Dietary supplements are those that you eat or drink. They can be made from vitamins, herbs, minerals, amino acids or a wide variety of plants. They are available as liquids, pills, capsules or tablets. As the name suggests, these should be a ‘supplement’ and not ‘substitute’ for food. Manufacturers of such supplements cannot state categorically that they can prevent or cure an illness – e.g. acne. However, a good dietary supplement can promote good health.
Many dietary supplements for acne are available that can fight against this common skin condition. Choosing the right one depends on the type of acne and other health considerations. It is important to choose the right supplements for otherwise you can develop several health problems. In fact people are warned not to believe that all dietary supplements are beneficial. Some can cause more harm than good.
Best Supplements for Acne
Fish Oil : Fish and fish oil contain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA that can help fight many diseases including acne. Many people cannot or will not eat fish. These people can take fish oil supplements available as capsules. The right dosage (starts with 2-4g and then reduces to 0.5-0.8g after 30 days) can quickly calm inflammatory acne and start the recovery process.
Zinc supplements : Zinc helps with reducing inflammatory response to acne, aids with wound healing and clears blocked pores by shedding old skin. Most people, even if they eat a varied diet, cannot get their daily recommended dosage of zinc. These people can take a 50mg daily supplement of zinc gluconate and cut back to 25mg. Excess zinc can lead to copper deficiency. Zinc can cause nausea and stomach upsets and could reduce the efficacy of antibiotics – especially tetracycline taken for acne. If zinc supplements are taken on a long term basis, then the patient may require a supplementary daily intake of 1-2mg of copper too.
Vitamin D : Vitamin D is a vital supplement that is more a hormone. It is produced by the skin when UV rays strike the body. Most foods other than fish liver oil contain infinitesimal quantities of vitamin D that is not sufficient for the body. These days, foods such as margarine and milk are available that are fortified with vitamin D. Apart from these foods, and fish liver oil, you can take vitamin D supplements. Those who live in warmer climates require less vitamin D than those in colder climates where they are not exposed to as much sun.
Other Vitamin Supplements
Vitamin A helps maintaining skin health. When taken as a supplement, a daily dosage of 800mcg vitamin A helps clear severe acne conditions in teens and adults. Excess of vitamin A can be toxic and this supplement must be recommended by a doctor.
Vitamin B5 reduces the amount of oil produced by the sebaceous glands and helps clear clogged pores. The daily dosage is usually 10-20g based on how severe the acne is.
Vitamin B6 helps in balancing hormones. Imbalance in hormones causes acne outbreaks. A daily dosage of 150mg divided into 3 equal doses is said to help acne especially in women during menstruation when hormonal imbalance is high.
Vitamin B3 This has anti-inflammatory properties. Vitamin B3 supplements are invariably combined with cupric oxide, folic acid and zinc oxide.
Chromium is also a supplement that can help certain types of acne.
Multivitamins: Often this is the way to go. A good multivitamin contains all the essential vitamins and minerals in the right proportion. This can provide many overall health benefits. Some multivitamins are available that are meant specifically to treat acne.
Herbal Supplements : Herbal supplements for acne are very popular. However, it is important that you make sure you get recommendations from a qualified herbal practioners who can guide you about the best product to choose. Supplements made from herbs such as evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil, Echinacea, belladonna can reduce inflammation and pain caused by acne.
One excellent herb for acne is Echinacea. This stimulates the immune system, fights infections and hence is beneficial for skin conditions like acne. Echinacea can sometimes cause allergic rashes or gastric problems.
Guggul or Commiphora wightii is a traditional herb used in Ayurveda for centuries. Guggul contains volatile oils, resin and gum. It also contains guggulsterone a plant steroid. In a study, it was found that 25mg guggulsterone taken twice daily had a similar effect in treating acne as tetracycline. It reduces inflammation and relapses of acne after treatment ceases. People with a family history of hormone-related cancers like ovarian, breast, prostate cancer etc. must no take guggul since it has estrogen-like effects on the body.
Possible issues with supplements
Dietary supplements for acne can trigger allergies. If they are not manufactured according to proper industry standards, they may contain ingredients that could harm the body. The long term effects of many supplements are not known.
It is important to read the label of any natural supplement you purchase in a store. For example, an all natural supplement caused reactions like rash, scaly skin, discolored nails, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, diarrhea, breathlessness etc. When people who used this supplement consulted their doctor, it was discovered the supplement contained 200 times more selenium that mentioned on the label.
Precautions while using supplements for acne
Not all supplements for acne are safe. You must inform your doctor or health provider about the dietary supplement you wish to take because many of them can react adversely with conventional acne treatments.
Since natural supplements do not undergo the same stringent tests as conventional medicines do, many unsafe products find their way to store shelves. Hence, it is important to check if a product is good before purchasing it.
Supplements for acne can cause many side effects. However, choosing natural methods to help you is beneficial for the benefits are greater than the negatives. Nature knows what is best. So choose the right supplement with the help of a qualified medical practitioner to avoid health problems.