These supplements aren't just making headlines for preventing heart disease—dermatologists are recommending them to help heal dry skin and the rough, red, scaly patches of psoriasis and eczema. "Countless studies show that increasing the consumption of omega-3 oils improves these conditions," says Baumann. In one study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, volunteers with severe dermatitis taking high levels of omega-3s (6 g) saw a 30% decrease in symptoms. Psoriasis sufferers experienced similar results in other research.
It's easy to see why omega-3s are crucial to skin health: Besides being an integral part of the membranes that surround our skin cells, these essential fats—which must be obtained from diet or supplements because our bodies cannot make them—are a key component of the lubricating layer that keeps skin supple. They also aid in the production of hormones that improve skin texture and help combat the inflammatory damage wrought by free radicals—one of the causes of wrinkles and blotchiness. This is likely why sun-sensitive people may be significantly less prone to burning after omega-3 supplementation, according to one study.
Eating fish such as salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna—good sources of omega-3s—twice a week and taking supplements are easy ways to increase your intake. For better skin, Baumann recommends taking 1,000 mg of omega-3 oils a day—about the same dosage recommended to keep your ticker in good shape.