I just ran into some interesting information on vitamins that are useful in the prevention and treatment of acne. I can not seem to find the original source of this research as it seems to have bee ncopied around to various sites around the internet.
In a double-blind trial, topical application of a 4% niacinamide gel twice daily for two months resulted in significant in improvement in people with acne.4 However, there is little reason to believe this vitamin would have similar actions if taken orally.
Several double-blind trials indicate that zinc supplements reduce the severity of acne.5 6 7 8 In one double-blind trial,9 though not in another,10 zinc was found to be as effective as oral antibiotic therapy. Doctors sometimes suggest that people with acne take 30 mg of zinc two or three times per day for a few months, then 30 mg per day thereafter. It often takes 12 weeks before any improvement is seen. Long-term zinc supplementation requires 1-2 mg of copper per day to prevent copper deficiency.
Large quantities of vitamin A-such as 300,000 IU per day for females and 400,000-500,000 IU per day for males-have been used successfully to treat severe acne.11 However, unlike the long-lasting benefits of the synthetic prescription version of vitamin A (isotretinoin as Accutane-), the acne typically returns several months after natural vitamin A is discontinued. In addition, the large amounts of vitamin A needed to control acne can be toxic and should be used only under careful medical supervision.
In a preliminary trial, people with acne were given 2.5 grams of pantothenic acid orally four times per day, for a total of 10 grams per day-a remarkably high amount.12 A cream containing 20% pantothenic acid was also applied topically four to six times per day. With moderate acne, near-complete relief was seen within two months, while severe conditions took at least six months to respond. Eventually, the intake of pantothenic acid was reduced to 1 to 5 grams per day-still a very high amount.
A preliminary report suggested that vitamin B6 at 50 mg per day may alleviate premenstrual flare-ups of acne experienced by some women.13 While no controlled research has evaluated this possibility, an older controlled trial of resistant adolescent acne found that 50-250 mg per day decreased skin oiliness and improved acne in 75% of the participants.14 However, another preliminary report suggested that vitamin B6 supplements might exacerbate acne.
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