The main cause of acne is hormonal imbalance during pregnancy, menstruation and such. Diet, nutritional supplements and good hygiene are all ways to prevent acne. Vitamin and minerals for acne can be taken as supplements and through foods too. You get no side effects from natural products and they help provide overall good health too. Vitamins and minerals have anti-inflammatory properties and hence help to ease acne symptoms. The best source of vitamins and minerals is from fruits and vegetables and supplements.
Vitamins and minerals considered best for acne
Vitamin A (Retinol): This fat-soluble vitamin helps in cell regeneration and has several important functions. Foods rich in vitamin A are animal foods – such as beef, chicken liver eggs – called retinoids and retinol and plant sources (deep yellow / orange / dark leafy vegetables) called carotenoids that include beta-carotene. A deficiency in vitamin A is one cause of acne. Prescriptions pills and creams that contain retinoids help to cure severe acne cases.
Topical retinoids can unclog acne pores and help antibiotic medications to enter the unplugged hair follicles and fight bacteria that cause acne. The usual combination for an effective acne treatment is topical retinoid, topical antibiotic, benzoyl peroxide and an oral antibiotic.
Topical retinoids are available as liquids, gels or creams. The medicine is usually applied to the acne prone areas, twice a day, after washing it thoroughly. Topical retinoids also prevent further outbreaks by removing dead skin cells that clog pores. Topical retinoids are reserved for treatment of moderate or severe acne that have not cleared with first line medications.
Apart from topical creams and supplements, eating dairy products and fish oils is a great way to get natural sources of vitamin A that helps to cure many other skin problems.
B Vitamins: Stress is one cause for acne. Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) is good for decreasing stress. Vitamin B2 is available in as a multi-vitamin supplement and in foods such as meat, eggs, fresh green, leafy vegetables, milk, fish and whole grains.
Vitamin B3 (niacin) found in eggs, peanuts and avocados is also a good cure for acne. This vitamin is available as both topical creams and oral supplements. Topical vitamin B3 is available as an OTC product – Nicomide-T gel and cream. Oral nicomide is a prescription supplement that also has zinc oxide, folic acid and cupric oxide.
To prevent back acne, vitamin B1 (thiamine) is recommended (100mg twice a day). It is an anti-oxidant that helps fight bacteria, which cause acne. Food sources are pork, organ meats, whole grains, cereals and legumes.
Taking a good multi-vitamin containing all the B vitamins is a good way to have overall healthy skin. Brewer’s yeast is a rich source of most of the B vitamins.
Vitamin E: This vitamin has anti-oxidant effects that fight free radicals, which can harm the skin. Vitamin E also aids in tissue repair and therefore useful for skin conditions like acne. Apart from supplements (400 IU is recommended to treat acne), vitamin E is available in foods like broccoli, sunflower seeds, almonds and peanuts.
Vitamin C: 1000mg of vitamin-c taken three times a day for acne, can fight infection, help in cellular repair and boost immunity. Most fruits and vegetables – especially citrus fruits, broccoli, peppers, tomato etc., contain rich sources of vitamin C.
Zinc: Zinc is a trace mineral that is an effective agent in fighting acne outbreaks. It is available as a topical ointment in combination with erythromycin. Theramycin Z is the generally prescribed ointment. Oral zinc is an OTC product that is used to treat inflammatory acne.
Zinc is an anti-oxidant mineral that prevents acne scarring and heals tissues. It can also regulate the oil production by sebaceous glands therefore controlling acne outbreaks. For acne, a dosage of 25-30 mg of zinc supplement is usually recommended. Best food sources of zinc are oysters, red meat, cheese, poultry, whole grain, brewer’s yeast, green beans, pumpkin etc.
Chromium: This is another mineral that when taken as a supplement is said to help some acne cases. Brewer’s yeast contains chromium.
Selenium: This mineral possesses anti-oxidant properties and helps to reduce inflammation caused by acne.
Vitamins and Minerals for Acne : Precautions
While vitamins and minerals for acne are mostly safe, there are certain precautions that must be followed.
Vitamin A is vital for good health but must not be taken in high doses. Exceeding daily recommended dosage as given by your doctor can lead to toxicity. Topical retinoids can cause sensitivity to sunlight and red, dry skin that peels off. Topical retinoids like tazarotene must not be taken by pregnant women.
When taking mineral supplements like zinc and selenium, you must be careful for they can cause side effects. Zinc is a heavy metal and an overdose can cause stomach pain.
Natural products taken to relieve acne eruptions are very beneficial, for nature is the best cure for any medical condition that we may experience. As we have seen, vitamins and minerals for acne provide an effective and safe cure. Always ensure you take vitamin and mineral supplements only under medical supervision. A healthy diet rich in these minerals and vitamins and a good multi-vitamin supplements is adequate to promote skin health. There are also good cleansers, ointments and gels, which contain acne-fighting vitamins. These can cure existing acne and help to boost the body’s immunity, therefore preventing or controlling future outbreaks.