Acne occurs when the hair follicles become clogged with sebum and dead skin debris. Acne flare-ups usually occur during puberty and in some cases, they persist even during early adulthood. Acne is more common in people with oily skin. Elevated levels of the male hormones during adolescence stimulate the sebaceous glands in the facial skin, triggering excess sebum secretion.
Elevated sebum production when combined with heightened activity of the P. acnes bacteria and irregular maturation of the skin cells causes acne. Acne is a highly bothersome skin condition, which may cause scarring of the skin. Certain supplements can help to treat acne and reduce the incidence of recurrent acne flare-ups. They work primarily by regulating sebum production and promoting rapid healing of the zits.
Common Supplements for Acne
Zinc is an important nutrient for the immune system. Zinc supplements help to speed up the acne healing process. Moreover, it plays an important role in regulating the activities of the sebaceous glands, thereby reducing the frequency and severity of acne breakouts.
The standard dose of mineral zinc for treating acne is 30 mg once or twice a day. To prevent side effects, zinc supplements should be taken with food. However, zinc supplements should not be used by people on tetracycline, an antibiotic often used for treating severe acne flare-ups.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplement
According to studies, communities on a traditional diet rich in fatty fish tend to have least risk of developing acne. Researchers believe that the omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil may play a role in preventing acne breakouts.
The anti-inflammatory effect of the omega-3 fatty acids suppresses activities of leukotriene B4, an inflammatory chemical that stimulates the sebaceous glands. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, especially fish oil and supplements containing the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic (EPA) can benefit people prone to acne.
Borage Seed Oil Supplement
Borage seed oil supplement contains gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a type of omega-6 fatty acid with anti-inflammatory property. By inhibiting synthesis of the inflammatory compound leukotriene B4 it helps to treat acne.
The effect of gamma linolenic acid in treating acne is comparable to acne drugs that work by inhibiting leukotriene B4. About one to two grams of borage seed oil can be taken daily for treating acne. To ensure absorption of the essential fatty acid, do not take borage seed oil with any fiber supplement.
Studies suggest that people susceptible to severe acne outbreaks tend to have low serum concentration of selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant. Supplementation with selenium helps to improve the level of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which plays a role in preventing acne development.
People suffering from acne can take about 400 mcg of selenium daily for about 12 weeks. Selenium supplements should not be taken for a prolonged period. High levels of selenium in the blood may cause diarrhea, fatigue, irritation, hair loss, bad breath and nerve damage.
Vitamin E Supplement
Selenium supplement when combined with vitamin E causes significant improvement in the condition of the skin. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin E help to reduce the inflammation and clear the lesions. About 20 mg of vitamin E can be taken daily to treat acne.
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