Almost everyone goes through acne during puberty and there are cases when the skin condition persists even through adulthood. Severe acne breakouts can negatively affect a person’s self-esteem and confidence, and frustration usually tags along in the difficult pursuit of an acne supplement that actually works.
Aside from puberty, there are many causes for acne ranging from genetics to inflammation. Many products are available in the market that promises quick and effective treatment, but most of them fail to deliver and even become the cause of more breakouts or other health concerns. Fortunately there are natural supplements for acne in the form of vitamins and minerals that have promising results in the treatment of the zits. These supplements are best coupled with the right lifestyle and proper dietary choices in order to be truly effective.
Read on and find out what are the best supplements for acne:
Best Supplements for Acne
Magnesium is tied to hundreds of important biochemical reactions that take place in the body including hormonal balance. A deficiency in the mineral can trigger an imbalance which then leads to increased sebum production and acne. Other indications that you may be lacking in magnesium include headache, constipation, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Stress is also a deficiency symptom that can play a role in exacerbated acne breakouts. The magnesium-rich Epsom salt is a good remedy for acne and its use is as easy as mixing it with water and rubbing it on the affected areas. For a soothing bath that can also reach your back acne, toss in two cups of Epsom salts in the tub and soak in it for half an hour. Magnesium supplements are best taken with calcium as it aids with the renewal of cells and antioxidant production to counter inflammation-induced acne. Magnesium and calcium combination supplements are also available so you can easily obtain both minerals in just one capsule.
It may come to you as a surprise that the things that thrive on your gut can be a factor in having an acne-free face. Probiotics are called the “good bacteria” that keep the gut free from so-called “bad bacteria” and ensure good health and other benefits for the body. If these bad bacteria outnumber and overwhelm your microbial defenses then health issues can occur. Probiotics are also found to have a connection with skin conditions. A Russian study published in 2001 at the journal Klinicheskaia Meditsina revealed that acne patients have weakened gut flora and correcting the problem resulted in shorter treatment times for acne. So if you notice that your skin is having problems then you better check how things fare inside your body. Lacto-fermented vegetables are a good source of probiotics; non-pasteurized fermented raw milk is also a viable option but some people actually have dairy products as acne triggers. The yogurt you find at the grocery store may not have enough probiotics in them (not to mention the possibility of being loaded with unhealthy ingredients). Probiotic supplements in capsule form are not very reliable as you are not sure if the good bacteria inside of them are still alive despite the claims on their packaging.
Research conducted in Turkey discovered that people with severe acne had lower levels of zinc. Other studies have been conducted to determine the efficacy of the mineral on acne with varying (but mostly positive) results. Its antimicrobial properties make short work of bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes and reduce breakout, while its anti-inflammatory capabilities hinder the triggering of acne by inflammation. This pretty much explains why a deficiency in zinc paves the way for more acne breakouts although it may not hold true for everyone. Oral intake of zinc supplements is more recommended than using topical preparations as the former are more effective, and the latter are found to barely show any improvement with acne. Zinc picolinate, zinc methionine, and zinc gluconate are the most bioavailable forms of the mineral in the market and are the ones best for acne.
We all grew up knowing that vitamin A is crucial in maintaining good eyesight. However not all of us know that vitamin A comes from different sources namely carotenoids and retinols. Retinols are found mostly in organ meats, dairy products, and eggs. They fight off acne by reducing production of sebum and formation of androgens, prevents oxidation of fats (which leads to inflammation), and prevents pores from getting clogged by sloughed dead skin cells. Carotenoid sources of vitamin A are plentiful in orange-yellow fruits and vegetables and exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Stick to dietary sources and never take supplement forms of vitamin A unless advised by a physician as overdosing on it has some serious health consequences. 10,000 IU’s of retinol per day is the recommended intake amount of vitamin A for acne.
Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in fatty fish and fish oils. It is a very powerful anti-inflammatory that can work wonders with acne caused by inflammation. Omega-3 targets LTB4 and PGE2, better known as inflammatory chemicals that can cause severe breakouts of acne. Supplementation of this fatty acid also bestows other benefits like better heart health and lower blood pressure levels. Walnut, canola, and flax oils are also good sources of omega-3.
Selenium is a mineral whose antioxidant properties help protect the skin from the ravages of toxins in the environment that are potential acne triggers, and it also reduces inflammation and instances of those bulging red acne on your cheeks. It is also among the ingredients of the natural antioxidant glutathione, another antioxidant that fends off acne breakouts and restores other antioxidants that have been used up by the body. Selenium is best taken along with zinc as it enhances the latter’s anti-acne effects by helping in the transport of zinc towards the cells. Some of the food sources of selenium include Brazil nuts, brewer’s yeast, garlic, shellfish, organ meats, egg, alfalfa, fenugreek, and ginseng. The mineral takes time before its effects on acne show up so best be patient when you start stocking up on selenium. Avoid overeating selenium-rich foods or overdosing on supplements as this can lead to symptoms like baldness, tooth decay, and mental fatigue.
The second most famous beverage has a slew of health benefits for those who drink it regularly. Catechins are among the antioxidants that swim around in tea and are responsible for protecting the skin from acne-triggering inflammatory damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. The antioxidants also reduce the sensitivity of skin towards ultraviolet radiation. Green tea creams provide the same benefits while reducing the production of sebum on the skin without any kind of side effects unlike other topical products. You can further enhance the antioxidant value of your cup of tea by brewing it for four minutes and do not add milk to the mix as it weakens catechin content. Green tea capsules are viable alternatives but do not provide other antioxidants aside from catechins and also do not impart that relaxing feeling wrought by sipping a warm cup.
Take note that this article is written for informational purposes only based on research. Do not substitute this or anything else you read online for actual advice from a professional. Seek first the opinion of your dermatologist regarding these supplements (or other things you stumble upon on the Internet) to determine what works for you, how much do you need, and to avoid possible complications that may arise. Remember that not all supplements work for everybody, so what works for someone may not work for you.
Have you tried any of these supplements for acne? Do you know others that are effective but were not mentioned above? Let us know in the comments.