Acne Supplements and Vitamins for Acne Prone Skin
You wake up in the morning, and the first thing you do is to check yourself out in front of the bathroom mirror to see if you’ve managed to look like Sleeping Beauty after she got her true love’s kiss. But as you peer closer, your body lets out an inner scream - there’s not one, but MULTIPLE patches of unsightly acne ravaging your skin. At this moment, you wonder to yourself, “Could hormones be the culprit behind this?”
What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition whereby the pores on the face are blocked with oil, dead skin cells, or bacteria. While acne affects people of all ages, it usually occurs among teenagers. Common acne-prone areas include the upper back, face, forehead, and shoulders. Depending on the level of severity, acne can cause deep emotional distress and permanently scar the skin, making early treatment extremely important.
How do I know if my acne is hormonal?
Hormones are often blamed for being one of the causes of acne flare-ups. There are several signs to note before labelling hormones as the source of your acne breakouts.
You are no longer a teenager
Unfortunately, most women in their 20s and 30s will experience acne breakouts due to fluctuating hormonal levels. Aside from age, genetics may also have a hand in determining when hormonal surges occur.
You notice pimples appearing on your chin and jawline
While most dermatologists have yet to discover why acne tends to appear in these areas (particularly in women), they largely agree that this may be linked to excess hormones stimulating the oil glands within that area.
You notice breakouts happening once a month
Similar to menstrual cycles, hormonal acne often follows a monthly pattern whereby estrogen and progesterone levels are constantly changing. Hormonal acne also tends to resurface in the same area each month, thanks to the previous acne widening your pores. This phenomenon may vary from person to person.
When you’re under stressful circumstances, your stress hormone, cortisol, is most likely the one who’s responsible for causing your other hormones to spiral out of control.
Your acne are painful cysts
Hormonal acne often manifests itself in the form of painful cysts that grow way deeper beneath the skin and are difficult to be extracted. It is attributed to high accumulation of oil which subsequently leads to inflammation. These cysts are also likely to reappear every once in a while at the same spot.
What vitamins help with hormonal acne?
If you resonate with any of the painful issues mentioned above, it is time you look for some help to calm the hormones that are causing angry acne.
Some vitamins can help with acne. However, it is always important to check with your doctor. Different bodies react differently to the introduction of certain vitamins.
If you have done a Google search on vitamins that prevent or help treat acne, you’ll see a list of vitamins that you are encouraged to take. However, you should pause and think about what your body is lacking.
From your simple search, you might be recommended to take fish oil, vitamin B, vitamin D and the like, but the fact of the matter is, too much or too little of these vitamins can cause acne. There are very few vitamins that will help fight acne when taken at the correct dosage, and here, we will look at two.
Out of all the research done on vitamins and minerals that can help with hormonal acne, zinc has the most substantial study. Based on a study, exponential response toward inflammatory lesions caused by acne was seen when zinc levels are raised in the body through oral intake of zinc. They concluded that oral zinc has a definite role in the treatment of acne.
Acne sufferers usually have low zinc levels. According to Dr Stephanie Gray of Integrative Health and Hormone, zinc deficiency can lead to hormonal acne.
To be more specific, we looked at another study on zinc therapy. By taking zinc orally, it is found that zinc gluconate, specifically, is useful in managing inflammatory acne.
Zinc gluconate is safe for any skin, whether you have oily, dry or dehydrated skin. It is also easily absorbed into your bloodstream upon consumption.
If you suspect your zinc levels are low, you can always do a quick check with your doctor. If it is low, you can opt to take zinc gluconate supplements, such as the NOW® ZINC 50MG 100S. Zinc gluconate does not only help with acne, but it also plays a crucial role in enzymatic functions of the body, such as your DNA synthesis.
You’ve probably heard about how vitamin D is good for skin, but is it good when you are suffering from hormonal acne?
First, let’s look at what vitamin D is.
