Benefits of cod liver oil for skin

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Benefits of cod liver oil for skin

Cod liver oil is available as a nutritional supplement and is derived from the liver of the cod fish. It is high in omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), vitamin A and vitamin D. Its initial use as a nutritional supplement was to prevent rickets and other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. While it is similar to fish oil, cod liver oil has a higher concentration of both vitamins A and vitamin D.[i] Recently, there has been in interest in the possible beauty effects of using cod liver oil, specifically for hair and skin. There are several benefits directly for one’s skin in taking cod liver oil

  1. Clearing up acne

Many people are plagued with persistent acne that doesn’t respond to standard treatment types. Some with this problem have tried taking cod liver oil and have found that there is a tremendous benefit to clearing up their skin. These are often hormonal breakouts that can appear anywhere on one’s face, but may be especially frequent around the chin and jawline. Even individuals who have gone to extreme measures to clear up their acne, such as taking antibiotics or spironolactone (an anti-androgen medication that is prescribed off-label for acne), and trying dermatological treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, lasers and light therapies have found that ingesting cod liver oil is more beneficial than these other options. It has also been more effective for some than treatments such as fish oil, probiotics and liver cleanses.[ii]

  1. Reduce inflammation

Cod liver oil has been a well-known immunity enhancing supplement used in northern Europe for centuries as a way to protect individuals’ health during the long, dark winters. In addition to this, it has also been used for rheumatism, aching joints and stiff muscles . The omega-3 fatty acids in cod liver oil serve as an anti-inflammatory agent, and as most people don’t incorporate enough anti-inflammatory foods in their diet, these nutrients can play a vital role in one’s overall health, and can help with skin in certain ways. The anti-inflammatory aspect can serve to help heal wounds faster[iii] and decrease any inflammation under the skin. In one study, scientists determined that topical application of cod liver oil significantly accelerated epithelial and vascular components of healing as compared to saline.[iv]

  1. Enhance moisture levels

One of the biggest benefits of using cod liver oil for one’s skin is that it can help improve dry kin. If applied directly, it can help moisturize and soften skin and if taken orally, it will reduce levels of leukotriene B4, which contributes to developing severely dry skin. Once these levels are brought down, skin will begin to appear shiny and healthy once again and relieve from painful itchiness will be achieved.[v]

  1. Help minimize dermatological conditions

Many people suffer from painful and ugly skin conditions, and sometimes their symptoms can be minimized with the use of cod liver oil. Psoriasis is a condition in which patches of thick, crusty skin appear, which are unsightly and are often irritated. This is due to the affect that this condition has on skin cells, making them build up rapidly. There is a believe within the medical community that the eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in cod liver oil restricts the growth of inflammatory-inducing agents that cause psoriatic conditions. Also, applying it directly to the patches may help relieve some of the itchiness and discomfort caused by this condition.[vi]

Dermatitis is another condition that may be somewhat alleviated with the use of cod liver oil. This skin condition is caused by inflammation of the skit itself, and includes different variations, including sebhorrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis (eczema). Both of these cause red, swollen, and itch patches to develop on the skin. Since cod liver oil is an anti-inflammatory due to the presence of omega-3 fatty acids in it, symptoms of dermatitis can be minimized with regular use. It can be taken orally as a supplement or applied directly to the areas of skin that are affected.[vii]

  1. Help with minimizing wrinkles and other signs of aging

There is some evidence that applying cod liver oil directly to the face can help to minimize the appearance of fine lines, spots and uneven patches of skin tone. While many products claim they can do this, cod liver oil is a much less expensive alternative that can produce results in as little as 2 to 3 weeks of regular use. Cod liver oil can also assist with mitigating hair loss due to the high omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins. It will nourish the hair follicles from within and lead to healthy hair growth that is shiny, healthy and less prone to breaking and falling out. In addition to helping with hair loss, cod liver oil can prevent or reverse the premature greying of hair. When taken regularly with curry leaf hair oil, once can see an improvement though it will likely take a long time. Healthy hair can contribute to the appearance of overall general good health and ensure that one’s skin looks radiant and healthy.[viii]

Author: Rikki Roehrich

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References :

+ [i] Cod liver oil. (n.d.). On Wikipedia. Retrieved from

+ [ii] Villett, M. (2010, September 2). On Beautyeditor. Retrieved from

+ [iii] 11 benefits of cod liver oil: The anti-inflammatory disease fighter. (n.d.). On Dr. Axe online. Retrieved from

+ [iv] Ware, M. (2016, January 12). Cod liver oil: Health benefits, facts and research. On Medical News Today online. Retrieved from

+ [v] Jernigan, K. (2015, October 8). Cod liver oil benefits for the skin. On Livestrong. Retrieved from

+ [vi] Jernigan, K. (2015, October 8). Cod liver oil benefits for the skin. On Livestrong. Retrieved from

+ [vii] Jernigan, K. (2015, October 8). Cod liver oil benefits for the skin. On Livestrong. Retrieved from

+ [viii] Venkateshwaran, R. (2015, March 28). 5 top hair & skin benefits, uses of cod liver oil for acne, hair growth & dry skin. On Wild Tumeric online. Retrieved from



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