Hormonal acne often requires a multi-faceted approach to fully treat the issue. Those who are looking to add a more holistic approach to their acne treatment may be curious about trying supplements to help their hormonal acne.
Read on to learn about the best vitamins for hormonal acne, as well as what to expect while taking supplements for acne.
What is Hormonal Acne?
As you can probably guess by the name, hormonal acne refers to acne that is caused by hormone levels. Here are the facts:
- Women are particularly prone to hormonal acne.
- Approximately 50% of women in their 20s and over 25% of women between the ages of 40 to 49 are affected by hormonal acne.
- This form of acne is often tied to fluctuations in hormones (such as during pregnancy, menstrual cycles, or menopause).
- The hormone fluctuations can trigger an increase in oil production, which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.
For adults, hormonal acne typically occurs on the lower part of the face, generally around the jawline, chin, and cheeks. Hormonal acne can take on many forms, including blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and pimples that come to a head.
What Vitamins Help With Hormonal Acne?
A dermatologist can prescribe an oral medication to treat cases of hormonal acne. However, some hormonal acne sufferers may prefer to try a more natural route to get their breakouts in check. Thankfully, there are vitamins and minerals that have been proven to help reduce the amount of hormonal acne flare ups.
“There are some studies that suggest that supplementation with certain vitamins may help manage hormonal and inflammatory acne flares, and that deficiencies of certain vitamins may correlate with the development of acne lesions,” says Dr. Tsippora Shainhouse, a Beverly Hills-based board-certified dermatologist.
The best vitamins for hormonal acne include the following:
Oral zinc supplements have been found to help reduce the severity of acne. One review of multiple studies found that the mineral has the ability to decrease skin’s oil production, as well as protect against inflammation. “Zinc helps decrease the inflammatory response to the acne bacteria and, by that, decrease the skin redness related to acne,” says Dr. Yoram Harth, a board-certified dermatologist and Medical Director of MDacne.
For some, a zinc deficiency may even be the underlying issue behind hormonal acne. “Zinc deficiency can lead to hormonal acne, as zinc is essential for wound healing, even acne,” says Dr. Stephanie Gray, founder of the Integrative Health and Hormone Clinic in Hiawatha, Iowa. She advises that patients suffering from hormonal acne could get a blood panel done to check their zinc levels.
2. Vitamin D
In a 2016 study, researchers found that adults with inflammatory acne tend to have lower vitamin D levels. Those researchers later studied 39 of those patients, and found that taking 1000 IU of cholecalciferol (vitamin D) daily for 2 months reduced the severity of acne – showing that it may be one of the best vitamins for hormonal acne. “While this may not prove causation, vitamin D supplementation may help prevent the development of new acne lesions,” says Dr. Shainhouse. Like with zinc, a doctor may order a blood panel for a patient to check their vitamin D levels.
3. Fish Oil
“Fish oil, although oily, can also still help reduce inflammation and thus help clear up acne in some individuals,” says Dr. Gray. A 2012 study found that an omega-3-rich fish oil supplement did help reduce acne severity in some patients. However, some did experience worsened symptoms, so this is not a one-size-fits-all supplement.
4. Vitamin B5
In a 2014 study, researchers found that the administration of a pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) supplement in adults with acne reduced acne severity after 12 weeks. “If your diet isn't as well-balanced as it should be, adding this supplement could help clear up acne,” says Dr. Harth. “Vitamin B5 has been shown to reduce sebum production. Vitamin B5 is also used for stress relief, indirectly aiding acne prevention through lowering anxiety levels.”
Best Vitamins for Hormonal Acne
Many hormonal acne sufferers may be interested in trying out supplements, but might not know where to start. If you want to incorporate some of the best vitamins for hormonal acne into your routine, you can see if one of these top-quality supplements can help keep your breakouts in check.
1. Peak Performance Raw Whole Food Zinc Supplement with Copper
If you are looking for a zinc supplement for acne. The bottle contains 30 vegetarian capsules, and the serving size is one supplement per day. One capsule contains 15mg of zinc, as well as 2mg of copper. These core ingredients work together to create a powerful antioxidant. The capsules also have an organic food and vegetable blend, which is meant to help with absorption. This blend includes wheatgrass, chlorella, spirulina, alfalfa, and more.
