Last year my acne was completely out of control. It was horrendous, awful, disheartening, and depression-inducing. I’ve always had acne, but last year it truly was SEVERE. My whole face felt like a giant eruption and I couldn’t bring my introverted self to voluntarily be around other people with such severe acne.
I spent a long time trying to figure out what was causing it–my exercise pattern had not changed, I was eating the same foods in the same quantities as I had been previously, my menstrual cycle was the same, my other PCOS symptoms were unchanged, my prescription medications were the same, I was using the same cleanser and lotion on my face, my makeup was the same, my linens were being washed with the same detergent that has been used since the day I was born…ugh. All this acne and no idea where it was coming from.
Thankfully, my mind always processes things more clearly while in the shower. One night while taking a shower, I suddenly realized that I started taking fish oil capsules for the first time exactly one week before the acne problems began. I’d never associated the two before. Since there was no other identifiable cause, I stopped taking fish oil that evening. 4 days later, my skin was back to its usual moderate level of acne–never to revert back to severe. Hallelujah for only having patches of acne rather than a full face of it (only a woman with PCOS can celebrate that)! Even better–I’m now down to relatively minor acne since I started using hibiclens, benzoyl peroxide, and a nifty little Sephora tool (see here: http://pcosra.com/pcosacne3products/).
If you have acne and you’re taking fish oil–try temporarily stopping the fish oil and see if things improve. I hope they do. It’s the first “quick fix” I’ve ever found for an out-of-control symptom of PCOS. I don’t know the mechanism behind why fish oil increases acne in some people; but, if you feel like exploring the topic more, Professor Google has many opinions on the matter.