Acne can have various different causes including genetics, stress, hormone changes and using the wrong skincare. It also may be linked to your diet and whether you are getting the right nutrition, or eating the wrong foods. Taking certain vitamin supplements may be able to help clear your acne and improve the texture and quality of your skin. I have researched the best vitamins for acne and handpicked the top products to help clear your skin!
Studies have shown that people with certain vitamin deficiencies are more likely to have acne. One 2013 study found that levels of vitamin E, vitamin A and zinc were all significantly lower in people with acne compared to a control group.
This is interesting because it means with the correct nutrition we may be able to reduce acne and make the skin clearer. Unfortunately with our busy lifestyles it’s not always possible to eat the perfect diet, and that’s where vitamin supplements come in!
I have looked at all the vitamins that may help to reduce acne lesions and found the best products available!
This post is all about the best vitamins for acne
Best Vitamins for Acne
I should start off by saying Vitamin E deficiencies are rare. If you took this vitamin for your acne you may only see a positive effect if you had a deficiency in the first place, which, with Western diets, is unlikely.
The reason I am a big fan of vitamin E however is because of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its ability to enhance the immune system. It is because of this that Vitamin E works so well at helping acne wounds and scars to heal. You will notice vitamin E is often found in topical acne scar treatments for this very reason.
Whilst vitamin E may not clear acne alone, it’s been found that when combined with other minerals or proteins such as magnesium, lactoferrin and zinc it can be effective at improving the skin.
A 2017 study found that vitamin E combined with both lactoferrin and zinc taken twice daily significantly reduced acne lesions in people with mild to moderate acne.
Another study examined the effect of taking 20mg of Vitamin E combined with 400mcg of selenium every day for 12 weeks. All participants in the study had improvements in their acne. This is believed to be due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of both vitamin e and selenium.
Vitamin C is not a direct fix for acne but it may, like vitamin e, help to speed up the healing of acne wounds. This is because vitamin c increases collagen production which is vital for rebuilding healthy skin. Increased collagen also means diminished fine lines and more youthful looking skin.
Like vitamin e, vitamin c is a powerful antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. This means it can help to reduce the inflammation caused by acne as well as protect the skin from free radicals which cause premature ageing.
Vitamin C is also beneficial in reducing dark marks and acne scars when applied topically to the skin. It’s an excellent skin brightener and helps to reduce hyperpigmentation left on the skin from old acne scars. It creates more even complexion and promotes healthy skin.
I use the Indeed Labs Vitamin C24 every day on my skin in the morning to help reduce dark spots from acne breakouts. I have found it significantly reduced the appearance of any hyperpigmentation. It’s very powerful and a little goes a long way so you don’t need to use too much.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
I believe the most important supplement anyone with acne should be taking is omega-3 fatty acids. I discovered this after reading The Clear Skin Diet by Alan Logan and Valori Treloar, and then taking the supplements myself. There has been a marked decreased in omega-3 fatty acids in the Western diet in the last one hundred years.
What’s worrying is whilst the amount of omega 3 we are consuming has decreased, the amount of omega-6 fatty acid in our diets has gone up. Too much omega 6 from vegetable oils and too little omega 3 is well documented to promote inflammation and be a cause of acne.
The ideal ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 is 2:1 (omega 6 to omega 3) but in reality the ratio in the average Western diet is more like 20:1 due to the high amount of vegetable oils and processed foods we eat.
If you suffer from acne try to cut down the amount of vegetable oils you use, or use oils which contain low amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, such as olive oil. Also either take omega-3 fatty acid supplements or eat fatty fish twice per week.
The best omega-3 supplement I have found which contains the recommended dose and correct ratio between EPA and DHA is the Solgar Triple Strength soft gel capsules. If you are interested in the use of Omega 3 supplements in addressing acne then I also strongly recommend reading The Clear Skin Diet.
If you suffer from hormonal acne, omega 3 also helps to regulate hormones such as testosterone that trigger the overproduction of oil in the skin.
