When it comes to acne prevention and treatment, Dr. Zenovia recommends a multi-pronged, clinical approach. A healthy diet, stress reduction, and topical skincare are a few of the foundational components that can help treat and prevent acne breakouts. Hormonal acne, by definition, fluctuates with the menstrual cycle and commonly appears around the jawline and chin area. Females are more susceptible to hormonal acne since we experience fluctuations in female sex hormones including estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, monthly with our menses.
In this post, Dr. Zenovia highlights the top supplements for hormonal acne. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating any supplements into your diet. A healthcare professional can help you determine which vitamins you are deficient in and recommend appropriate dosages. Always consult with your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Top Hormonal Acne-Fighting Supplements
Mineral supplements that Dr. Zenovia recommends including in an acne treatment plan include vitamin D, zinc, fish oil, vitamin C, probiotics, and B vitamins.
Vitamin D is very important for the immune system. Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to various skin diseases including atopic dermatitis (eczema), psoriasis, and other skin disorders. This vitamin’s powerful immune-regulatory properties can also help reduce acne symptoms. One study found that Vitamin D deficiency was more common in patients with acne and that taking a Vitamin D supplement for two months improved acne lesions in people with a Vitamin D deficiency.
Our skin and kidneys are the two main organ systems that generate Vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D metabolism is a complicated process that involves critical conversion reactions to form the active Vitamin. In fact, UV radiation, or sunlight is a vital part of this delicate chemistry in the skin. Many of us are deficient in adequate sun exposure due to cold winters or spending most of our days indoors. Therefore, Vitamin D levels are low in colder areas of the world simply based on diminished sun exposure.
Vitamin D supplements can strengthen your immune system and keep your bones and muscles healthy. Some studies also suggest that Vitamin D can help protect us against becoming infected with COVID-19.
Aside from sunlight and taking an oral supplement, good sources of Vitamin D in foods include oily fish (salmon, sardines, & herring), liver, mushrooms, orange juice, and egg yolks.
Zinc has been found to decrease oil production in the skin. One study showed that zinc supplements reduced the acne incidence in patients’ skin by 85%. However, Zinc alone cannot fix acne.
It is important to note that you only need a very small amount of Zinc in your body. Excess zinc intake can lead to other complicated metabolic issues like a copper deficiency. Supplements and minerals often interact together so blindly taking too much of a supplement can be detrimental. Aside from an oral supplement, good food sources of Zinc include beans, nuts, whole grains, and certain types of seafood.
A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids has been shown to reduce total body inflammation. Studies have also shown that fish oil supplementation is positively associated with an improvement in acne severity, especially for individuals with moderate to severe acne. However, these results vary greatly for each individual because the source of acne varies greatly with each person. Some have a strong inflammatory component to their acne, while others have a comedonal element.
It’s important to note that few studies have observed the effects of Omega-3 supplements alone. Most research has been done in combination with other compounds and effects tend to vary on an individual basis- more research needs to be done in this area. However, I strongly believe in Omega-3 supplements for their general anti-inflammatory properties for the entire body. There are numerous strong studies that support Omega-3’s effects in the cardiovascular and rheumatologic systems and their powerful effect on the inflammatory system.
Due to its antioxidant properties, Vitamin C assists with wound healing and collagen re-modeling. Antioxidants in general prevent the potential damage of free radical oxygen molecules that harm our proteins, skin cells, and DNA. While not a direct cure for hormonal acne, Vitamin C supplements can help with the immune component to acne. Aside from oral supplements, good sources of Vitamin C in foods include citrus fruits (oranges), peppers, strawberries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and potatoes.
Probiotics are live cultures of good bacteria that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in our bodies. We live symbiotically with many microorganisms and bacteria are critical to our health and our immune balance. Gut health is paramount to immune health! Probiotics can be found in certain foods or taken in pill form as a supplement. Probiotics help restore a healthy balance in the gut, reduce inflammation, inhibit bacterial growth, restore the skin barrier, help balance hormones, and improve overall skin health. All women can benefit from taking a probiotic, but they are especially helpful for individuals with inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, eczema, or sensitive skin.
If the gut microbiome is altered, individuals can develop inflammation within their digestive tract, which affects general circulation and the skin’s overall health. Studies have shown that at the basic level, probiotics directly inhibit acne through the production of antibacterial proteins.
B complex vitamins assist in enzyme activation and play a role in hormone production and balance. Vitamin B supplements can also help reduce dryness and flakiness associated with dry, acne-prone skin. Nicotinamide, a form of vitamin B3 has been found to be effective at reducing acne symptoms.
Hormonal Acne Clearing Lifestyle Choices
In addition to oral supplements, adhering to a healthy, low inflammatory diet, reducing your intake of alcohol, quitting smoking, and using acne-targeting topicals can help clear the skin. Dr. Zenovia’s Clear Complexion Collection targets active acne and blemishes- plus, the additional mindful ingredients, like powerful antioxidants, emollients, and the REG-ulate360 Complex™, make the Clear Complexion Collection unique, holistic, non-drying, and very effective against acne.
If you are experiencing moderate to severe acne that isn’t going away, consult a board-certified dermatologist. There are many medications, both oral and topical, that dermatologists prescribe to control the various types of acne. We all outgrow our acne but scarring lasts a lifetime.