4 supplements to manage stubborn acne
4 supplements to manage stubborn acne (plus one you need to avoid)
By Jacqueline Evans, Clinical Nutritionist and Founder of Jacqueline Evans Naturopathic Skincare
Are you through your (awkward) teen years and yet still struggling with acne? You're in good company, many people deal with pimples and breakouts well in to their 20's, 30's and even 40's. #pimplesandwrinkles
And, I can tell you from speaking with our (amazing) customers, adult acne is even more frustrating, more embarrassing and can be more difficult to clear.
Acne can be triggered by hormones, genetics, your gut, stress, diet and other lifestyle factors. There's no one size fits all approach when it comes to treating acne, and while the right skin products are important (and our Face Essentials Pack for Oily Skin is a bit of a game changer) a healthy, balanced body is even more crucial.
There are certain supplements that may help to treat the underlying cause of your acne - here's the top 4 on my list;
> Skin Loving Nutrient #1: Vitamin A
Acne is a genetic condition that accelerates cell turnover in your skin (a process called retention hyperkeratosis). Acne-prone skin sheds up to five times more dead skin cells than normal. These dead skin cells start to build up and clog your pores.
If that’s not bad enough, these layers of dead skin react with the bacteria on your skin and create a sticky layer to form under your skin. This creates what’s known as a microcomodone. That’s the beginning of a breakout.
So, if you slow down cell turnover, you can stop excess dead skin cells from clogging your pores. And that’s where Vitamin A can help!
Vitamin A slows down this cell turnover, so dead skin cells stop clogging your pores. It’s also an antioxidant that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, so it can help reduce redness and swelling.
And for these reasons we include Vitamin A in the form of Carrot Oil in our Jojoba & Camellia Balancing Cream because beauty from the inside - out.
Since it’s difficult to get the therapeutic dose of vitamin A through diet alone, it’s best to take it in supplement form. Always a good idea to chat to your Healthcare practitioner before supplementing.
> Skin Loving Nutrient #2: Zinc
Zinc is an important part of every health regimen – but this essential mineral works wonders for relieving stubborn acne, too.
Zinc is an effective natural anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial which protects against harmful bacteria on your skin. It also breaks down a compound called “substance P”, a nerve chemical that causes oil production when your body is stressed.
So, if you tend to break out during times of stress—zinc can help!
Zinc works particularly well when teamed with vitamin A and the next mineral on our acne- fighting list:
> Skin Loving Nutrient #3: Omega 3 Fish Oil
Omega-3 fish oil is rich in compounds known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) — which are great for the health of your skin. They act as natural anti-inflammatories that help soothe inflammation caused by excess sebum and bacteria.
What’s more, they also fight off the action of PGE2 and LTB4 — two inflammatory chemicals that trigger acne breakouts.
Fish, flaxseed oil, and avocados are great sources of Omega-3’s. But you’ll get the most benefits for your skin by taking it in supplement form.
> Skin Loving Nutrient #4: Probiotics
Did you know that your digestive health is directly linked to skin health? It’s true! When your digestive system runs smoothly the rest of your body does too—and your acne can improve.
Your digestive system is where your body absorbs nutrients from the foods you eat. It helps eliminate toxin from your body. It’s also where most of your immune cells live.
A struggling digestive system means toxins aren’t eliminated out of your body. Poor digestion also weakens your immune system and increases inflammation throughout your body. And you see it with breakouts, redness, dull skin and more.
One of the best ways to get your digestive system back on track is by taking a probiotic supplement. Probiotics feed your gut with the “healthy” bacteria it needs to get rid of toxins, reduce inflammation and balance your intestinal tract.
Probiotics are especially important if you've taken antibiotics. While antibiotics wipe out the unhealthy bacteria…they eliminate healthy bacteria as well. A probiotic supplement that contains a mix of both lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium can quickly re-establish healthy intestinal balance and eliminate acne and digestive problems fast. Always a good idea to chat to your healthcare practitioner to find out what probiotic is best for you. You can contact us here for more help on this
> BONUS: The One Popular Skin Vitamin You Should Never Take!
Biotin (Vitamin B7) is a popular ingredient in Hair, Skin and Nails supplements. It’s also found in many multivitamins and some protein powders. Conventional wisdom says that biotin can prevent your hair from becoming dry and brittle, so they recommend taking extra biotin to help your skin, hair and nails look soft and lustrous. But here’s a dirty little secret: Biotin happens to be one of the biggest offenders when it comes to triggering acne!
Both biotin and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) are absorbed from the intestines via the same receptors, and when taking biotin supplements, the amount of biotin in the gut far outweighs the quantity of vitamin B5, thereby leading to a relative vitamin B5 deficiency. Pantothenic acid is thought to regulate the barrier function of the surface layer on skin and can reduce acne lesions. Therefore, a deficiency of pantothenic acid—or excess of biotin—could lead to acne flares.
In simpler terms, you could be giving yourself a deficiency of B5 by taking an excess of biotin—and that’s what’s making your skin freak out.
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