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We don’t always get all the nutrients we need from our diets, so we’ve rounded up the best vitamins and supplements for acne and skin health to help you make sure you’ve got them all in!
Who doesn’t want gorgeous, healthy skin? We all wish for that lit-from-within glow that turns heads when we walk into a room.
Radiant skin comes from the inside out.
A healthy diet and a good skincare regime go a long way toward keeping it fresh and beautiful, but sometimes we could use a little extra help.
If you make sure you’re getting enough fruits and veggies, then your skin is probably already nicely nourished.
Even if you’re careful about what you eat, environmental toxins and allergens, poor air quality, too much sunshine, and chemically treated water can do a number on even the prettiest of complexions.
It’s easy to treat skin conditions like acne externally with creams and special cleansers, but many treatment protocols ignore the underlying reasons behind poor skin health.
Adding good quality supplements to what you already do can make a big difference in healing bad skin!
What Causes Acne and Poor Skin Health?
Conditions like acne are usually trying to give you hints about your internal health.
Sometimes bad skin has to do with poor hygiene and accumulation of surface oil and dirt, but it’s usually a direct effect of health issues. (1)
The American Academy of Dermatology will tell you that the main causes of acne are excess oil in the skin, hormones, and too many dead skin cells clogging up your pores.
Most dermatologists still deny that diet has anything to do with it (2).
Excess sugar in the diet produces a hormone that causes an overabundance of oil in the skin, which leads to breakouts. Breakouts turn into acne when the skin tissues get inflamed.
Both of these issues can be addressed with both diet change and making sure that your body is getting what it needs to reduce inflammation and the chemical processes that regulate oil production.
There’s a very good reason that Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.”
Your skin can be a good indicator that you’re not getting the right nutrients!
Below are some of the best vitamins and supplements for acne and skin health.
1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
It might seem ironic that one of the best acne fighters out there is a supplement that’s often made from oily ocean fish, but Omega-3 fatty acids are a fantastic anti-inflammatory.
Most types of acne and skin conditions are caused by inflammation, both externally and internally. Omega-3s inhibit two chemicals that are responsible for breakouts, and most medications designed to control acne mimic its effects.
A Japanese study showed that people who supplement their diet with Omega-3s see a significant improvement in their skin. (2) It’s also well known that people who live in coastal regions and eat a lot of fresh seafood have low rates of acne.
Adding oily fish like sardines and anchovies to your diet is a great way to up your intake, but if you prefer to get it from a veggie source, try flax, chia seeds, or walnut oil. If you really want to get your skin healthy, try a supplement.
To get optimal results, get a supplement with a minimum of 1000 mg of EPA Omega-3s a day.
Dr. Tobias Omega 3 Fish Oil supplement is one of the best on the market and what we personally use.
There are also plenty of vegan supplement options for Omega-3s as well.
2. Vitamin A
Dermatologists often prescribe Retin-A and Accutane for acne, which are both derivatives of vitamin A. It’s great to use topically because it prevents the gummy excess skin buildup that causes clogged pores.
It’s also a powerful antioxidant, so it reduces inflammation when you take it internally. Anyone who has had acne knows that it can get really inflamed and sore, so vitamin A helps reduce that both internally and externally.
Studies show that low levels of vitamin A can have an impact not only on skin health, but the immune system, blood cell production, and health in general, so eating foods rich in it will affect your entire body. (3)
3. Vitamin D
Unless you’re in the sun a lot, you’re probably vitamin D deficient. Only a few foods like eggs, some fish, and enriched dairy have it, so the truth is that most people don’t get enough.
Your skin produces vitamin D when it reacts to sunlight, and it’s responsible for things like how much calcium the body absorbs, and it plays a big role in your ability to fight infection. It’s kind of ironic that too much sun can damage your skin, but so can too little!
You might notice that the more you hang out in the sun, the less acne you have. It’s not because the skin “dries it out” like many people believe, but because you’re getting more vitamin D.
There’s been a disagreement between researchers and physicians about how much vitamin D is enough, and whether the suggested daily requirement of 600 IU is sufficient. (4) However, most supplements contain higher levels than that, and are generally considered safe.
Vitamin D comes in liquid and capsule form. Seeking Health Vitamin D Drops is a high-quality liquid option, which is great for people who don’t absorb supplements well.
If you prefer capsules, Garden of Life Whole Food Raw D3 contains 5000 IU and an enzyme blend for digestive support.
4. Vitamin K2 MK-4
There’s been a lot of research lately around this little-known vitamin. While most people have heard of vitamin K, vitamin K2 Mk-4 (menatetrenone) isn’t the same thing.
It’s got some extraordinary health benefits, like its effects on the cardiovascular system, and brain and gut health. Taking it will also help you get lustrous skin because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
It shrinks pores and promotes the healing of scars, which is a big problem for people who have chronic acne. It also addresses some of the systemic elements of inflammation in the body that can cause it.
Grass-fed butter is the best place to find it, but it’s easier to take a supplement, especially if you’re vegan.
Vitafii Vitamin K2 (MK-4 MK-7) with D3 is going to give you the best absorption because K2 and D3 need each other to maximize their benefits.
Remember how we talked about Omega -3 fatty acids and how good it is for the skin? Zinc helps your body metabolize it and transports vitamin A from the liver.
It also breaks down the nerve chemical that causes oil production when our body gets stressed.
Studies show that people with acne are notoriously low on zinc, which makes sense, considering how important it is for breaking down and transporting many of the nutrients we need for healthy skin. (5)
You can get zinc in your diet if you eat a lot of beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, or lean meats, but if you want to heal your acne quickly, take a zinc supplement with omega-3 and vitamin A.
Many supplement brands use synthetic zinc, so try Peak Performance Raw Organic Whole Food Zinc.
You can get choline from foods like eggs, milk, soaked nuts, and cruciferous veggies, but your body also produces it naturally. It’s a nutrient that helps us with metabolism and cellular structure.
It helps us maintain the proper levels of B vitamins, which are responsible for the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. While it’s not actually a vitamin, it’s considered to be part of the B complex family.
Even though our bodies produce it, studies show that more than 50% of the population has a deficiency, probably because their bodies don’t absorb it properly. (6)
Choline deficiencies can play a part in many age-related issues, including aging skin.
Solgar Choline is a great supplement to help fight acne. Not only will it keep your skin pretty, but it helps with memory and liver function.
7. Calcium/Magnesium Blend
If you’ve got hormonal skin issues, then you’re going to love magnesium. It keeps hormones balanced and works on the nervous system to keep you chill and stress-free.
It reduces inflammation by lowering the levels of C-reactive protein in the body, which is associated with the body’s stress response. A study done on middle-aged overweight women showed that taking magnesium decreased inflammation significantly. (7)
Taking it with calcium improves our ability to absorb the levels we need. Calcium is good for skin in its own right because it helps cell renewal and the production of antioxidants that fight inflammation.
Solgar Calcium & Magnesium is a good vegetarian formula that supports bone health, balanced hormones, and healthy skin.
If you’re still struggling with acne and skin health, remember that you will NEVER achieve it without a healthy diet full of whole, natural foods!
This is a big emphasis of our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge as it’s about changing our eating habits and re-learning what we should and should not be eating.
People lose an average of 10-21 pounds in 21 days and absolutely love it! But even better than the weight loss is the feedback we get from people about how the program has taught them how to change their eating habits and find a diet that truly works for them in the long-term.
If you enjoyed this article on the best vitamins and supplements for acne and skin health or have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below!