Skin Supplements and Acne
The inflammatory skin condition acne results when excess oil clogs the hair follicles. This results in unattractive, red bumps. Common in the teenage years, acne can last well into adulthood. Proven treatments include a variety of topical and internal medications though natural strategies like diet and natural supplements might help as well. Do not self-treat without consulting with a dermatologist; even seemingly benign supplements like vitamins can produce interactions and negative side effects.
Importance of Proper Skin Care
While supplements, prescription medications and diet might all help control acne, the American Academy of Dermatology, or AAD, stresses the importance of proper skin care. Taking care to wash your face, moisturize and wear sunscreen can help all treatments work more effectively notes the AAD. This means that going to bed every night with a dirty face can counteract any supplement or other treatment you use.
The University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC, explains that several natural supplements might help treat acne. The center notes research that has shown acne could be reduced by taking 30 mg twice a day for one month and 30 mg daily after that. High doses can cause a number of side effects and you should only embark on this regimen under professional supervision; do not use zinc if you currently take the antibiotic tetracycline for acne.
Vitamin A has been well-established as an effective treatment for acne and you will find it in the powerful oral prescription drug Accutane as well as many topical acne creams. The UMMC notes that supplementing with the pure vitamin might help but this fat-soluble vitamin can build up to toxic levels and cause dangerous side effects; again, only use this supplement under the supervision of a doctor.
Alternative Medicine Systems
Alternative medicine systems like Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine and homeopathy have a number of treatments for skin conditions like acne. Some treatments might entail a single supplement while others offer a combination of herbs and other substances in a specific concoction. Guggul, a popular herb in Indian medicine, has been shown to work as effectively as tetracycline in studies notes the UMMC. Ayurvedic combinations that included herbs like ginger, ashwgandha, turmeric and aloe to name a few also demonstrated benefit.
Popular homeopathic supplements for acne include belladonna, calendula, hepar sulphur, silicea and kali bromatum.
To derive optimal benefits from alternative system treatments, work with practitioners of these disciplines.
Nutrition vs. Supplements
While supplementation has its benefits at times, the AAD notes that you will derive optimal benefit from eating a wide variety of healthy foods that contain nutrients beneficial for the skin. They contain a wide range of nutrients in good combinations that will probably benefit you more in the long run that a concentrated supplement.
While generally safer and less toxic than many prescription treatments, vitamins, minerals and herbs contain components that exert changes in the body and might potentially interact with prescription medications or even other natural supplements. Some of the treatments mentioned here do carry some warnings.
Excess zinc can lead to side effects like immune suppression and interact with the popular antibiotic treatment for acne, tetracycline.
Your body stores vitamin A in its fat cells and taking too much can lead to toxicity. Do not use if pregnant or nursing.
Guggul can interact with blood-thinning medications and supplements that have blood-thinning properties like garlic as well as birth control pills; do not use guggul if you have or have a risk of developing hormone-dependent conditions like breast cancer. Do not use if pregnant or nursing.
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