This chronic skin condition is characterized by outbreaks of pimples and other eruptions, most often on the face but also on the neck, shoulders, upper back, chest, and buttocks. Acne occurs when the sebaceous, or oil, glands at the base of hair follicles in the skin secrete too much sebum. Excess sebum can back up and clog pores, forming light-colored bumps, called whiteheads, and dark-colored spots, called blackheads. If a clogged pore becomes infected by bacteria normally found on the surface of the skin, the result can be a raised inflamed blemish or a pus-filled pimple.
- Vitamin A helps prevent overproduction of sebum, making it a key anti-acne supplement. Try taking high doses (25,000 IU a day) of Vitamin A until acne begins to clear up, but for no more than a month. After a month, reduce dosage to 10,000 IU a day, if necessary. Women who are pregnant or considering pregnancy should not take more than 5,000 IU of Vitamin A a day.
- Vitamin B6 helps regulate levels of certain hormones associated with acne, if menstrual cycles trigger acne outbreaks.
- Zinc boosts immune function and reduces inflammation and helps balance hormone levels. If you take zinc for more than a month, combine it with copper, because long-term zinc use can interfere with copper absorption.
- Combine Zinc with essential fatty acids, which help dilute sebum so that it’s less likely to clog pores. Flaxseed oil and borage or evening primrose are good sources of essential fatty acids.