How to Use the Best Vitamins for Acne to Improve Your Skin From the Inside Out
If you suffer from even the mildest case of acne then chances are that you have tried all kinds of things to try and get rid of the pimples that are such a pain to you every day. From mixing home remedies in your own kitchen to spending more than a little cash on all kinds of pills, potions, lotions and even special acne treatment systems most of us who have acne have tried it all. Or so we think..
While these things can and do work to one extent or another there is one important way that you can fight acne that many people overlook; healing acne from within by increasing your intake of certain vitamins.
How Can Vitamins Heal Acne?
Most people know that, in general, there are certain vitamins and minerals that are quite literally essential for good health and a body deficient in them can suffer from all kinds of problems. But we tend to think of vitamins just being utilized by our bodies to fight disease or improve bodily functions.
The fact is though that vitamins play a part in almost every bodily system and bodily function, including the condition of the skin. Vitamins help the skin – and heal and prevent acne – in a number of different ways, including all of the following:
- Vitamins boost the immune system, strengthening the skin’s ability to both fight acne causing bacteria and to heal.
- Vitamins can help the body fight inflammation
- Vitamins can protect the skin from free radicals that damage the skin.
- Vitamins can help restore collagen in the skin and begin healing acne scars.
These are, however, simple generalizations. To really understand how certain vitamins can help heal and prevent acne we need to look at them individually.
Vitamin A for Acne
What is Vitamin A ?
A powerful antioxidant, Vitamin A is a part of a group of compounds scientifically known as retinoids. Specifically the active, alcohol form of Vitamin A is known as retinol, something you have no doubt seen as being touted as included in all kinds of skin care products you can find in the stores.
Within the body, Vitamin A plays a crucial role in all of the following:
- Red blood cell production
- Correct immune system function
- General skin health
- Proper visual function
How Vitamin A Helps Get Rid of Acne
- Vitamin A helps the skin shed dead skin cells more efficiently, helping prevent the clogged pores that are one of the main causes of acne.
- Vitamin A has anti-inflammatory properties to lessen redness and swelling of acne pimples.
- Vitamin A helps regulate the skin’s production of sebum (oil), useful to acne sufferers as excess oil is another big acne causing factor.
- Vitamin A restores elasticity to skin and helps increase collagen production, both things that may help lessen the appearance of acne scars.
How Much Vitamin A Do Acne Sufferers Need?
Ideally, to maintain general good health and to reap the acne fighting benefits of Vitamin A you’ll need to opt to add more Vitamin A rich foods to your diet in addition to considering taking a 10,000 iu vitamin A supplement. But which foods should you be adding/eating more of? You can try any of these:
- Beef Liver
- Sweet Potatoes
- Winter Squash
Omega 3 Fatty Acids for Acne
Omega 3 fatty acid – which is scientifically known as Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) – is a ‘good fat’ that is naturally found in certain sea foods as well as in some nuts, pulses and oils. It is now considered to be one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents found in nature, which is where its value as an acne fighter comes into play.
How Omega 3 Fatty Acids Help Fight Acne
Research has found that EPA reduces the production of two specific inflammatory chemicals – PGE2 and LTB4 – that contribute significantly to the formation of acne pimples. Those who suffer from acne – especially cystic acne – have shown, in some cases – to be helped by increasing their intake of Omega 3 fatty acids.
How Much Omega 3 Do Acne Sufferers Need?
For those who suffer from mild to severe acne the current wisdom advises taking a good Omega 3 fatty acid supplement in combination with increasing their dietary intake of it for the best results.
Choosing an Omega 3 Supplement
Omega 3 supplements sold in stores are usually derived from fish oil, as sea foods tend to have some of the highest natural concentrations of EPA. When shopping for the best supplement for you, keep the following in mind:
- The recommended daily dosage of EPA provided by the supplement should be at least 2,000mg
- The fish oil used to make the supplement should be 100% pure
- Krill oil (krill are small, Arctic shrimp) is a good alternative to fish oil that leaves no aftertaste.
Omega 3 Rich Foods to Fight Acne
Adding omega 3 from food is important as well, but which additions to your diet will give you great taste as well as more EPA? All of these options are good ones:
- Flaxseed oil
- Egg Yolks
Zinc for Acne
Zinc is a trace mineral rather than a vitamin but it is still essential for lots of bodily functions and can be very useful in a fight against acne.
How Zinc Helps Fight Acne
Zinc can help fight acne in a number of different ways. The following are the most important:
- Zinc is a powerful antioxidant, so it helps to ward off free radicals that can damage and age skin
- Zinc helps Omega 3 fatty acids be broken down more efficiently by the body, helping do their part in the fight against acne more efficiently.
- Zinc has natural anti- inflammatory properties that help minimize the redness and inflammation of acne pimples.
- Zinc help control the production of something called Substance P. This is a chemical that is responsible for the production of sebum and, in times of stress especially, triggers excess production of sebum, leading to oily clogged pores. Zinc helps prevent that overproduction.
How Much Zinc Do Acne Sufferers Need?
You do not need to add too much more zinc to your body for it to be helpful in fighting acne breakouts, around 40 mg per day is the therapeutic dose of zinc; ie: the amount you are looking for in a daily supplement. You can – and should – also add a little more zinc to your diet by including the following zinc rich foods:
- Lean beef
- Kidney beans
- Dark chocolate (yes, really, but only a square or two daily is needed!)
Other Helpful Vitamins to Fight Acne
To lesser levels there are other vitamins that can either be helpful in combating acne or assist the substances we’ve discussed here and help them work more efficiently. These include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B7
- Vitamin B12
How to Take Vitamin Supplements for Acne
By now you are probably rather daunted by the list of different vitamins we are suggesting you try to help clear up your acne and are foreseeing a future in which you have to choke down a half dozen different supplements that are probably not that inexpensive.
The good news is that’s not the case. Many good multivitamin supplements contain all of these vitamins – and more – and in the quantities you need them. A really good multivitamin will also contain the zinc you need. You will need to buy a separate fish oil supplement but nevertheless that’s only two products and as vitamin supplements are so very popular these days they can usually be found in most grocery stores with no extra trip to the health store required.
For some, those with very mild acne, diet changes and vitamins can be all they need, along with good skin care routine, to help combat the problem. For others they will still need to look to more conventional, topical acne treatments as well but vitamin supplementation and a better diet will certainly help.
Now we’d like to hear from you. Give some of these foods and supplements a try and then come back and let us know if you think you see a difference, we’d love to learn about your real-life experiences.
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