Fish Oil

How Cod Liver Oil Can Benefit the Skin

I Took Daily Shots of Cod Liver Oil—This Is What They Did to My Skin

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 it. 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, 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 would help my skin. So the moment I caught on to the craze that is cod liver oil, which purportedly has insane skin benefits, I was game to try it.

Keep scrolling to find out how fish oil changed my complexion.

Cod Liver Oil Type of Ingredient: Fatty acid Main Benefits: Decreases hyperpigmentation, decreases inflammation, and balances cholesterol and blood pressure. Who Should Use It: Anyone How Often Can You Use It: You can take it daily. Works Well With: N/A Don't Use With: "It’s important to caution readers to be careful not to consume too much vitamin A and D and to discuss with a medical provider before starting any new dietary supplements," says Murphy-Rose.

What Is Cod Liver Oil?

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"Cod liver oil is extracted from the liver of codfish," says Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist practicing at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York. In other words, it's extracted similarly to another all-star skincare ingredient: fish oil, though that comes from different types of fish. "Fish oil comes from the flesh of various different types of fatty fish like herring, mackerel, anchovies, or others," notes Murphy-Rose.

As a dietary supplement, cod liver is available in capsule form or raw and unprocessed oil form. Most supplement bottles will tell you that a common dose is one to two teaspoons per day (any more than that, and you'd likely be ingesting too much of a good thing). "It’s important to caution readers to be careful not to consume too much vitamin A and D and to discuss with a medical provider before starting any new dietary supplements," says Murphy-Rose.

Benefits Associated With Cod Liver Oil

Decreases hyperpigmentation

Decreases inflammation

Balances blood pressure and cholesterol

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 Margarita Lolis, MD, a 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.

Those fatty acids are key, as they contain a world of good-for-your-skin benefits. "Omega-3 fatty acids have several likely skin benefits, including reducing inflammation, which can improve various skin conditions like acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema, and enhancing skin barrier function, which may aid skin hydration," says Murphy-Rose.

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 ($40).

What to Expect from Cod Liver Oil

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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.

Cod Liver Oil vs. Fish Oil

If it seems strikingly similar to fish oil, that's because, well, it (technically) is. But just because cod liver oil also comes from fish doesn't mean it has the same chemical makeup.

"Both cod liver oil and fish oil are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids and can provide many health benefits, including reducing inflammation, boosting mood and combatting depression, improving blood triglyceride levels, and lowering blood pressure," says Murphy-Rose. But cod liver oil has additional benefits, too. "Cod liver oil, unlike fish oil, provides a rich dietary source of vitamins A and D, which are associated with additional skin benefits. These include preventing signs of skin aging, improving skin healing, and regulating skin cell turnover, which can reduce acne breakouts, improve dry skin, and smooth bumpy skin in those with keratosis pilaris."

We love Rosita's cod liver oil because it includes authentic Norwegian cod and is raw and unprocessed, in addition to its host of vitamins and nutritional benefits.

Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil $56.00 Shop

Side Effects

While I didn't experience any side effects during my cod liver oil experiment, I checked in with 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. 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.

Fish Oil Benefits: Here's What You Need To Know

As if those health benefits weren't persuasive enough, there's also scientific research and nutrition claims that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish also protect the skin against sun damage and nourish hair follicles.


But making sense of all the findings on fish oil -- not to mention swallowing that pill -- is no easy task. So we asked facialist and skincare creator Ildi Pekar, consulting dermatologist for L'Oreal Paris Flor Mayoral, M.D. and Matrix celebrity stylist Nick Stenson to lay it straight.

The fatty acids in fish oil supply hydration to your skin and help with inflammation.

"Taking any kind of fish oil is like putting oil in your engine to run smoothly," says Pekar. "Fish oil is great for your heart and health but especially your skin," reducing acne and warding off wrinkles.

Dr. Mayoral agrees, adding that most dermatologic literature points to two properties of fish that help us out. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties while low-glycemic foods like fish benefit people with psorasis, non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma.

Fish oil also provides strength and shine to fragile or weakened hair.

A report published in the January 2013 issue of Dermatologic Clinics focused on nutrition and hair found that fatty acid deprivation or deficiency can lead to hair color changes or loss. This is why Stenson is such a huge advocate for using hair care products like this that are enriched with fatty acids, in conjunction with consuming fish oil, to boost luminosity, as well as resistance to breakage.


Fish oil is best taken orally so your body can extract the omega-3s to achieve healthy, beautiful skin and hair.

"One of the most special things about omega-3s in fish oil is that it caters to the natural oils we produce in our body helping us to be maintained and balanced," says Pekar. "Topical use does not affect your skin like it would if your body would to digest it." This is largely in part because most people need more omega-3s in their diet.

While there are few recommended doses for fish oil, a study published in the 2012 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded that excess consumption of fish oil can lead to side effects, including fishy aftertaste, abdominal pain, diarrhea and easy bruising/bleeding. So consult a physician first and be sure to read supplement labels, opting for non-processed fish oil. And if you're vegan, try flax, chia or even walnuts.

How Cod Liver Oil Can Benefit the Skin

If you’re looking for a natural and effective way to improve the look and feel of your skin, you should consider cod liver oil. This is a very old skin treatment that many people are rediscovering. Cod liver oil benefits the skin in a number of ways. Whether you’re looking for skin treatment for yourself or seeking cod liver oil wholesale distributors so you can offer products to your customers, the following are the top reasons cod liver oil for skin is so beneficial.

