Vitamins are good for your skin. No one can argue with that. The real question is: how good are they? Is there a vitamin out there that can make me blemish-free? We’ve compiled a list of the major skin-helping vitamins and discussed the mechanisms they use to clear your acne.
What exactly is a vitamin?
A vitamin is an organic compound that your body needs to function properly. The catch is that your body doesn’t produce these compounds naturally so you need to consume small quantities of them, either in your diet or with supplements.
The best vitamins for acne:
In it’s acidic form, Vitamin A creates retinoic acid which is synthesized to created retinoids. Retinoids have become the core of modern acne therapy and are clinically considered the most effective acne treatments available. Topical retinoids include Retin-A, Epiduo, and Tazorac. In pill form, retinoic acid is synthesized into Accutane, an aggressive, yet effective therapy.
Supplementing your diet with vitamin A has not been clinically proven to improve your complexion, however its anti-inflammatory properties may have some benefit. If you’re interested in taking Vitamin A, make sure you take the suggested dosage of 10,000-15,000 IU (international usage). Here are a handful of choices for Vitamin A supplements.
Foods with vitamin A: carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, lettuce, and cantaloupe
There are many different kinds of vitamin B: B2, B5, B6, B12, etc. A quick google search shows that each one has claims to be an effective acne treatment. However, B5 in particular, has become the most popular among vitamin B advocates. B5, or pantothenic acid, has been hypothesized to alleviate acne by normalizing a protein in your body called Coenzyme A, but no clinical research has been completed. An issue with most B5 supplemental courses is that they require mega-dosing which some physicians consider dangerous.
If you’d like to try a B5 course this is the most popular, however we strongly endorse a dermatologist prescribed treatment plan over B5.
Foods with B5: mushrooms, avocados, whey powder, sunflower seeds, and fish.
Most notably found in citrus fruits, vitamin C boosts your immune system as well as stimulates collagen repair. It is taken in pill form and also applied topically. Because of it’s collagen restorative qualities, many use vitamin C to help heal acne scars, rather than treat breakouts. Although there is little clinical evidence to support the effectiveness of vitamin C, many people report positive results in scar healing.
Here are some vitamin C options if you’re interested.
Foods with vitamin C: bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, kale, broccoli, and parsley
Vitamin E has many qualities that benefit the skin. Particularly, it helps maintain healthy vitamin A levels in the body, which normalizes the shedding of your skin (crucial to avoiding breakouts). As a powerful antioxidant, it also prevents the propagation of free-radicals in your tissue, allowing your skin cells to function properly. Likewise, it also strengthens your cell membranes, decreasing the likelihood of scars, pigmentation, and wrinkles. Vitamin E is applied topically and digested orally; each have varying degrees of effectiveness for different people.
If your taking it in pill form, most multi-vitamins have more than enough vitamin E for a healthy dosage.
Foods withs vitamin E: tofu, spinach, nuts, shellfish, and olive oil.
Can you take too many vitamins?
Absolutely!! Moderation is key with vitamins. Everyone processes and retains vitamins differently, so a healthy dosage for one person may actually cause breakouts in the other. Start off under the suggested dosage and work your way up over time, making sure your body or skin isn’t reacting poorly to the supplement.
The bottom line:
Vitamins are essential to a healthy lifestyle and can definitely benefit your skin. However, relying on vitamin supplements as your primary acne treatment is not wise. There is little to none clinical data to prove their effectiveness and everyone reacts differently to each vitamin. That being said, vitamins can be a healthy addition to an acne-free lifestyle! Do some research and/or consult with a doctor or nutritionist before adding a heavy regiment to your diet. Finally, don’t take more of the vitamin than suggested. Even if your skin is getting better, taking too much can actually cause breakouts!
If you have more than an occasional pimple, the best treatment for you is prescription medication.
YoDerm is the only way to get a prescription medication safely and legally online. Each of our dermatologists are board-certified and will treat your acne within 24 hours. If you’re struggling to get clear, click here, and let us help you
- Keller, K., and N. Fenske. “Uses of Vitamins A, C, and E and Related Compounds in Dermatology: A Review?, ??.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 39.4 (1998): 611-25. Web. <https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(98)70011-8/fulltext>.
- Bouchez, Colette. “Skin Health Using Vitamins, Minerals, and Other Nutrients from OnHealth.” MedicineNet. 20 Nov.
- “Vitamin B5.” Does B5 Work for Acne? Info & Reviews. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.acne.org/vitamin-b5.html>.