Fighting AcneRead Time: 4 minutes
Skin is the largest organ on the human body. Skin serves as a protective barrier, regulates body temperature, and allows for the elimination of sweat and oils. A person’s complexion will change with age and time. Sickness and environmental factors can also affect the look and feel of skin. Changes in sex hormones, cortisol, and the thyroid will directly impact skin health, function, and appearance. Vitamins and minerals can help rebalance hormone levels, fight acne, and lead to clearer skin. Topical and oral medications have shown to be highly effective in the fight against acne. 4 of the most popular acne-fighting vitamins and minerals include vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, and vitamin E.
1. Vitamin A
Vitamin A counters the adverse effects acne has on the skin. Vitamin A is an antioxidant and fights free radicals, which can cause cell damage and lead to premature aging of the skin. Vitamin A also decreases inflammation, promotes new skin cell growth, and protects against environmental damage. Topical treatments are recommended over oral supplements.
2. Vitamin D
Vitamin D boosts the immune system and has antimicrobial properties. Similar to vitamin A, vitamin D blocks the negative effects acne bacteria has on the skin. Vitamin D helps more than just bones and is used to treat many skin conditions.
Zinc has been found to decrease the production of oil in the skin. Decreasing the production of oil helps reduce the chance of bacterial growth and blocked pores. The body only needs low amounts, approximately 8-11 milligrams, to meet daily allowances. Zinc can be taken as an oral supplement or topical treatment.
4. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is largely used as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The fat-soluble properties of vitamin E allow for quick absorption into the skin. The faster products are absorbed, the quicker acne can heal. Vitamin E helps the skin lock in moisture and promotes the production of collagen.
A bonus tip
Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. The oil reduces acne-causing bacteria and can reduce redness and frequency of breakouts. Best used as a spot treatment over full-face care, tea tree oil should be used solely as a topical application.
How do hormones affect the skin?
Each hormone in the human body has a specific function. Sex hormones control the development of sexual organs and all reproductive processes. These same hormones impact muscle mass, bone density, sebum production, and growth of body hair. Cortisol regulates the body’s fight or flight process and can affect weight gain. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, muscle control, mood, and brain development. When hormone levels are not in balance, the skin is often the first part of the body to show signs that something is off.
Hormones in men and women
Hormones will affect men and women differently. Many of the changes in skin are directly tied to the production of sebum, the skin’s natural oil. The sebaceous glands are highly sensitive to changes in sex hormone levels, specifically testosterone. Increased testosterone often leads to the overproduction of sebum. During puberty, testosterone levels rise in both females and males. As men get older, testosterone levels even out. For women, testosterone levels increase right before the menstrual cycle. Changes in testosterone levels and increased production of sebum are the leading causes of acne.
Hormones directly impact the appearance and feel of skin. Each hormone will have a different impact on the body. Testosterone has the most significant effect on acne. Men are more prone to have acne surrounding puberty. Women are more prone to acne right before monthly menstrual cycles. Increasing consumption of vitamin A, D, zinc, and vitamin E can help fight acne and lead to clearer skin. For more tips on acne treatment and supplements, consult a dermatologist or pharmacist for more information.