Thought acne was something only teenagers worried about? Think again. Adult acne is on the rise with many women reporting cases of persistent of outbreaks that extend far beyond their teens. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to treat acne and control outbreaks—no matter what your age.
While there’s no single cause for acne, experts agree that lacking certain nutrients may play a role. These are the vitamins, minerals, and herbs that support healthy skin and may help stop those embarrassing breakouts. A great place to start is getting the right nutrients.
“Specific amounts of these supportive nutrients vary by person, health status, medications, or other illnesses,” says Dr Low Chai Ling. For this reason, it is always best to work with knowledgeable practitioners to discover the underlying causes of acne for you and use supplements that are suited to your needs in the amounts appropriate for you. Here are some tips to give you a headstart on clearer future.
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Two of the key roles vitamin A plays in your body are both incredibly beneficial for your largest organ: your skin. Not only does vitamin A protect against the sun’s harmful rays, but it also helps fight infection and inflammation—and even slows down signs of aging. That’s why retinol, a vitamin A derivative, is a go-to ingredient in prescribed treatments for keeping skin firm, youthful—free of acne. Studies show a reduction in acne-related skin conditions when retinol-containing serums and other skin-care products were used. The research shows that it’s best to use vitamin A topically as opposed to in supplement form, especially when acne is concerned, since digesting a dose of more than 10,000 international units (IUs) can lead to a condition known as hypervitaminosis A.
Try: Super Helper, a retinol-containing serum that helps to accelerate cell turnover and minimise acne
We all know vitamin C and its role on collagen building and complexion brightening. Recently, vitamin C has emerged as an acne treatment solution instead of antibiotics. “It is well known in the medical field that vitamin C has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to safely treat various skin diseases,” says Dr Low “When vitamin C is supplied directly to the skin, it promotes collagen synthesis, inhibits melanin production, and scavenges free radicals, thereby restoring and brightening damaged skin left in the wake of an acne breakout.”
Try: Citrine, a potent vitamin C formulation that gives you quick effective skin results.
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The “b” in “B-complex vitamins” might as well stand for beauty, because several of them, particularly B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), and B6 (pyridoxine) play an overall role in physiological function. “B vitamins assist in enzyme activation but also have multiple functions in the body—for hormone production and balance. When it comes to your skin, B vitamins aid in reducing dryness and flakiness associated with acne, which is why they’re found in plenty of topical moisturizers” says Dr Low. However, you can also take them in supplement form.
Try: Pink Sake, a vitamin B enriched rice cream that soothes and clarifies skin holistically.
Whether taken orally or topically, zinc is a nutrient that can reduce acne inflammation significantly Research shows people with acne have lower levels of zinc than people with clear skin, and that supplementing can reduce acne by 50%. In this post I’ll go over these, and other, reasons why anyone with acne should consider zinc. A French study published in the 1990 showed that zinc gluconate (200mg/day) was as effective as minocycline (100 mg/day).
Try: Zinc supplements especially if you are not eating enough oysters, poultry or red meat.
This fat-soluble vitamin is also an antioxidant, which means it helps prevent fats from oxidizing in the body. This is especially important when it comes to your skin, as the oxidation of sebum (the oily substance that comes out of your whiteheads and blackheads when you pop them) is known to spread bacteria across your face and lead to acne. Vitamin E helps prevent this spread of bacteria, and also ensures that vitamin A functions properly on the skin. Vitamin E is a popular ingredient in skin-care products and also occurs naturally in deliciously healthy foods, like almonds, avocados, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, spinach, and more.
Supplement Recommendations to Treat Acne
|Some dosages may be supplied by supplements you are already taking.|
|Vitamin A||Dosage: 25,000 IU a day; reduce dose to 10,000 IU a day when healing is noticed or after 1 month. Use pills or drops.
Comments: Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not exceed 5,000 IU a day.
|Vitamin B6||Dosage: 50 mg each morning.
Comments: Long-term doses of more than 200 mg a day for chronic acne can cause nerve damage.
|Vitamin C||Dosage: 1,000 mg twice a day.
Comments: Reduce dose if diarrhea develops.
|Zinc/Copper||Dosage: 30 mg zinc and 2 mg copper a day.
Comments: Add copper only when using zinc longer than 1 month.
|Flaxseed oil||Dosage: 1 tbsp. (14 grams) a day.
Comments: Can be mixed with food; take in the morning.
|Evening primrose oil||Dosage: 1,000 mg 3 times a day.
Comments: Can substitute 1,000 mg borage oil once a day.
This nutrient not only keeps bones strong, but also plays a vital role in skin health. Most of us get this nutrient from exposure to the sun’s UV rays, so if you live in northern areas of the country that don’t see much warm sunlight, especially in winter, you might be deficient in vitamin D. In fact, according to the journal Nutrition Research, nearly half of all U.S. adults are deficient in vitamin D. Another study, published in PLOS One, which analyzed vitamin D’s impact on patients suffering from acne, found that those more likely to suffer from acne also suffered from a vitamin D deficiency. Make sure you know the signs of a vitamin D deficiency.
Try: Get a healthy dose of the sun (but not too much) if you have been indoors for too long.
This nutrient is known to fight against illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, but one thing it’s less known for is its ability to ward off acne. In fact, one study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Dermato-Venereologica, found that among people suffering from acne, those with the most severe cases also showed significantly lower levels of selenium.
Try: selenium supplement if you are not loading up on selenium-containing foods, such as Brazil nuts, Yellowfin tuna, halibut, sardines, and grass-fed beef.
Tips For Healthier Skin
Keep hydrated. You will reap health benefits in many ways – especially during exercise – by seeing that your body gets all the water that it needs. When it comes to the skin that you’re in, you can do yourself a favour and keep it from sagging, getting dry, red and flaky by keeping hydrated.
Get your antioxidants. Vitamins are not some little-known secret – our aforementioned list is essential in keeping your skin in good health, especially the ones with antioxidant properties. Along with daily supplements, keep an eyes our for superfoods that contain all the antioxidants you can get.
Limit contact with the sun. The sun is good for you in many ways, especially as a source of vitamin D, but it is also a very good way to damage your skin. Absorb it in moderation, wear sun cream and moisturise afterwards.
Pollution is bad. Really? you say. Not to point out the obvious, but you maybe didn’t also realise that one of the ways pollution can affect you is by damaging your skin. Sometimes the level of pollution indoors can be worse than it is outside, so keeping plants in your house can cure the air as a kind of filter.
Get your rest. Sleep helps by allowing your skin to repair. Getting into a routine also helps with stress, which we have established is a real problem for healthy skin, so do your best to get into a sleeping a pattern and bring your stress levels down before you hit the hay.
Work out. Exercise enhances your mood and bodily functions due to the flow of blood and oxygen. This affects your skin, sending the essential nutrients from your diet to your skin. It also helps to keep your stress levels in check, not to mention that sweating is a great way to flush out unwanted grime.