I have been asked quite a few times if flaxseed oil can help with acne? Most people will know that acne is most common in the teenage years. There are some people and mainly women, who continue to suffer with adult acne, but in the main it is a young people's problem. The other time when acne can strike is when a woman becomes pregnant. So if you are someone in any of these groups of people can flax in whatever format really offer any help?
In this article we will first look at what causes acne and then understand what properties the flax plant may have that will help.
What Causes Acne?
It is caused when really small holes in the skin, called follicles, become completely blocked. A follicle is simply the small hole where a hair can grow out of. Just under the surface of the skin a gland is connected to this follicle. This gland produces an oil called sebum and the purpose of that oil is to stop the skin and the hair from becoming too dry. Now when too much oil is produced then that gets mixed up with dead skin cells and can form a small plug. It is this that will cause acne to start. The easiest way to remember this is to simply remember the over production of this sebum oil is what causes the problem.
In young people as they grow there is an increase in the amount of testosterone hormone in the body, which occurs during puberty. This happens in both boys and girls and is simply a development of the human body. This testosterone also makes the sebum oil be produced in larger quantities and this then causes acne outbreaks. Again in simple terms there is a large hormonal change in the body and this change over produces sebum and that causes acne.
There is one single thing happening that will greatly increase the risk of acne. That thing is a change or increase in the hormones of the body. That makes sense if you think about puberty, pregnancies, periods, menopause, taking steroids, and certain medicines. There are also a few minor cases of acne that are caused by allergic skin reactions from cosmetics.
Finally there is evidence that it is also hereditary. If your parents had acne then there is a high chance that you will get it as well.
Would Flax Help Acne?
I think we could agree that if flax could help control hormones, then we could say with some confidence that yes that would be the case. The big question is though, does it?
Dealing With The Myths
Just before we look at that it is really important to get rid of some silly myths. A lot of people think that acne can be caused by having a poor diet. That is simply not true and there is no evidence at all to support that statement. Acne is also not caused by poor hygiene or by getting dirty. So you can ignore any of those myths as we now know for certain that acne is caused by hormone changes.
Flax has a ton of health benefits but one thing it does not do is help with changing hormones. Simply because of that I think it quickly becomes obvious that taking flax seed or flaxseed oil will have no benefit when it comes to curing acne. I have read a few websites that make claim that it does. However you will always notice that these are people who sell flax on a commercial basis. I have never seen any such claims supported by any type of evidence.
You have to remember that flax is a good source of Omega-3 which is an essential fatty acid. The body does not naturally produce those and they do help with the overall health of the body. That is the main reason that I take it in the first place, however it will not help with any type of hormonal changes.
One thing I did find out when I did my research was that people who were suffering from acne did indeed try taking flaxseed oil. Most of them said that it actually made their acne worse. Now again there is no real scientific or medical evidence to support that other than statements from these acne sufferers. I would however tend not to ignore those remarks as why would they write them, if they did not experience this side effect.
So the bottom line is I could find zero evidence to support any claim that any form of flax would help people who suffer from acne.