

The restorative properties of cod liver oil is its primary benefit. Not only does it restore damaged skin, but it also promotes healthy hair, nails, bone, teeth, brain, and blood circulation.

Today, you can find many cod liver oil products in the market, but as with most products, its efficiency differs from person to person. It is best to pick the aptest variant. Cod liver oil is generally offered in two types: fermented and refined.

Fermented cod liver oil takes a longer period of time to produce, but it’s free of any form of chemical or bleaching agents. It is created by fermenting cod liver in seawater-filled barrels left untouched for several months. The result is cod liver oil in its purest form, without any mixture of chemicals.

Refined cod liver oil, on the other hand, is created by mixing fatty cod fish tissues and treating them with chemicals. This process tends to strain the oil away along with the important nutrients your body needs. For this reason, manufacturers have to add synthetic vitamins into the solution.

That said, it is best to take fermented cod liver oil since it retains vital nutrients, making it more effective in treating acne and other skin problems. Fermented oil is generally more expensive than refined cod liver oil, but you’ll be happy with the results. Both gel capsules and liquid cod liver oil can be taken internally. But the oil has to refrigerated in liquid form. In case you ingest the liquid form, seek the advice of a medical professional to know what dosage should be taken. Regardless of the brand chosen, you must always check the label to see the number of nutrients found in the product.

Cod liver oil has a strong and unique taste, and for those who do not like it, an option is to use topical cod liver oil creams or ointments. Another option is to take cod liver oil with applesauce or honey to balance the bitterness.

Points to Consider When Taking Cod Liver Oil

Since we’ve already established the benefits of cod liver oil for the treatment and prevention, here are the things you should take note of and what’s to be expected when you take this supplement.

  1. Some cod liver oil variants may cause an upset stomach, bad breath, and headaches. But these symptoms only appear when you take the refined variant. To avoid these, use fermented cod liver oil instead. This should resolve any side effects. It’s also important to take cod liver oil in the right dosage. Some people may still have reactions, but they tend to be minor and do not require medical attention.
  2. If you have a sensitivity to fish oil, you should not take cod liver oil. If you’re taking medications for kidney disorders, high blood pressure, or diabetes, talk to your primary physician first before taking any kind of supplement, since vitamin A can interact with medications for these illnesses.
  3. Since it is loaded with vitamin A, cod liver oil should be taken with caution. The amount of this vitamin in cod liver oil is very high, and if taken excessively can lead to health problems. You should also consider that you can get vitamin A from the food you eat. Additionally, higher dosages of vitamin A in pregnant women can be harmful.
  4. Watch out for synthetic vitamins A and D injected by some manufacturers, as this may only worsen your acne. Make sure you only take natural cod liver oil, which is found in fermented cod liver oil products.
  5. Some products can be contaminated with PCBs and mercury. PCBs and mercury in the body are hazardous to the body and can lead to several problems later on such as cancer and the risk of conceiving a child with physical and health problems.

Like other fish, codfish can absorb mercury and if the company is not careful enough to purify the ingredients, the end-product could be contaminated. Make sure you only buy from trusted manufacturers to ensure a quality-made and contaminant free cod liver oil.

Reading cod liver oil reviews may prove helpful if it’s your first time buying a product. You can also try and talk to doctors and other medical professionals for the brands they recommend.

cod liver for acne

The Bottom Line

Cod liver oil is a nutritious type of fish oil that can be taken in gel capsules or liquid. It’s easy to incorporate it into your diet and is rich in vitamin A, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids.

For this reason, there are a lot of health benefits to be expected from cod liver oil, particularly when it comes to healing acne and other inflammations in the body. When taking cod liver oil, always be cautious and only take supplements in the right amount.

You should also have realistic expectations when taking this type of fish oil. Clear skin doesn’t happen overnight and cod liver oil isn’t magic. You’ll have to wait for several weeks to see results.

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