A question that is asked by many people is does taking flaxseed oil either help prevent acne or indeed help remove and cure acne? They have also asked if by applying this oil will it help in the reduction or removal of acne scars.
As you may already know, if you have read any of the other articles on this website, people take this oil for a whole range of reasons. I am not therefore surprised in any way that people would experiment with various forms of flax seed to see if it would help with this skin condition.
Understanding what Causes Acne
Just before we look at the information I found, I think it is worthwhile understanding what causes acne in the first place. Once we know that we can then look at the properties of flaxseed oil and make a real determination as to whether it can help or not.
The huge majority of people who suffer from acne do so because it simply runs in their family. It is primarily a hereditary skin condition and if your parents suffered from it, then the likelihood is that the children will also have this problem.
Hormones changing is the other huge factor in acne and indeed, how severe the acne can become. This is especially noticeable as people enter their teenage years, and the hormones are changing and racing through our bodies.
What is interesting is that despite acne being such a common problem, doctors still do not properly understand all of the different causes of acne. Certain factors such as stress can certainly increase the severity of acne, but on the other hand, we also know that stress by itself will not actually cause acne on the skin.
The medical experts generally support the view that acne vulgaris, to give it the full name, is a disease that involves oil glands right at the very base of hair follicles. In simple terms our skin has small holes known as pores and these connect to oil glands which sit just under the skin.
These glands produce an oily liquid called Sebum. This Sebum then takes dead skin cells up through the follicles and on to the surface of the skin. When these follicles get blocked, the oil builds up under the skin and pimples and acne form.
The best way to think of acne is that because the pore of the skin is blocked, the dead skin cells, this oily Sebum and hairs form a clump which becomes infected and then swells to form a pimple.
These manifest in different forms such as black heads, cysts etc. The severity of the acne then comes down to many different things such as pregnancy, diet, use of oily make-up and many other day to day things.
We can safely conclude from this that there is little doubt that acne is a common skin disease which in the main impacts on teenagers. It is a hereditary skin condition made worse by changing hormones in the body. So the question is can flaxseed oil really help with that?
Research on Flaxseed Oil For Acne
My first port of call is always to find if in fact anyone has done any scientific medical research on the correlation between acne and flaxseed oil. I am sure you will not be surprised to discover that none actually exists.
There are however any number of online forums where people have discussed this. The problem with those is that no-one has pulled all of that information together.
Well that is until now, as I decided that if there was no actual scientific information to use, I should use what is available an try to summarise it all.
As discussed earlier, Sebum is the oily substance produced under the skin. Omega 3, something that is created by taking flaxseed oil, helps a lot in reducing the production of a molecule called leukotriene B4. This in turn helps reduce the amount of Sebum that is created and therefore reduces the oil in our skin. Now please note that it does not stop the production of this Sebum but it does reduce it, and for acne sufferers this is good news.
Men vs Women
Having read all the different forums, it would appear that taking flaxseed oil works better for women than for men. That was the general information that I could find when I read through their comments. It is hard to place any scientific fact behind this but it was certainly obvious when I observed their various comments. Here is a typical comment from one lady;
It works for me. I had been taking two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily from July 2010 until about a month ago (beginning march 2011). while i was taking the ground flaxseed, my skin was clear, I didn't get clogged skin and rarely got cysts either. (I also take msm, cod liver oil and pro biotic supplements too and these also play a big part in keeping my skin nice) then i got lazy and stopped taking the flaxseed and my skin got dull and clogged. my acne didn't return, but my skin wasn't at its best.
There is plenty of information to state that flaxseed oil helps reduce inflammation. In fact when people started out taking this oil that was its prime function. Any product that does this will help a little with reducing the severity of acne.
Some people said that by taking this oil they noticed a change in the look of their scars. People also said something similar about using Bio Oil but those were much more positive, than those for flaxseed oil.
The information here was very limited so to be honest it would be really difficult to draw any real evidence where I could state with any certainty that flaxseed, in any format, would help reduce the look of scars. The one thing I can say with certainty is that there is no product out in the market place that will actually remove any type of scarring.
Summary of Flaxseed Oil For Acne
There is no medical or scientific research or information available that directly links acne to taking flaxseed oil. It is a hot discussion on many of the Internet forums. It would appear from those pieces of information that women have had better results than men when taking this oil.
We know it helps reduce the amount of Sebum produced which will help. We also know that this oil helps fight inflammation and that also helps. There was limited information on helping with acne scars and certainly nothing that was in anyway conclusive.