Are there health or nutritional supplements that work as remedies for acne?
Most health or nutritional supplements promoted as remedies for acne are vitamin or mineral supplements. There are no known clinical studies that have shown that certain health or nutritional supplements act as ‘miracle cures’ or as fast remedies for acne. Browsing the internet, however, you will find much anecdotal evidence of how taking health or nutritional supplements cured someone’s acne.
While the story may be true and taking such supplements may have worked for that person, it must be remembered that the cause and trigger of each person’s acne are different.
Having said that though, multivitamins and nutritional or health supplements are good if for example, you have a vitamin or mineral deficiency or if your body needs more to combat the effects of hormonal changes during puberty. Certain supplements are also promoted as supplements for repairing damage to the skin from acne lesions. Some researchers have noted the correlation between vitamin or mineral deficiency and the development of acne.
Examples of health or nutritional supplements promoted as improving acne
Vitamin A supplements
Commonly prescribed acne medication known as ‘retinoids’ contains vitamin A derivatives. Vitamin A supplements may be consumed to facilitate skin growth and skin repair. It is also thought to control the overproduction of oil on the skin surface.
Foods rich in vitamin A include bananas, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, and offal.
Vitamin A supplement may be taken by teens with vitamin A deficiency. Warning: consult your doctor before taking vitamin A supplements if you are pregnant as vitamin A overdose may damage the fetus.
Vitamin E supplements
Vitamin E stimulates cell regeneration of the skin and promotes skin repair. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that complements vitamin A. Foods rich in vitamin E include green leafy vegetables, nuts, avocados, and vegetable oils.
A lack of vitamin E is thought to cause excessively dry skin which can worsen acne or exacerbate the development of acne.
Vitamin C supplements
Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant that helps the immune system, reduces the effects of sun damage, and promotes skin repair. In acne-prone skin, Vitamin C helps to stabilize sebum levels and exfoliates, cleanses and softens the skin.
Foods rich in vitamin C include oranges, lemons, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, and grapefruit.
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D assists in the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. The main source of vitamin D is sunlight. Vitamin D is thought to be decrease insulin resistance, which is connected to acne caused by hormonal changes in the body, particularly in men.
Vitamin D supplements are useful for teens who are not getting enough sunlight on a daily basis.
Zinc is an essential mineral and an antioxidant. Zinc contains anti-inflammatory properties that may help to reduce acne development. Zinc may also play an important role in modulating serum testosterone levels in normal men. Testosterone is a steroid hormone known as androgen, which is also present in women.
Foods rich in zinc include oysters, beef, nuts, and beans.
If testosterone levels are not controlled, it increases the production of sebum. When there is too much sebum, skin follicles can get clogged and acne forms.
Selenium is an essential mineral and an antioxidant. Selenium combines with vitamin E to neutralize free radicals, which are particles that damage the skin. Selenium deficiency may worsen acne scars.
Essential fatty acid supplements (Omega 3)
Omega-3 fatty acids help to decrease inflammatory conditions such as acne.