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The best natural supplements to treat acne
Many people assume that the only way to treat acne is by using prescribed acne treatments that are either applied to the skin or taken as a daily tablet.
Topical acne treatments include benzoyl peroxide, Aczone and azelaic acid. Oral treatments for acne include the combined oral contraceptive pill, antibiotics, isotretinoin (also known as Accutane) and anti-androgen agents such as spironolactone.
Whilst these are effective acne treatments, many people like to take supplements alongside their conventional acne treatments to support their skin as much as possible. Here’s the six best natural supplements for acne prone skin.
Vitamin A supplements for acne
Retinol and a drug called Accutane are conventional drug treatments for acne that are derived from vitamin A. Vitamin A is effective at supporting the health of the skin. It helps the skin cells to regenerate quickly, and most importantly, heal more quickly.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that the body can store. If there’s too much vitamin A stored in the body, it can become toxic.
Pregnant women should not take vitamin A supplements especially if they eat plenty of vitamin A rich foods such as carrots, butternut squash and broccoli. Beta carotene is also turned into vitamin A by the body, and is abundant in foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and melons.
Vitamin C supplements for acne
Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin that we need for a healthy immune system and to help protect the cells of the body. It’s also crucial for healthy skin - vitamin C helps the body produce collagen, a protein which forms a ‘scaffold’ for the skin to sit on, making it appear plump, supple and youthful. Vitamin C is also important for normal wound healing.
In terms of acne prone skin, vitamin C helps to reduce redness and inflammation, helping to calm the irritation associated with acne.
Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin, which, as opposed to a fat soluble vitamin, the body does not store. Any excess that we don’t use, leaves the body in our urine. However, taking more than 1,000mg of vitamin C per day can lead to stomach upsets and excess wind.
Vitamin E supplements for acne
Like vitamin A, vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin, but it doesn’t have the same toxicity risks associated with taking too much. It’s an antioxidant vitamin, like vitamin C, and helps to protect the health of the eyes and the skin as well as the immune system.
Vitamin E helps the skin produce collagen and elastin; another protein that helps the skin remain healthy, elastic and hydrated.
Having healthy skin alone cannot guarantee that you won’t develop or have acne, as acne is down to a lot of other factors including hormones and genetics. But it can help to make the skin as robust to the effects of acne as possible.
Vitamin E will also ensure the skin remains hydrated, by helping to form a protective barrier to avoid moisture loss.
Zinc supplements for acne
Zinc is a mineral that we need for a healthy immune system and to support the activity of various enzymes. Aside from this, zinc also helps to keep the skin healthy by helping to keep the production of sebum (a natural skin oil that can lead to acne spots if it’s produced excessively) under control. Zinc also helps the body fight bacterial infections and inflammation, both of which can lead to acne flare ups.
Due to these anti-inflammatory properties, zinc supplements can help to reduce the redness and inflamed skin so often associated with acne. It can be especially useful in cases of acne rosacea. Zinc can also be beneficial for helping to reduce the appearance of scarring from severe outbreaks of acne.
Taking more than 40mg of zinc a day can cause stomach problems such as pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and a loss of appetite.
Probiotic supplements for acne
Our guts are home to trillions of friendly bacteria collectively called our microbiome, which are essential for our health. If we take antibiotics, either due to having acne, or an infection elsewhere, they’re often ‘broad spectrum’ meaning that they kill the bad bacteria as well as the good.
Probiotic supplements contain so-called good bacteria, that benefit our guts, digestion, immune system and overall health.
If you’ve recently taken a course of antibiotics for acne over a number of months, your microbiome could be compromised, so taking a daily probiotic supplement could be a good idea. Probiotic supplements help support the health of our microbiome, which in turn looks after our skin. They also help to reduce the healing time taken for acne scars to clear up.
Cod liver oil supplements for acne
Cod liver oil supplements are often associated with benefits to joint health, but they’re also thought to help people with acne prone skin too.
This is because cold liver oil is high in vitamin A, which as we discussed above is good for the health of the skin. Vitamin A helps to reduce ‘keratinisation’, which is the shedding of dead skin cells. Acne prone skin is known to shed dead skin cells faster than normal skin. This excess shedding contributes to the blocking of pores, which leads to acne spots.
Because of the high vitamin A content, pregnant women should avoid taking cold liver oil supplements.
Choosing skincare to work in harmony with acne supplements
You might be using conventional drug treatments for acne, such as anti-androgen agents, isotretinoin or the combined oral contraceptive pill. Or you might be making the most of natural supplements to help manage your acne, or a mix of the two.
Either way, using the right skincare can also help to keep your skin under control. At Sönd, we speak from experience when we say we understand acne and have developed an effective range of alkalising skincare products that support acne prone skin.
Could Sönd skincare help support your skin too?