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Can Vitamin D be the Secret to Acne-Free Skin?

From the day you notice your first spot, getting over acne can feels impossible. The tv, magazines and web are full of bottles, pills, and dietary regimens that all claim to be the new skincare miracle you can’t live without, and yet it seems like none of them work for you.

What is acne?

Acne is a disorder of the glands which lubricate the skin, called sebaceous glands. When these glands are blocked, bacteria begin to congregate and grow, your skin reacts to these bacteria which causes the redness and inflammation. Acne is one of the most prevalent skin conditions, primarily affecting teenagers.

Pimples, scaly red skin, blackheads, whiteheads, pinheads, and large papules all characterise acne. The most harmful form of acne is called cystic acne, which develops internally beneath the skin; whereas most other forms of acne are more topical and easier to address.

Traditional treatment of cystic acne requires both a topical and internal approach. Therefore, many people will choose to go onto antibiotics to treat acne, but these often come with risks. Antibiotics that are effective in killing bacteria also increase the risk of causing bacterial resistance which can lead to longer term issues. This is where vitamin D may the better solution.

Acne is often seasonal, with the winter months sometimes seeing the most severe disease and summer (when vitamin D levels are higher), a significant improvement, which led researchers to test the effect vitamin D levels had on acne.

Vitamin D supplements can reduce acne by 35%

In 2016, compared vitamin D levels of groups of people that had and acne and those that didn’t, the results found that acne sufferers were much more likely to be vitamin D deficient, more than twice as likely, with 48.8% of acne patients were vitamin D deficient whereas only 22.5% of those who were acne-free had a vitamin D deficiency.

The researches also considered whether vitamin D supplements can reduce acne. They gave one study group a vitamin D supplement and the other study group a placebo. The results showed that using the supplement reduced acne by an average 35%.

How exactly does it help?

Cell culture studies have shown that vitamin D protects the skins cells from irritation caused by bacteria. This means that the vitamin D reduces the number of blocked pores that become red and inflamed (acne).

Recommendations

If you are a teenager or adult with acne, the Vitamin D Council recommends supplementing with 5,000 IU to 10,000 IU/day of vitamin D, depending on your weight (higher weight individuals may require more vitamin D).  If you are unsure whether your vitamin D levels are low then you can test them at home with this test.

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