Acne is the bane of many an individual. In addition to its physical manifestations, many who suffer from acne may also struggle with self-esteem issues and other socially-induced problems. While the greatest problems typically occur during adolescence, they can often linger well into adulthood – the scarring can be both physical and emotional. While there are a number of medical treatments available (some accompanied by extreme or dangerous side effects), many people may be able to find some relief from their acne with vitamin A supplements if they have also been diagnosed with a vitamin A deficiency.
What is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a naturally occurring, essential nutrient found in many fruits and vegetables that helps support healthy skin. As an antioxidant, it combats the bacteria responsible for acne by mitigating the impact of free radicals that affect sebaceous skin glands. Additionally, it also reduces levels of sebum, a substance known to clog pores, in the skin. Not only are adequate levels of vitamin A helpful in fighting acne, it also strengthens skin tissue by promoting healthy skin growth. And, besides treating acne, it has been used to treat other skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema. Its efficacy has also been acknowledged in the treatment of cold sores.
The minimum daily requirements of vitamin A for women is 2300 IUs while men need 3000 IUs. Though deficiencies are rare, recent studies have detected a link between acne and diminished stores of vitamin A. While a diet rich in foods containing vitamin A (dairy, eggs, certain fish, meats, and vegetables with a high beta carotene content) is the best and safest source, there are some who may find their levels are depleted despite their best efforts. For these individuals, a medical examination and testing to determine vitamin A levels may be in order.
Carrots are a great natural source of vitamin A.
Vitamin A Supplements
If blood tests reveal low levels of vitamin A, talk with your doctor about dietary adjustments and adding vitamin A supplements for acne to your daily routine. There are a number of Vitamin A supplements that are proven effective for acne treatment, such as Atralin. However, take them only if approved and prescribed.
An Important Caveat about Vitamin A
Not everyone will find relief from acne by using vitamin A, so talk with your doctor if you do not notice an improvement. Also, Vitamin A can have serious side effects if too much is used or taken so be sure to follow the directives of the prescription exactly and avoid self-medicating. More is not always better.