Recognizable in a variety of food sources, from carrots, sweet potatoes, to kale and apricots, we know this vitamin to help with red blood cell production, to provide immune system support, give our skin that healthy glow, protect our eyesight, and more.
It is actually an antioxidant, belonging to a class of chemical compounds known as retinoids. Vitamin A can therefore also be referred to as Retin-A, whereas the active alcohol component that is found in the vitamin is called retinol.
Dermatologists frequently prescribe Retin-A as a topical acne treatment. Accutane (another form of vitamin A) can also be prescribed as an oral treatment for severe cases of nodular acne; it helps to treat the inflammation of the skin.
Treating Acne with Vitamin A
The build-up of dead skin cells which become blocked in hair ducts or pores on the skin directly relate to the development of acne. When the body absorbs vitamin A, it helps the skin to shed the dead skin cells that build up. The vitamin also releases antioxidants that are crucial to the body in fighting inflammation that acne causes on the skin.
Those who suffer from inflammatory acne, either on their body or their face, would do well to increase their dose of vitamin A in their diet. Typically, 10, 000 IU per day can be purchased at any drugstore or grocery store. If you are pregnant be sure to discuss this vitamin with your doctor, you should already be taking a prenatal vitamin.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Another familiar name we often hear surrounded by talk of fish and seafood. What is also referred to as Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA), this fatty acid can be absorbed by the intake of fatty fish, like mackerel, chia and flax seeds, walnuts, and some vegetable oils.
Omega-3 and its Treatment of Acne
If you are looking for anti-inflammation properties then this is the product for you. Just as Vitamin A helps to fight the inflammation that can often rear its ugly head with the development of acne, so too does Omega-3 help to reduce it.
Inflammation occurs often before the acne actually develops, at the systemic level, and then, in turn, the acne results and more inflammation become apparent. Inflammation is also related to other chronic diseases and scientists are therefore always looking at ways to help reduce unnecessary inflammation in the body.
When the fatty acid is ingested it works to clear the acne from the individual’s system. Scientists believe that it inhibits two specific chemicals that are the culprit behind the development of acne. These culprits are known as PGE2 and LTB4 and cause inflammation in the body.
Omega-3 inhibits the production of the two chemicals, naturally. In some cases, the drug Accutane can be prescribed and this too will fight off the two inflammatory chemicals.
If you find that you can’t get enough Omega-3 fatty acids through food alone, you can take EPZ Omega-3 supplements to help fight the inflammation of your acne. Diets high in this fatty acid, such as in places of Japan or Papua New Guinea have fewer acne breakouts, overall.
Increasing the Dosage
If you find that you suffer greatly from inflammatory acne, on any part of your body, you will want to increase the number of foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids. You may also want to add a supplement of 2,000 mg of EPA Omega-3 each day.
Some people prefer to ingest fish oil or even flax seed oil, as they are naturally high in the fatty acid and can also help to fight the inflammation of acne. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you are taking any other anti-inflammatory medicine or if you may be pregnant, and always be sure to read the label first.
You can be creative and cook your food in oils that are high in the Omega-3 fatty acid, such as canola, flax, or walnut oil, all are great options. Eggs can also be purchased as enriched with the fatty acid and are a great addition to your diet.
Be sure to avoid oils that can stimulate the PGE2 chemical, which is known to cause acne, which can be found in, peanut, soybean, palm, and sunflower oils.
What it is and How It Treats Acne
Zinc is a mineral that is found in a variety of foods from legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and meats. It aids in the development of the brain, the immune system, our reproductive organs, and aids in growth and overall development.
We previously discussed the benefits of ingesting foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids or even taking a supplement but adding zinc to this intake helps to metabolize it. And just as Vitamin A is high in antioxidants and Omega-3 are high in anti-inflammatories, so too is zinc.
Zinc also is known to break down the substance P, a nerve chemical that when the body is feeling stressed produces more sebum, the oily or waxy material that clogs pores. Zinc also helps to transport Vitamin A from the liver to its needed destination. Sufferers of acne have been shown to have low levels of zinc in their bodies.
The Intake of Zinc
When combined with Omega-3 and Vitamin A, the benefits can be many. Not only will taking zinc help fight off inflammation, with the transportation of Vitamin A, and help release antioxidants into the body, but it will also help to boost your metabolism.
The proper dosage requires about 40 mg each day to fight off both inflammatory acne and non-inflammatory acne. Zinc can be found in a multi-vitamin or in a combination with other vitamins but be sure to talk with your doctor first.
Selenium and Acne
Another mineral that is full of antioxidants and is found in whole grains, seafood, nuts, and seeds and its main job is to protect other antioxidants. As we previously discussed the importance of antioxidants in the body, the absorption of selenium and its ability to preserve the other antioxidants, like zinc, in the body from degrading is an important tool for the body.
Selenium coordinates its efforts in the glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme in the body that works to prevent inflammation of acne. In order for this enzyme to do its job, it requires selenium to be present; studies have shown sufferers of acne have low levels of this enzyme and selenium.
To help fight acne, and the inflammation that coincides with it, a combination of selenium and Vitamin E, are often suggested. Other inflammatory conditions can also worsen if the levels of selenium are low, such as eczema and psoriasis.