Best Vitamins and Supplements for Acne at GNLD
Ikorodu, Lagos, Nigeria
Vitamins and Supplements are commonly used in acne treatment either to complement regular acne medications or combined to treat acne on their own.
Generally, the supplements used in acne treatment produce far less side effects when compared to other acne remedies. This is because these supplements are naturally occurring compounds needed for normal development in the body.
These supplements improve skin health to treat acne. They can also provide additional effects through their antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities.
Some of these supplements are cofactors for enzymes in the body; some are incorporated into proteins, fatty acids or other structural compounds in the body while others simply prevent deficiencies that can result in acne.
Discussed below are 4 of the most effective supplements used in acne treatment plus one other supplement that may actually trigger acne.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is the fish oil obtained from the liver of cod fish. It is prepared in two ways: by fermentation and by chemical refining.
Cod liver oil is useful in acne treatment because of its store of Omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins A and D.
Fermented cod liver oil is preferable to refined cod liver oil because it naturally obtained and also because it contains the full complement of vitamins, cofactors and Omega-3 fatty acids.
Care should be taken while taking cod liver oil as a supplement. This is because it contains a high amount of vitamin A. Therefore, dietary sources of vitamin A may have to be avoided so as not to cause vitamin A toxicity.
Benefits of Omega-3 Fatty acids
The Omega-3 fatty acids found in cod liver oil are EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (Docosahexaenoic acid).
These Omega-3 fatty acids have a strong anti-inflammatory property and a mild antibacterial property. They can also provide some cosmetic effects on the skin by lubricating it and improving its appearance.
The antibacterial effect of Omega-3 fatty acids is useful in killing off acne-causing bacteria such asPropionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermis.
These bacteria cause a cycle of inflammation, increase sebum production and promoting the clogging of the skin pores. When these happen, the result is acne breakout which is observed from the appearance of acne lesions such as whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pimples, nodules, cysts as well as red, scaly marks and acne scars.
On the other hand, the anti-inflammatory effect is sufficient to prevent and reduce inflammatory acne lesions which appear in severe cases of acne.
Other benefits of the Omega-3 content of cod liver oil include their incorporation into structural molecules in the skin and their usefulness in restoring the natural pH of the skin.
Benefits of Vitamins A and D
Vitamin A is an essential growth factor for the epithelial cells of the skin.
It is responsible for the maturation of skin cells and by this mechanism it improves the turnover of the skin by replacing damaged skin. In this way, Vitamin A can help clear acne lesions and acne scars.
Vitamin A also reduces sebum production by reducing the inflammation of the sebaceous glands.
In the formation of acne lesions, acne-causing bacteria and male sex hormones can increase the production of sebum by causing the enlargement of the sebaceous gland.
Reducing the production of excess sebum is important in acne treatment. By doing this, vitamin A reduces the chances of bacterial infection and prevents the clogging of the skin pores by a mixture of bacteria, dead skin cells and sebum.
Vitamin D, on the other hand, is a potent antioxidant. It mops up harmful free radicals from the skin and prevents damage to the skin that can promote acne formation.
Vitamin D is also characterized as anti-comedogenic. This means that it can break down whiteheads and blackheads which are formed from the clogging of skin pores by sebum, bacteria and dead skin cells.
Besides reducing the breakout of acne comedones, vitamin D can also reduce sebum production.
Lastly, vitamin D can produce antibacterial effects by stimulating the cathelicidins which are peptides found in the cells of the sebaceous follicles.
While these peptides were shown to have sufficient antimicrobial activity to kill off P. acnes, they can also cause skin inflammation. However, the effect of vitamin D is such that it regulates these cathelicidins to provide more antimicrobial benefits and less inflammation.
Fish Oil and Acne
Fish oil is the oil obtained from the tissues of fatty fish such as cod, halibut, mackerel, tuna and catfish. The major constituents of this oil are the Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA.
The major benefit of the Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil for acne patients is the anti-inflammatory activities of EPA and DHA. These fatty acids inhibit a major inflammatory factor called leukotriene B4.
Leukotriene B4 is implicated in the formation of inflammatory acne lesions. It also increases sebum production.
The Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil also reduces the rate of keratinization and the formation of dead skin cells. Therefore, fish oil can prevent the clogging of pores by reducing the secretion of excess sebum and the formation of plugs along with dead skin cells and bacteria.