2. Carlson Vitamin D3
Those who are looking for the best vitamins for hormonal acne can try out this vitamin D3 supplement from the brand Carlson. One bottle contains 250 soft gels, and the serving size is one soft gel per day. Each soft gel has 1000 IU of vitamin D3, so you'll be getting an effective amount to treat hormonal acne. The soft gels are gluten-free, milk and casein-free, and preservative-free.
3. Viva Naturals Ultra Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil
Those who are looking to increase their omega-3 intake may want to check out these fish oil supplements from Viva Naturals. The brand offers bottles with 180 and 90 supplements, and the serving size is 2 soft gels. Each serving contains 2200mg of pure fish oil. The servings also have 1400mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 480mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are omega-3 fatty acids. The company uses an extraction method that strips away toxins, heavy metals, and other harmful components, so you are getting high-quality fish oil without any unnecessary elements.
Treating Hormonal Acne with Vitamins: What to Expect
If you are thinking about treating your hormonal acne with vitamins, there are a few factors you should keep in mind.
First, you should know how long it’ll take to notice effects. “Expect it to take longer for a vitamin supplement to impact acne control then classically proven over-the-counter and prescription anti-acne ingredients,” says Dr. Shainhouse. “It usually takes a minimum of eight weeks to notice improvement for most individuals.”
1. It Takes a Lot of Time
You should be patient with your vitamins, but you should also recognize when it is time to seek another option. “If a three month trial leads to no significant improvement in your acne it’s time to see a board-certified dermatologist,” says Dr. Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce, a board-certified dermatologist based in Austin, TX.
2. They May Not Completely Cure Breakouts
While vitamins may help decrease hormonal acne, they may not be able to keep breakouts completely at bay.
“Vitamin supplementation may not be sufficient management for more moderate or severe acne as a sole treatment plan,” says Dr. Shainhouse.
In addition to being vigilant about keeping up with your skincare routine and using non-comedogenic products, you may need to talk to a dermatologist about other ways to help treat your hormonal acne.
3. You Must Also Manage Your Diet
Dr. Gray also stresses the importance of diet when managing hormonal acne. “Although supplements can help, there’s no pill, potion, or powder that can replace diet changes,” she says. “If you are eating too much sugar, dairy, or other inflammatory foods, changing the diet is the most important for you!”
4. Look Out For Side Effects
Of course, it is also important that you consult with your doctor before trying out a new supplement. This is especially true for patients who are on any other medications, because vitamins can interfere with their effects.
Dr. Shainhouse also adds that side effects can develop with vitamins. If you notice any side effects, discontinue use of the supplements and talk to your doctor about the best course of action for your unique needs.
How do I get rid of hormonal acne?
There are a few ways to treat hormonal acne. Some may have success using one (or a few) vitamins that can help treat hormonal acne. Others may need to get a prescription for oral medication from a dermatologist. Regardless of any supplements or medications you may take, you should also maintain a skincare routine that includes cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing, and targeted treatments.
Does fish oil help hormonal acne?
Studies have shown that fish oil may help some acne sufferers reduce their breakouts. However, the supplement doesn’t work for everyone, as some do experience worsened symptoms.
What is the best vitamin for acne?
Different people will react differently to certain vitamins, so there is no single gold standard. Some of the best vitamins for hormonal acne include zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B5, and fish oil.
Summary: Best Vitamins for Hormonal Acne
- Peak Performance Raw Whole Food Zinc Supplement with Copper
- Carlson Vitamin D3
- Viva Naturals Ultra Strength Omega-3 Fish Oil
The Bottom Line
Hormonal acne primarily affects women. Typically, a fluctuation in hormones triggers this type of acne. Some of the best vitamins for hormonal acne include zinc, vitamin D, vitamin B5, and fish oil. Those suffering from hormonal acne should maintain a consistent anti-acne skincare routine, in addition to trying out supplements. If you do not see results after 3 months of taking a supplement, you might want to make an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss other options.