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Is acne a cause of concern for you? Long-lasting inflammatory acne can be tough to tackle. Many people tend to use OTC products, Ayurvedic herbs and concoctions to deal with spots, zits and bumps. But, did you know that certain vitamins and minerals in your diet can heal & prevent it to a great extent?

In order to benefit from the required vitamins and minerals, you need to first determine your skin type and then identify the vitamins and minerals that you lack.

What Vitamins Are You Lacking If You Have Acne?

According to the June 24 issue of Science Translational Medicine, the lack of vitamin B12 may be a major cause of acne. Vitamin B12 disrupts a type of skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes, which causes acne on your skin. [1]

Similarly, a lack of certain other vitamins and minerals can also cause acne breakouts, as they protect your skin from acne-causing bacteria and control your sebum production. According to a study conducted in 2006, it was observed that patients with severe acne problems had lower plasma concentrations of vitamins A and E compared to those with less or minimal acne problems.

When vitamin C levels are low in your body, the epidermis or outer layer of your skin becomes dry and damaged. In this situation, your body might forcefully produce an excess amount of sebum in order to balance the dryness, which in turn causes pimples and acne.

A lack of zinc in your body also makes your skin vulnerable to the inflammatory reactions of dead cells, dirt, oil and bacteria build-up on your skin.

7 Vitamins & Minerals That Are Good For Acne

1. Vitamin A

Vitamin A with chemical formula

Retinoids and carotenoids are the two types of vitamin A that are converted into retinol by the liver. Skin is a retinol-responsive organ that absorbs vitamin A quickly. This retinol helps in producing new skin cells and keeping your skin healthy. Carotenoids are rich in antioxidants and help reduce acne. [2]

A. Benefits

  • The American Academy Of Dermatology says that vitamin A when applied topically or consumed in the form of food, can help prevent and treat acne spots and lesions.
  • Retinol decreases inflammation in your skin.
  • It helps smoothen your skin by leveling the bumps caused by acne.
  • It protects your skin from environmental pollution and prevents dirt accumulation on your skin.
  • Retinol also helps in decreasing sebum production in your skin.

B. Vitamin A Rich Foods

  • Foods that are rich in retinoids are dairy products like milk, butter, cheese, etc. Eggs and fish are also rich in retinoids. Cod liver oil and crustacean animals are rich in vitamin A.
  • Foods that are rich in carotenoids are mostly vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables and fruits like mangoes, apricots and plums.

2. Zinc

Food rich in zinc

Zinc is one of the most important nutrients that your body needs for a healthy immune system and for fighting harmful bacteria. Although most people receive the required amount of zinc from their food, some people need extra zinc supplements.

A. Benefits

  • Zinc contains antioxidants that control the production of keratinocytes. While these prevent the separation of skin cells, overly packed keratinocytes can cause blockage in pores, resulting in acne breakouts. [3]
  • Zinc is also a natural DHT-blocker, which means that it controls the sebum production in your skin. Sebum is an oil naturally produced by your skin to moisturize it, but too much of its production can cause an acne breakout.
  • A 2012 study in the Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology states that the antibacterial properties of zinc kill the bacteria that invade your pores and cause an acne breakout.
  • Zinc also helps your body better absorb vitamin E, which is a nutrient that heals your skin from any inflammation or breakout.
  • Apart from acne vulgaris which is the most common type of acne breakout, zinc also treats cystic acne, pustules, melasma, rosacea, comedones, whiteheads and blackheads.

B. Foods Rich In Zinc

  • Green beans are rich in zinc, which is why you should always include them in your meals.
  • Most dairy products
  • Almonds, cashews and various other nuts
  • Chicken and poultry products
  • Red meat also contains high concentrations of zinc.
  • Whole grains are a good way to intake zinc through daily meals.

3. Vitamin C

Vitamin C in fruits and vegetables

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that helps in balancing unstable radicals in your body and controlling acne breakouts. Your epidermis or the topmost layer of your skin mainly contains vitamin C in high concentration. It protects your skin from external acne-causing pollutants and heals your skin if it’s affected.

A. Benefits

  • Vitamin C is an anti-inflammatory nutrient. It helps reduce redness and swelling caused by acne when applied topically on your acne lesions. According to a study conducted for 12 weeks, it was observed that 61% of participants who used vitamin C infused lotions on their acne lesions observed rapid healing and rejuvenation.
  • Vitamin C treats your acne scars by boosting the synthesis of collagen. Collagen is a vital protein that helps in rebuilding your skin’s structure and heals any kind of wound.
  • When applied topically or consumed through your diet, vitamin C also helps in reducing hyperpigmentation by controlling the enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is responsible for the production of melanin, which if overproduced can cause hyperpigmentation.
  • Importantly, vitamin C does not interfere with your natural tone but brightens the areas that are affected by dark spots and marks.