B vitamins are essential for healthy skin and may help to address skin problems linked to hormonal imbalances. Vitamin B6 in particular may help to reduce sebum production caused by an imbalance of testosterone levels.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) has also been found to help with acne and skin ageing. One 2014 study found that people who took vitamin b5 supplements for 12 weeks saw significant reductions in acne and skin inflammation.
Vitamin b3, otherwise known as Niacinamide is a popular ingredient in topical acne treatments. This is because it helps to speed up cell turnover and prevent pores from becoming clogged. I regularly use The Ordinary Niacinamide on my skin which I’ve found to be very effective.
Vitamin b9, otherwise known as folic acid can also help to reduce acne by detoxifying the body. It’s also a powerful antioxidant and helps to protect the skin cells from the free radicals that cause premature ageing.
Whilst many b vitamins are very useful for acne, it has been found that vitamin B12 can actually make acne worse, so be careful to avoid high concentrations of vitamin b12 in your supplements.
Both zinc supplements and topical zinc have been shown to be highly effective at reducing acne. There’s a topical treatment which is available on prescription in the UK called Zineryt which contains both zinc acetate and erythromycin. I found this to be the most effective topical treatment I’ve ever used.
When it comes zinc supplements, zinc gluconate and zinc sulphate were both found to be effective in improving acne. In one study zinc gluconate supplements were given to acne patients to take once a day. All the patients had moderate to severe acne and saw a significant clinical improvement.
Zinc helps by reducing the amount of oil the skin produces. I found that certain zinc supplements made my skin a bit dry so you may want to try out a few to find one you like. The one I found most effective was by Solgar.
Studies have shown that people with acne are more likely to have a vitamin d deficiency. One study divided patients into two groups, one group with acne and one without. In the group with acne 77.6% had a vitamin d deficiency whereas only 63.9% had a deficiency in the control group.
Another study showed that taking vitamin d supplements significantly improved acne inflammation. In the study 39 acne patients who had vitamin d deficiency were all given vitamin d supplements. All of them saw an improvement in their skin.
If you are looking for oral supplements to improve your overall health, vitamin D is a good one to take as it also helps with calcium absorption, immune function, and protecting bone, muscle, and heart health.
Milk thistle may be a useful supplement for people with acne. Like many of the other supplements recommended for acne, milk thistle has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. There is evidence that oxidative stress in the body is linked to acne so antioxidant supplements may be beneficial.
When it comes to milk thistle, one study found that taking 210mg of silymarin a day for eight weeks led to a decrease in acne lesions. (silymarin is an antioxidant taken from milk thistle seeds)
Topical Vitamin A
Topical vitamin a is a commonly used acne treatment. It helps by decreasing inflammation, promoting skin healing, reducing oil production and smoothing and evening the skin. Just like vitamin b3 (niacinamide) vitamin a increases cell turnover rate which results in less of a build up of dead skin cells. This means pores are less likely to become blocked and acne is reduced.
Like with any treatment that encourages cell turnover, when you first start, acne symptoms may become worse. This is because the skin is purging of impurities very quickly. Once this stage is passed you will be left with clearer skin.
Most vitamin a acne treatments are only available on prescription however you can get some less potent retinol products over the counter. CeraVe make some good topical treatments for acne which contain retinol and help to improve your overall skin health.
OTHER POSTS RELATING TO ACNE
- Best Face Mask for Acne Scars According to Dermatologists
- Homemade Face Mask for Acne: 20 Natural Recipes to Make at Home
- 21 Best Body Washes for Sensitive Acne Prone Skin
- 21 Best Toners for Oily Skin and Large Pores
- 5 Best Cerave Products for Acne that will Clear Your Skin!
- The Ordinary for Acne Scars: 9 Best Products and How to Use Them
This post was all about the best vitamins for acne
Thank you for reading my post on the best vitamins for acne. If you have tried any of my recommended products or have a suggestion please leave me a comment below.
This post is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Information about supplements, or links to third-party websites are for informational purposes only. Please consult with a doctor regarding any medical or health related diagnosis or treatment options. Pregnant women should seek advice from their doctor before using any of these products.