Magnesium and Acne
Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body. It has important roles in several biochemical processes in the body including energy production in the cells, enzyme activities and gene expression.
In acne treatment, magnesium helps reduce some of the causes of the skin condition. It is useful for relieving stress and for maintaining hormonal balance.
By contributing to the syntheses and regulation of different hormones, magnesium can help reduce the levels of male sex hormones such as testosterone and its metabolites.
A more specific benefit of magnesium supplementation in acne treatment is the anti-inflammatory effects produced by this mineral. Magnesium supplementation has been demonstrated to reduce skin inflammation.
This anti-inflammatory effect is mediated by reducing the plasma concentration of C-reactive protein (for systemic or internal inflammation) and E-selectin (for epithelial or skin inflammation).
E-selectin is an adhesion molecule produced in endothelial cells and activated by cytokines released after injury to the tissues of the skin such as the injuries caused by acne lesions. It binds to the leukocytes responsible for local inflammation in the skin.
To inhibit the action of these leukocytes, magnesium reduces the levels of E-selectin, and therefore, reduces the local inflammation caused at the sites of acne breakouts. By this mechanism, magnesium is effective for preventing and relieving inflammatory acne lesions.
Magnesium supplements can be combined with calcium supplements and vitamin C to improve their absorption. Because magnesium can neutralize stomach acid, it should be taken on empty stomach or preferably at bedtime so as to prevent indigestion.
Selenium and Acne
Selenium is an essential, trace element required for the optimal functioning of many antioxidant enzymes. It is also important for thyroid functioning as well as for the regulation of thyroid hormones.
In acne treatment, selenium’s major contribution is in protecting the skin by increasing the actions of antioxidants.
However, it also has an anti-inflammatory activity which is useful for relieving inflammatory acne lesions. Selenium also improves the elasticity of the skin and, therefore, can help reduce acne scars.
There are two major ways by which selenium provides antioxidant protection for the skin. First, it improves the antioxidant effects of vitamins A and E which are always prescribed alongside.
These antioxidants mop up the harmful free radicals and toxins which accumulate on the skin. By removing them, the antioxidants preserve the integrity of the skin, prevent damage to the skin itself and inhibit the actions of acne-causing bacteria.
The antioxidant action of selenium also protects the skin against changes caused by hormonal imbalance. It can help prevent the cycle of inflammation and the clogging of skin pores by preventing both the colonization of the skin surface by bacteria and the breakdown of skin cells.
In addition, selenium is an essential cofactor for glutathione peroxidase which is the enzyme responsible for neutralizing hydrogen peroxide and organic peroxides such as lipid hydoperoxides.
When these peroxides are used up, they will form reactive oxygen species which can damage the cells of the sebaceous follicles.
However glutathione peroxidase, through the help of selenium, quickly reduces hydrogen peroxide to water and lipid hydroperoxides to harmless organic alcohols.
The safe and effective dose of selenium in acne treatment is between 200 micrograms and 400 micrograms per day. This is sufficient to help increase the production of glutathione peroxidase to normal levels.
Selenium supplements should also be combined with vitamins A and E in acne medications.
Zinc and Acne
Zinc is another essential but trace mineral needed by humans. It is the second most important mineral in human biology and it is found in all classes of enzymes produced in humans.
Zinc is involved in diverse biological roles. It is absolutely essential for gene expression and for neurological health.
Because free zinc ions are toxic, they are bound to proteins such as albumin and transferrin. Zinc competes with other minerals such as copper for absorption in the gastrointestinal tract and for binding sites on these proteins.
Acne is one of the symptoms of zinc deficiency.
In acne treatment, zinc is needed for its antimicrobial activity but, more importantly, for its ability to regulate the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
DHT is one of the androgens responsible for causing acne. It stimulates an increased production of sebum by causing the enlargement of the sebaceous gland. When the skin is suddenly flooded with excess sebum, it becomes an ideal environment for bacterial growth.
Therefore, DHT indirectly promotes the colonization of the skin by acne-causing bacteria such as P. acnes. The cumulative effect leads to the clogging of the skin pores which causes seborrhea and the eruption of acne comedones such as whiteheads and blackheads.
The actions of DHT also trigger an abnormal cycle of inflammation of the skin which is seen by the appearance of inflammatory acne lesions such as pimples, papules, nodules and cysts.
