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Best Vitamins and Minerals to Help with Acne

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Your diet has a big impact on your skin health. Instead of blasting your face with OTC treatments and hoping for the best, treat acne at the source by improving your nutrition. Learn the best vitamins and minerals to take for acne in this guide, and protect your skin health.

Which vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause acne and why?

What vitamins are good for acne prone skin? Science has connected vitamin A (retinol), vitamin D, and vitamin E deficiencies with acne. In particular, retinol has been looked at as a potential acne treatment, but the equally critical roles that vitamins D and E play in your skin health are often overlooked. We’ll explore each of these deficiencies in detail as we proceed, but let’s cover some basic information first.

Your sebaceous glands push vitamin E onto the surface of your skin, where it serves as a protectant antioxidant. Vitamin A, on the other hand, moisturises your skin and prevents damage. Lastly, vitamin D operates similarly to retinol, but it offers even more benefits since this nutrient is synthesised in your skin. For more context, see this study:

The relationship of diet and acne

Which nutrients do I need to take to prevent acne?

Whether you’re prone to acne or you simply want to improve your skin health, taking the following three vitamins might be more effective than even the most expensive skincare products:

1. Vitamin A

Also known as retinol, vitamin A has been synthesised into an entire category of drugs called retinoids. Many retinoids are used as mainline acne treatments, which speaks to vitamin A’s usefulness for acne.

Why Vitamin A works for acne

Vitamin A helps your whole body grow and develop. As part of its wide-ranging functions, vitamin A keeps your skin hydrated. Dry skin is one of the main causes of acne, so keeping your face healthy and moisturised will help prevent this condition.

Science of vitamin A for acne

Oral vitamin A in acne vulgaris. Preliminary report.

Learnings and results from the study: The authors of this study quickly learned that doses of up to 100,000 IU of retinol were ineffective against acne, but doses higher than 300,000 IU showed excellent results. Certain mild dermatological side effects were, however, reported.

Vitamin A in skin and serum--studies of acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, ichthyosis vulgaris and lichen planus.

Learnings and results from the study: This study examined the effects of vitamin A on acne and a variety of similar conditions. Key results include the finding that acne skin contains less vitamin A than healthy skin. The authors speculate that the “reduced retinol level in the skin of acne patients is probably explained by diminished supply of vitamin A from the blood.”

Vitamin A in acne vulgaris

Learnings and results from the study: This study involved 35 patients with acne vulgaris. Intriguingly, the facilitators found that all the acne-prone subjects had decreased levels of vitamin A in their blood, and they also reported eating fewer foods rich in vitamin A.

NOTE: As the science surrounding vitamin A and acne has evolved, certain serious side effects of retinol-based drugs have come to light. We recommend that you stick with your recommended daily amount of this essential vitamin, which is included in your twice-daily capsules of Feel Multivitamin. For more perspective, see below:

Adverse effects of isotretinoin: A large, retrospective review.

2. Vitamin D

Your skin naturally produces vitamin D, which is part of the reason scientists originally investigated this essential nutrient’s connection with skin health. At the same time, however, your skin also uses lots of vitamin D, which complicates the relationship between this nutrient and acne.

Why vitamin D works for acne

Explaining how vitamin D improves your skin is a bit more complicated. The bacteria that causes acne (P. acnes) stimulates the production of helper T cell 17 (Th17). Vitamin D, however, prevents the expression of Th17, which means, according to one study, that it “could be considered as an effective tool in modulating acne.”

Science of vitamin D for acne

Vitamin D and the skin: Focus on a complex relationship: A review

Learnings and results from the study: In this comprehensive review of the available evidence, researchers took a close look at the relationship between vitamin D and acne, rosacea, and a few other common skin conditions. The authors conclude that “all available data point to [vitamin D’s] important impact on the health of our skin and the involvement of its deficiency in the pathway of many dermatological diseases.”

The impact of active vitamin D administration on the clinical outcomes of acne vulgaris.

Learnings and results from the study: In this clinical study, researchers measured the vitamin D levels of people with acne compared to a control group to determine the relationship between this essential vitamin and acne vulgaris. In conclusion, the authors found that “acne patients are more commonly to have vitamin D deficiency as compared to healthy people.”