Why Cod Liver Oil For Skin is Beneficial

As the name suggests, cod liver oil is derived from the liver of cod. For many centuries, cod liver oil has been recommended as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments. Cod liver oil benefits skin as well as many other parts of the body. One reason cod liver oil for skin is so beneficial is that it’s rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin D, which are both essential for healthy skin. It’s also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Many people take fish oil supplements to increase their intake of omega-3s. Among many other benefits, these healthy fats help maintain healthy skin. Cod liver oil contains both EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids.

Top Cod Liver Oil For Skin Benefits

Cod liver oil for skin is only one of many ways you can improve the health of your skin. Most practices that support your general health, such as a nutritious diet, exercise, and drinking sufficient water, are good for your skin as well. However, you can do even more by taking a supplement rich in omega-3s. Here are some of the most important ways cod liver oil benefits skin health.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Inflammation is a factor in many ailments and it can also affect the skin. Inflammation often occurs when the immune system is compromised. This can cause, among many other conditions throughout the body, skin issues such as redness, swelling, pimples, itching, or a burning sensation. One way cod liver oil benefits skin is due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Certain skin conditions such as redness, itching, or swelling can be caused by inflammation. Cod liver oil for skin can help you reduce these symptoms.

Helps Manage Stress

Stress is an underlying issue for conditions affecting the entire body, including the skin. Many people take cod liver oil and other omega-3 supplements for their anti-inflammatory properties, which are also related to stress levels. Evidence shows that higher levels of stress, whether from sleep deprivation, lifestyle, or environmental factors can weaken the skin barrier, allowing toxins to be absorbed. A lack of healthy fats in the diet can contribute to stress, which takes its toll on the skin. In addition to taking a cod liver oil supplement, it’s wise to look for ways to reduce stress in your life.

May Prevent Acne

People of all ages suffer from pimples and cysts caused by acne. Acne can have several causes and more research is needed to determine if omega-3 fish oils such as cod liver oil can be a cure. However, if your acne is caused by inflammation, taking cod liver oil for skin as part of your overall skin care regimen may help.

Moisturizes The Skin

One way that cod liver oil benefits skin is by helping to keep it hydrated. Millions of people buy skincare products to combat dry skin. Research indicates that EPA and DHA fats can help prevent or treat conditions such as dry skin, psoriasis, and eczema.

Protects The Skin From Sun Damage

One way cod liver oil benefits skin is by providing protection from the sun. Exposure to UV rays can cause skin damage. Using cod liver oil for skin may help to reduce the skin’s sensitivity to these rays. Of course, it’s also necessary to use sunblock and to avoid prolonged sun exposure, especially during hours when the sun is most powerful.

Prevents Wrinkles

As we age, the skin loses some of its elasticity, which causes wrinkles. While this is a natural process, it can be slowed down by certain lifestyle and dietary measures such as staying hydrated, avoiding too much direct sunlight, and eating a healthy diet. Cod liver oil benefits skin appearance, hydration, and elasticity as well.

Best Ways to Use Cod Liver Oil For Skin

When people learn that cod liver oil benefits skin in numerous ways, they may wonder about the best way to consume or apply it. You can eat more fish, including cod. However, this isn’t always convenient and not everyone likes to eat fish regularly. The most convenient method for most people is to take a cod liver oil supplement.

Because fish oil has a noticeable odor, applying it directly to the skin is not usually desirable. Taking cod liver oil capsules is a safe and simple way to take advantage of cod liver oil benefits. Another advantage of capsules or another type of ingestible supplement is that you can keep track of the dosage precisely and adjust it as needed. These are some reasons that cod liver oil for skin is often best to take internally.

Finding the Best Cod Liver Oil Wholesale Companies

Because cod liver benefits skin as well as supports overall health, many people are seeking quality supplements. If you sell nutritional supplements, there are many cod liver oil wholesale manufacturers that can provide you with quality products to meet your customers’ needs. Here are some considerations to keep in mind.

• Freshness and Purity — Fish oil products must be preserved as they can go rancid. Research the company’s process for ensuring freshness, which may include distillation and storing products at low temperatures.

• Purity — When comparing the quality of cod liver oil wholesale manufacturers, purity is a key issue. As with all fish, customers are rightly concerned about PCB, mercury, and other pollutants. Fish oil products should be filtered and purified to ensure that contaminants are minimized.

• Services offered — In addition to cod liver oil wholesale manufacturing, you may want additional services such as warehousing, labeling, shipping. You may want a company that offers private labeling, which lets you sell products exclusively under your brand name.

When researching cod liver oil wholesale companies, be sure to find one that has all the services you need and that makes high quality products that your customers will appreciate.

Cod Liver Oil Benefits Skin and More

Although it has been used all over the world for years, many people are just discovering that cod liver oil benefits skin in many ways. Depending on the skin condition, other therapies and lifestyle changes may be needed as well. More people than ever are buying nutritional supplements, especially products that can support health in multiple ways, including skincare. Cod liver oil, with its dense nutritional profile and omega-3 fatty acids, is such a product.

If you are seeking the highest quality cod liver oil wholesale products, it’s important to choose a manufacturer that meets your needs and standards. We offer the purest, highest quality cod liver oil and other supplements. For more information, contact us.

Eric Carter