Zinc can help prevent this chain reaction from occurring. By reducing the production of DHT, it helps preserve the sebaceous glands and keep the production of sebum to normal levels.
In addition, the antibacterial effect of zinc can help kill off acne-causing bacteria especially when zinc is provided as a topical preparation.
Lastly, zinc also has an anti-inflammatory activity which is helpful for reducing inflammatory acne lesions. The exact mechanism of this effect is unknown but it involves granulocytes which are inflammatory cells of the immune system.
Zinc supplements should also be combined with vitamin A. The daily dose of zinc should not exceed 40 mg and zinc supplementation should be avoided when tetracycline antibiotics are also being used in acne treatment.
Pro Tips to find the Best Vitamins for Acne
Acne is usually caused by a hormonal unbalance. This happens to teenagers and women in the menopause period. The unwanted effect comes when the glands on the skin are producing an abnormal quantity of oil. This causes the pores to get clogged, generating a suitable ambiance for bacteria. To reduce all these issues on the skin, you can watch out for what you eat. Here are some pro tips to find the best vitamins for acne. Some vitamins are better when they are applied directly to the skin than if they are ingested. We will tell you everything about it, and even some other essential elements you can use.
To Start, Vitamin A
To prevent acne and keep your balance, make sure you are getting the right amount of vitamin A. Beware of this vitamin, particularly in the form of food supplements, because an excessive amount will cause more harm than good. Beware because this vitamin is soluble in fat, and in high quantities, it can be dangerous to your health.
Fortunately, it is useful topically, and you don’t need to take large amounts of it. In fact, medication against acne has vitamin A when it is used topically. In fact, the topical use is the most effective way to apply it. It will help to regenerate the skin faster than if it is ingested. As a consequence, you feel an instant fresh new sensation on your skin.
Next, go for Vitamin E
Vitamin E has recently proven to be effective to take care of the skins’ health. This completes the list of the best vitamins for acne. It is yet to be studied further, but so far, it is confirmed that people with acne were found to be short on this vitamin.
Therefore, the recommendation a general good practice are to take at least 15 mg of vitamin E per day. This general dose is the recommended amount to cover all your Vitamin E needs. It is best to get it from natural sources, like food or the sun. Only use dietary supplements as a complement, particularly if your acne problems are strong.
More than Vitamins: Selenium and Zinc
Selenium and Zinc are not precisely vitamins. They are minerals, but they are of most help with acne. Selenium is useful to provide antioxidant to your skin when it is taken orally. Studies have shown that 200 mcg of selenium can be beneficial to cure pimples. Some studies were very promising. The results indicate that just selenium was able to reduce 50% of the acne outbreak. This encouraging number tells us to go for selenium as part of our regular diet.
The effect zinc has is to decrease the rate in which oil is produced. As a consequence, there is less material to clog your skin’s prunes. Also, zinc has a protective effect against inflammation and the bacteria that can cause infections on the skin. That is why it is considered the best mineral against acne.
The recommended dose so far is 30 mg per day. To go beyond this number can be dangerous to your health. When zinc is applied topically, it also has shown excellent benefits as a treatment for acne. In addition to preventing acne, it clears the skin, which is an added benefits people love.
What about other vitamins?
Other vitamins can have a positive influence against acne. The most important are vitamins B and C. They promote good health and have indirect benefits against inflammation and infections. Therefore it is important to make sure you are getting enough of them.
Vitamin B has many varieties. One of them, called nicotinamide is said to improve acne conditions when it is used topically. However, the studies so far are not yet conclusive. The results of nicotinamide are yet to be confirmed. In the meantime, we leave vitamin B as a maybe.
Vitamin C also has benefits in the control of hormones that cause acne. It can reduce stress levels and promote collagen production. This vitamin is useful to heal wounds, which is needed when recovering from a hard acne outbreak.
Since both vitamins B and C have other benefits to your health, don’t go short on them. However, pay more attention to vitamins A and E while you are fighting acne.
Remember, the best vitamins for acne are all about bowels. Vitamins A and E have proved to be useful. Applying these vitamins directly to the skin is a good idea since it promotes the skin’s good health. Then go for the minerals. Taking Selenium and Zinc has proven to be very effective against acne. As for vitamins B and C, pay close attention to your daily intake and make sure you are not short on them. In particular vitamin, C is going to help in the healing process.
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