B. Foods Rich In Vitamin C

  • All citrus fruits like oranges and lemons.
  • Chilies and peppers
  • Strawberries, blueberries and blackcurrants
  • Potatoes
  • Green vegetables like Brussel sprouts and broccoli
  • Leafy green vegetable
  • Tomatoes
  • Apart from this, you can also consume vitamin C supplements according to your doctor’s prescription.

4. Vitamin D

Vector illustration of vitamin D foods

Your body needs vitamin D for various reasons, mainly for strengthening your bones and teeth by better absorption of calcium. But did you know that vitamin D also helps with your acne? [4]

A. Benefits

  • Vitamin D has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Its anti-bacterial qualities help in fighting acne-causing bacteria. Acne also causes inflammation on your skin and vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce those inflammations.

B. Foods Rich In Vitamin D

  • Sunlight is the best source of vitamin D for your body. However, some people are sensitive to direct sunlight on their skin. So, if you cannot tolerate even 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight daily, there are other options too.
  • Foods like egg yolk, mushroom, cow milk, nut milk, oats, cod liver oil, etc are also rich in vitamin D.

5. Vitamin E

Foods rich in vitamin E with chemical formula

Vitamin E combined with zinc is a great way to prevent and heal acne and acne marks. Vitamin E is made up of four tycopherol proteins and four tocotrienol proteins that help with reducing acne. [5]

A. Benefits

  • Vitamin E is extremely essential to keep your skin healthy and moisturized. A lack of vitamin E can make your skin dry. This can force your skin to produce excess sebum, which can lead to acne breakouts.
  • Vitamin E oil is easily absorbed by the skin due to its fat-soluble nature. It then boosts the healing process of acne scars.
  • Vitamin E also controls the collagen and elastin production of your skin, keeping it plump and radiant.
  • It also helps keep your hormones in balance. A disbalance in hormones is one of the major reasons for acne.

B. Foods Rich In Vitamin E

  • Considered a superfood, sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E. 1 cup of sunflower seeds can provide you with 100% of the daily vitamin E you need.
  • Almonds and hazelnuts are rich in vitamin E too.
  • Fruits like mangoes, avocados and tomatoes are other rich sources. By eating a whole mango you can get 20% of the daily vitamin E you need, whereas an entire avocado gives you 18% of the required amount.
  • Green and leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli are good sources of vitamin E.
  • Other vegetables like butternut squash are also a good source of vitamin E.

6. Vitamin B3

Niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that is essential for healthy cells and for the fats and sugars in your body to function properly. It is a popular ingredient nowadays that is used in most skincare products.

A. Benefits

  • Using 2% of niacinamide in your daily skincare routine can lower the sebum production in your skin which is a major contributor to acne. It is often used by commercial skincare brands and treatments for treating acne-prone skin.
  • It helps in keeping your skin moisturized. The epidermis of dry skin secretes an excess amount of sebum to balance the skin’s moisture which leads to acne breakout.
  • It also protects your skin from UV radiation, environmental pollution, when applied topically. This prevents dark spots and hyperpigmentation due to external factors.
  • Acne also causes inflammation that leads to redness on your skin. Niacinamide has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce this redness.

B. Foods Rich In Vitamin B3

  • Peanuts
  • Liver of animals that have red meat.
  • Chicken breast.
  • Brown rice.
  • Avocado.
  • Whole grains.
  • Vegetables like potatoes, mushrooms, etc.

7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Acne is a skin condition that is related to inflammation which is why anti-inflammatory fatty acids like omega-3 prove to be essential in treating them.

A. Benefits

  • There are mainly 3 types of omega-3 but EPA and DHA are the two types that have anti-inflammatory effects and can indirectly fight acne by reducing inflammation.
  • Although the effectiveness of omega-3 depends on the vitals of the person using it, the type of acne and the type of omega-3 used.

B. Foods Rich In Omega-3

  • Sea fish like salmon, sardines, cod, mackerel and fish oils are rich in omega-3.
  • Flax seeds and chia seeds are also rich in omega-3.
  • Soybeans and walnuts are a good sources of omega-3

The Last Word

Even though all the above-mentioned vitamins and minerals are essential for your skin’s health, there is a limit to consuming them. If you consume more than the required amount of vitamin A, C, D, or E, it can accentuate your acne problems or even affect your skin’s health.

Consult your dermatologist to know whether you can take vitamin supplements or apply them topically for the most effective results.

Know Your Dosha Now

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