Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
You know the saying beauty starts from with in? This is not just a reference on morals but a very practical observation about the health of your skin. What we put in our bodies effects how we look, and there are a number of essential vitamins that do wonders for the skin. HOWEVER, they do not TREAT acne.
Certain vitamins and minerals may be a great adjunct to treating acne, and help your skin to be healthy and glowing.
Acne is a manifestation of an internal imbalance that leads to the overproduction of sebum (skin oil) by the sebaceous glands. This extra sebum together with dirt creates an ideal condition for bacteria, which results in inflammation that presents itself as acne (pimples, cysts etc). The only treatment for acne is to reprogram your sebaceous glands to stop working overtime, which will result in actually PREVENTING new acne from coming. Anything less - topical products and antibiotics - focus on symptoms of acne and address the inflammation rather than the real root cause of acne.
To treat acne, you need to rebalance the body and "reprogram" the sebaceous glands to produce a "normal" amount of sebum.
With that said, there are some "helpers" that can assist in winning the acne battle.
Vitamin E is the most powerful bioactive antioxidant among all vitamins. It can immediately catch and remove any free radicals that come near your cells - it really is the best antioxidant you can wish for. Since Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, it lasts longer in your body doing much good. It even outlasts Vitamin C, which is also a great skin vitamin. Since Vitamin E increases skin health, it will also help collagen production and therefore may help reducing the appearance of acne scars and marks, stretch marks or age spots. In addition to taking Vitamin E into your body orally, you can also use it topically.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that helps to keep your skin cells safer while you are exposed to sun UV rays, pollution and other damaging environmental and stress factors. Adequate intake of Vitamin C can effectively deter the aging process, prevent skin discoloration and brighten your skin tone.
If your skin has been feeling scaly and dry, then there's a possibility that you might be Vitamin A deficient. Individuals who are suffering from acne are also encouraged to take plenty of Vitamin A or apply products that are derivatives of the vitamin. Since Vitamin A also helps the skin rebuild itself, it is also an essential vitamin when it comes to healing wounds and other damages to the skin. So if you wish to get some help with acne scars and lines, wrinkles, dull skin and other skin aging symptoms, Vitamin A may be a good addition to your daily health routine.
Vitamin B6 helps your skin by reducing the amount of homocysteines in your blood. Homocysteines affect both your circulation system and endocrine system. Elevated levels of this compound cause cholesterol to form plaque, which impairs your blood flow. High homocysteines levels also trigger stress response, which can cause acne breakouts and hives. Vitamin B6 will also help oxygenate your skin, which in turn will speed up healing of inflammation and will add a healthy glow to your complexion.
Folate has the same stress reducing function as vitamin B6, and can also promote better oxygenation for your cells. Folate heightens your red blood cell production too. Higher concentration of red blood cells means more oxygen can be delivered to your skin and other tissue. Abundance of oxygen encourages faster skin regeneration. Eating a variety of dark leafy vegetables, beans and legumes, citrus fruits and fortified cereals is the easiest way to get the Foliate you need for a look of rejuvenation.
Pantothenic acid is crucial in helping to prevent acne, dermatitis and skin allergies. This vitamin helps your body break down fat and prevents surplus oil secretion from your sebaceous glands. Increased intake of pantothenic acid can reduce your pore size and improve your skin tone, making it a common ingredient in many skin care products. As helpful as this vitamin is for your skin, it will NOT work on its own - so add it to the acne treatment that works on causes of acne and you get yourself a winning combination.
The ideal way to get all the vitamins you need is in food. There is NO question about it. All of these vitamins mentioned can be part of your daily diet. So the more color you put on your plate, the better.
If you cannot guarantee that your diet contains a sufficient amount of "skin helpers," reaching out for supplements may be needed. Just make sure you read the labels before you buy. With a number of brands and products on the market, you may need to put some effort into choosing the one that is best for you. Try to look for natural, well established sources.
And also note too that the more milligrams per day is NOT automatically better. Review the recommended daily dose of a particular vitamin recommended for your age, gender and health status.
Vitamin E is most present in the following foods: asparagus, avocados, nuts and seeds, eggs and dairy products
Having 3 to 5 servings of fresh fruits like oranges, strawberries and grapes everyday is the best way to keep you full of Vitamin C.
You get a healthy supply of Vitamin A by eating eggs, leafy greens, carrots, pumpkins, liver and drinking milk (fat free or 1%-2% is perfectly fine).
You will find Vitamin B6 in meats, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Dark leafy vegetables like kale, mustard greens, broccoli rabe, as well as beans and legumes and citrus fruits supply a healthy amount of folate.
The best dietary sources for pantothenic acid include fish rich in Omega-3, red meat, wheat bran and yeast. You can also get an extra boost of pantothenic acid by taking a royal jelly supplement.
We are living in a culture that demands instant gratification. Unfortunately, if you expect an overnight miracle in treating acne, or in seeing instant results by using vitamins, you will be disappointed.
Treating acne takes time and perseverance since in addition to these acne supporters, you need to use a treatment that actually helps your sebaceous glands to come back to normal activities.
Vitamins, and any other support factors like diet, exercise, stress control and some topical agents have a cumulative effect so they need time to show their "good side" - but with this patience and perseverance comes results. Isn't your skin health worth it?
With a promise of clear skin,