It is a fat-soluble vitamin present in very few of our food and often taken as a supplement. Also called the sunshine vitamin, you can get vitamin D by being exposed to the sun.
Okay, what is important about vitamin D is taking it in moderation. As you might already know, going out under the sun for long hours for the sake of vitamin D is not going to help your skin but age the skin.
According to a study looking at the broad effects of vitamin D, it is found that supplemental vitamin D is the preferred recommendation for achieving optimum levels of it. When you take vitamin D supplements, you are aware of how much you are consuming, and you can avoid the effects of its deficiency or surplus.
Similar to zinc intake, it is best to ask your doctor for a thorough check to find out if you do have vitamin D deficiency. If you do, then it is best to start taking vitamin D supplements. You can try Holistic Way Vitamin D3 1000IU. It does not only help with acne but your overall skin health.
What foods cause acne?
More important than what you eat to treat acne is what you eat to prevent it from even happening. We all know the saying, prevention is better than cure. To prevent hormonal acne, we need to help it by not feeding it acne-causing food.
Three sinful foods cause acne, and we break it down here:
Sugar is bad news for our body. Our taste buds love it, but not our body. From soft drinks to desserts, white rice and white bread, it is difficult to divorce our food with sugar.
In a research on nutrition and acne, it is found that significant sugar content affects the serum insulin that will directly promote the increased production of androgens (a male hormone present in male and female, that, when it access, causes acne). It then causes the development of acne.
Technically, refined carbohydrates like pasta, pastries and even many kinds of cereal turn into sugar in the body. In a study done in 2014, they found that carbohydrates emerge as the main culprit when it comes to acne. The review showed evidence that refined carbohydrates (also known as food with high glycemic index) caused acne. It encourages dermatologists to inform their patients to reduce their intake of refined carbohydrates to see results.
Therefore, some dieting specialists like Diet Doctor are suggesting that a low carb or keto diet that involves carb restriction might be helpful to clear acne.
If you are suffering from hormonal acne and am a ‘certified’ dairy lover, you might be horrified to know that dairy does have a link with acne severity. It is because of the bovine hormones that remain in the milk after processing. It also depends on what hormones the cows are treated with.
In a study looking at dairy intake and acne development, it was found that whole milk, low-fat and even skim milk has a positive link to acne. However, there was no significant association between yoghurt and cheese when it comes to acne development.
If you think your dairy intake is causing acne, you can go ona simple diet that omits milk (or any dairy) for a minimum of four weeks. If you see a significant improvement, you will know that it is the milk that is messing up with the hormones in your body and causing the acne. When doing this omission, remember to check the labels of all the food you eat to ensure there is no dairy hidden inside.
Do supplements cause acne?
Yes, some supplements do cause acne. We are looking at only two supplements that might be the culprit behind the acne (if you are taking it in large doses), but it is still needed by your body. Maybe you are just consuming too much of it.
However, in matters concerning supplements, it is always important to, again, check with your doctor.
Too little or too much vitamin B can cause acne. There is a constant debate going on around the idea that vitamin B is causing and preventing acne. To clear the air, we’d like to say that too much vitamin B will cause acne. However, that does not mean that you omit vitamin B from your diet.
Though there are findings that vitamin B12 (cobalamin) when applied topically, can reduce inflammation and acne. There are also reports stating that this vitamin feeds acne-causing bacteria on the skin.
Then there is vitamin B6 that is said to target hormonal or premenstrual acne. When used together with vitamin B12, it seems to help clear acne. As of now, there is no distinct study that states whether both the vitamins are good for acne, but many have claimed that vitamin B12 does cause acne when taken in larger than needed doses.
Think about multivitamins as a remedy for all your possible vitamin deficiencies. It seems like a one-size-fits-all, but sometimes, it can do more harm than good - when it comes to acne. They generally contain 13 vitamins and at least 16 minerals that are essential for your wellbeing.
It also usually contains high doses of vitamin B12, biotin and calcium that, when in access through your multivitamin intake, causes acne. Plus, there is not enough acne fighting vitamins and minerals in the multivitamins (although they are somewhere inside there).
