Regardless of your skin type you can reduce sebum production with acne fighting vitamins to achieve blemish free skin or almost blemish free skin. There are many rumors and hype surrounding the use of vitamin b5, vitamin c, vitamin c serum and zinc. Yet scientific studies has proven the effectiveness of natural treatments which are as good or in some cases even more effective than prescription acne medications. Let’s look more closely at the effectiveness of natural, inexpensive ways to reduce sebum production and to manage your acne effectively.
What is sebum?
While not everyone may be familiar with the term ‘sebum’, everyone has experienced or know someone who has experienced or is experiencing greasy, shiny, oily skin. Sebum is the skin oils produced by sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands look like partially inflated balloons and are located just under the surface of the skin. The area with the most active sebaceous glands is the T-zone which is the forehead, nose and chin.
Contrary to the popular belief of sebum being a curse, sebum has many positive benefits. The sebaceous glands lubricates, protects and maintains the healthy appearance of skin and hair. It prevents skin from becoming dry and prevents hair from breaking or becoming dull and brittle.
Yet oily skin is a real problem for many people since it may block pores, cause acne outbreaks and negatively affect self-esteem and body image.
Vitamins A, C and E Help Reduce Sebum Production
Vitamin A is fat soluble vitamin taken in doses of 300,000IU per day for 2 weeks then 100,000IU for about 2 months can reduce or eliminate acne. High doses of Vitamin A should be taken with caution due to potential but rare side effects of headaches, hair loss, dry skin and nausea. Vitamin A helps to reduce and eliminate blackheads and whiteheads, repair damaged skin, rejuvenate the skin, unclog pores and minimize skin pigmentation.
In addition to supplements, make sure you are getting adequate dietary Vitamin A in your diet from foods like carrots, dark leafy greens, liver and sweet potatoes.
An antibacterial agent, Vitamin C has the potential to reduce the germs and bacteria in pores, stimulates collagen production, reduce sebum production, reduce dryness, reverse DNA damage and strengthens the immune system. In addition to helping keep your skin elastic and firm, Vitamin C accelerates the skin’s recovery from acne.
Vitamin C can be obtained from dark leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, and other Vitamin C rich foods. You may opt to take a supplement form of at least 1,00mg per day or use a topical mask. For the mask, combine one tablespoon Vitamin C powder with half a tablespoon of water (or alternatively aloe vera gel for moisture or witch hazel for an astringent). Apply for 10 – 15 minutes, rinse and pat dry.
If you are going to buy a topical Vitamin C product consider these tips. Look for a Vitamin C concentration of at least 10% in the product since many products only contain a minuscule amount of Vitamin C that will be of no real benefit to your skin. Even though Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant it does not work for everyone. Lastly, Vitamin C products are very expensive since Vitamin C is unstable and require specific formulation for it to remain stable and effective.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant which diminishes the appearance of scars, and evens out skin tone. Include dark leafy greens, broccoli and nuts in your diet to reduce blackheads and whiteheads.
In addition to taking supplements, Vitamin E can be applied topically by opening a Vitamin E capsule.
Magnesium is an effective acne fighting vitamin that is found in bran, nuts, and seeds.
Many acne sufferers have found remarkable results by applying a paste of Epsom Salt (magnesium sulfate) and warm water to the skin. After 15 to 20 minutes use a wet washcloth to scrub off the paste.
Use Vitamin B5 or Zinc as an Acne fighting Vitamin
While many acne sufferers attribute reduced acne with large doses of B5, there appears to be a common consensus in acne forums that the benefit may be only temporary. Yet Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, has received many positive reviews from acne sufferers who report the vitamin contributing to their skin clearing up.
Taken in high doses B5 can cause bloating and diarrhea. An alternative is to take a combination of topical, which has not shown to produce any side effects, and oral B5. A second option is to take a low dose of B5 at 750 mg with L-carnitine 250mg. L-carnitine may boost and quicken the effects of B5.
A study conducted at Duke University provides evidence that Zinc is an important antioxidant supporting healthy skin. Among the findings: “Zinc protects against UV radiation, enhances wound healing, contributes to immune and neuropsychiatric functions, and decreases the relative risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.” So, in addition to the antioxidant benefits zinc offers to our skin, zinc is also important for the proper functioning of the immune system.
The National Library of Science recognizes that zinc may be effective in the treatment of acne based on available science evidence. The Department of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York also recognizes zinc, along with vitamin A, and tea tree oil (also ayurvedic therapies) as over-the-counter remedies available for treating acne. However, its position on these remedies is that additional and better studies are needed to clarify the benefits.
It is best to consult your Doctor before taking high doses of any vitamins due to the potential side effects and/or drug interactions.
While taking supplements, by mouth and/or topically, may be effective in your battle against zits, blackheads and whiteheads, a balanced diet is a fundamental building block of healthy, blemish free skin.
* Drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day
* Add fish oil, olive oil, and flax seed oil to your diet.
* Choose colorful vegetables and fruit like papaya and squash as these are high in Vitamin A.
* Eat a high fiber diet for improved digestion and bowel cleansing to reduce the build-up of toxins in your body.
When used properly, acne fighting vitamins can reduce sebum production and keep your skin healthy, and blemish free for years to come.
Rostan EF, DeBuys HV, Madey DL, Pinnell SR., Duke University, Evidence supporting zinc as an important antioxidant for skin., Int J Dermatol. 2002 Sep;41(9):606-11 (PMID: 12358835)
The National Library of Science, MedlinePlus, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-zinc.html