Comparison of Vitamin D Levels in Patients with and without Acne: A Case-Control Study Combined with a Randomised Controlled Trial

Learnings and results from the study: This recent Korean study found that 48.8% of people who have acne are also deficient in vitamin D, but only 22.5% of the control group were deficient. That means people with acne are more than twice as likely to have a vitamin D deficiency than healthy people, indicating the usefulness of this nutrient in fighting acne.

3. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is one of the major dietary antioxidants, and its impact on dermatological health is reasonably well researched. Since it bonds so well with fats, vitamin E naturally excretes onto the surface of your skin through your sebaceous glands, which are also responsible for carrying other oils onto your skin’s surface.

Why Vitamin E works for acne

An acne outbreak occurs when one or more sebaceous glands in your skin become clogged with hardened fat plugs called comedones. Due to its antioxidant activity and the fact that it’s expressed through sebaceous glands, it stands to reason that vitamin E might break these plugs apart to prevent acne.

Science of vitamin E for acne

Vitamin E in dermatology

Learnings and results from the study: While lamenting the lack of clinical research into vitamin E and the skin, this review of the evidence covers a study showing evidence that vitamin E prevents “defective keratinisation of sebaceous follicles,” which deprives “the Propionibacterium acnes of a culture medium.”

Vitamin E in human skin: organ-specific physiology and considerations for its use in dermatology.

Learnings and results from the study: This review of the evidence points out that “topical and oral vitamin E has antitumorigenic, photoprotective, and skin barrier stabilising properties.” The authors point out that even though there could be more studies on the subject, our greater understanding of vitamin E allows us to recognise the widespread benefits of this antioxidant and how they apply to skincare.

Does the plasma level of vitamins A and E affect acne condition?

Learnings and results from the study: This study asked a simple question, and it derived a simple answer: “Low vitamin A and E plasma levels have an important role in the pathogenesis of acne and in the aggravation of this condition.”

Other natural acne remedies and tips

Taking the three vitamins we’ve listed above isn’t all you need to keep your skin young, clear, and healthy. Take in these quick acne tips before you go:

Which vitamins and minerals do I need to take to help with acne outbreak?

Which vitamins are good for acne-prone skin? Once your skin is already breaking out, it might be too late to prevent your current pimples. 

Tip: Supplementing with vitamins A, D, and E, however, will better prepare your skin to endure its next crisis.

Which vitamins and minerals best help with acne scars?

By improving your skin health, all the vitamins we listed also help with acne scarring. It’s also possible that zinc and vitamin B3 may be able to help your skin heal.

Do people with different skin types need different vitamins and minerals for acne?

Regardless of your skin type, your body still needs vitamins A, D, and E to fight acne. Whether your skin is dry or oily, these nutrients still have the same benefits.

Should I stop taking vitamins and minerals during an acne outbreak?

It’s never a good idea to suddenly deprive your body of the nutritional supplements it’s used to. If you’re taking any supplements other than Feel Multivitamin, however, you might want to ditch them since they could contain dangerous ingredients.

Can vitamins and minerals cause acne outbreak?

Whether you’re looking for vitamins for hormonal acne specifically or you’re simply learning how to use vitamins against acne, understand that nutrition can play a role in your outbreak. Taking the right things, like the vitamins and minerals in Feel Multivitamin, will help with an acne outbreak. Taking inferior multivitamins, however, could bog your body down with useless filler ingredients, worsening your acne.

Help your skin naturally with Feel

Good nutrition is the best way to keep your skin healthy and clear for your entire life. We chose all the vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial substances in Feel Multivitamin because of their positive impact on human health, so the nutrients we listed above are only a few examples of how our supplement subscription can help your skin. Try Feel Multivitamin today to enjoy the nutrition and skin health you’ve always wanted without making any compromises.

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About the author
Katie Hipwell - Katie is an AfN Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) with a specialism in food and is Head of Nutrition at Feel. Katie has worked in the food supplement industry for 10 years. She has completed a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and an undergraduate degree in BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition.
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