Multivitamins cannot be the cure to an unhealthy diet. You still need to feed yourself good stuff.
How can I get clear skin fast?
If you wake up with volcanic acne and you’ve got somewhere to go, look at some ways to help reduce the redness or get clearer skin in a few ways.
It helps to reduce the redness and inflammation. Therefore, the redness will not demand attention after you’ve put a layer of foundation over it.
After washing your face, treat it with either tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. Do not overdo it as you do not want to over-dry your face.
See the doctor and get prescribed Accutane
Accutane is an oral medication that helps with severe acne. It clears acne off quite quickly. It reduces the production of sebum and kills bacteria that cause acne and inflammation. There are cases of side effects, so you will have to check with your doctor.
CAUTION: Never pop your acne
Not even with a sterilised needle or your fingers!
Unless you are in the hands of a professional, trying to pop your pimple will result in scarring and the damaging of your dermis because of the pressure you put by popping them. It irritates the skin and causes it to be redder and ‘angrier’.
What is the best acne treatment?
It is a blend of many good habits. You need to be mindful of:
You are what you eat, still rings true. Consuming food that is high in fibre such as oatmeal, beans, and apples can help lower the blood sugar level and help prevent acne. Adding nuts to your diet (they are rich in zinc) can help as well. You can also cut back on processed food that often contains more salt and sugar than needed.
Try eating more fresh food such as leafy green vegetables and blueberries (rich in antioxidants). If you are looking to drink something with taste, try green tea (without sugar).
Water helps regulate the food in your body. Strive to drink at least eight glasses a day. Gulp one down with your supplements!
Skin care regime
You cannot eat well and ignore your skin’s urgent needs. Don’t get lazy because the surface of your skin needs love. Be sure to:
- Wash your skin with gentle face wash, one that does not strip off all the natural oils on your skin.
- Use only one topical treatment for acne (toothpaste is NOT recommended).
- Ladies, always remove your makeup and wash your face thoroughly before you go to sleep. Makeup can clog your pores and cause acne.
- Use chemical exfoliants instead of physical ones like scrubs. Chemical exfoliants are gentler to the skin. Try serums with alpha hydroxy acids or beta hydroxy acids. They are widely available at skincare counters.
Amount of sleep
Your body needs to rest to reset itself. Take time to unwind before going to bed so you get a more restful sleep. Six to eight hours of sleep is recommended.
What are the best vitamins for acne scars?
There are three main vitamins that help with acne scars. You can take them orally or apply them topically as part of your skincare regime.
Known as the ‘healing’ vitamin, it encourages healing. A research found that supplementation of vitamins C, E and the mineral zinc can enhance antioxidant protection and heals wounds faster. Vitamin E is rich in nuts, avocado and spinach. Try DERMA E TEA TREE & VITAMIN E OIL, a blend of 75% Tea Tree with 25% Vitamin E. Antioxidant Vitamin E is added to help counteract the drying effect of Tea Tree oil, effectively helping the healing of acne.
Accutane (as mentioned above) is a strong derivative dose of vitamin A. However, you can also take or apply vitamin A without the super-drying side effects brought about through Accutane consumption. You can consume food rich in carotenoids like carrots or apply retinol serums on your face at night that will greatly help with skin cell regeneration.
Vitamin C is a good vitamin for your well being. You can also apply it topically on your skin through serums, moisturisers or facial oils. It fights free-radicals that make your skin (especially if it is ridden with acne scars) look brighter. It also acts hand in hand with collagen to renew your skin faster so your scars will fade out.
As you have probably noticed, curing acne is a sum of different lifestyle and habit changes. More so if it is hormonal. You should always get your blood checked by the doctor to see if there are any issues you will have to look into and what medications or diets you’ll have to start to help with your breakouts.
Don’t be dismayed, with proper care and management, your acne will go away, and you’ll have clearer, smoother skin.
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