Doing things in the name of skin is kind of my motto. I’ll admittedly try just about anything for a major glow-up in the skin department. On the other hand, I love makeup. My overwhelmingly stocked vanity, full of a lifetime supply of foundation and about 500 lipsticks and counting, proves so. But I’ve never wanted to depend on makeup to make me feel beautiful.
Recently, though, I’ve found myself more and more apprehensive about going out in public makeup-less, which has me turning to my liquid foundation far too often. It started with my move to New York, which triggered an unexpected battle with acne. As soon as I turned 23 and packed my overweight suitcase, my skin turned on me. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, and to be honest, I’m still searching for answers. I’ve gone through cleanser after cleanser in search of the one that won’t leave me with irritated whiteheads. I even stopped eating meat and completely changed my diet in hopes that it’d help my skin. So the moment I caught on the craze that is cod liver oil, which reportedly has insane skin benefits, I was game to try it. Keep scrolling to find out how fish oil changed my complexion.
Benefits of Cod Liver Oil
- Decreases hyperpigmentation
- Decreases inflammation
- Balances cholesterol and blood pressure
The internet is full of countless articles singing cod liver oil’s praises, saying it has transformative powers when it comes to skin. My mom even told me it’s something the “old folks” have consumed for years for all of its health and skin benefits.
According to Dr. Margarita Lolis, board-certified dermatologist, cod liver oil in liquid form is excellent for hyperpigmentation, especially in the form of acne scarring and discoloration from repeated facial breakouts.
“It’s also great for elbows and knees given hyperpigmentation can appear here as well. It contains vitamin A, D, and omega-3 fatty acids, which is what helps with skin,” Lolis explains.
I have tried just about everything to fade my dark spots, so after thorough research on the best form of cod liver oil, I readily went to my local health store and grabbed Carlson Wild Norwegian Cod Liver Oil ($23).
What to Expect
One thing I wasn’t willing to do is take a shot of something that tasted like fish every single morning. What a horrible start to my day. So I opted for this popular choice, which has a light lemon flavor. After a week or so, the appearance of my skin was noticeably brighter and less dull. I have inherently dry skin and felt a subtle difference in its texture—slightly more moisturized, brighter, and more awake, you could say. That was a plus. I’m all for a good morning routine, so it wasn’t hard to incorporate a shot of this stuff alongside my morning lemon water for 30 days. By week two, I didn’t see much of a difference with my hyperpigmentation, but, knowing I’m impatient, I stuck to my daily shot, holding on to hope.
I use a plethora of correctors, hydrating creams, and oils to lighten my dark spots every single day. But I will say that by week three, my acne scars didn’t look as profound on my skin. They’re still there, but they’re fading little by little.
While I didn't experience any side effects during my cod liver oil experiment, I checked in with Dr. Lolis to see if there are any common side effects worth mentioning to someone before starting on their own journey. "There could be GI side effects such as heartburn due to the breakdown in the stomach or loose stool due to high-fat absorption." She also warns that bad breath could occur since you are drinking fish oil, but that's nothing a little mouthwash or mints can't solve.
The Final Takeaway
I’m not sure what the culprit was for my slight success—it could be thanks to my skincare products or the fish oil shots, but either way, I’m not complaining. Dr. Lolis reassured me that just like anything with the body, we can't expect to see results overnight. I’m right at the end of my one-month journey with fish oil, and even though I haven’t seen grandiose changes in my skin, I’m going to stick with it. With my face, I’ve learned to accept the smaller-scaled wins. I’ll take brighter, more moisturized skin over what I was dealing with any day.
Up next, check out seven pantry staples that’ll seriously give you better skin.