Do Acne Supplements Work? We asked the experts

An over-the-counter (or non-prescription) pill claiming to “cure” acne sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? We’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, but that’s because most of the time. . . this is. Skin supplements are big business these days, and those that promise to eliminate acne are a segment of the wellness industry that will only grow and show up more often in our lives (and our ads). Instagram).

While there are many effective treatments that work for acne, when it comes to dramatic claims within the supplement industry – which overall has very little scientific research behind it. – it is wise to be careful. This is especially important if someone is suffering from a skin condition such as acne, as patients can experience severe psychological impacts and therefore seek to try whatever products they can find to help with the condition.

Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, with the NHS reporting that a 95 percent of people aged 11 to 30 are affected in a certain way. With the large number of people suffering from acne in one way or another and the blurring of the line between the beauty and wellness industries promising us good health and good skin, it’s no surprise that acne-specific supplements are becoming more and more popular.

Being able to definitively answer the question of whether acne supplements work is beyond the scope of this article due to the lack of scientific evidence; However, with the help of the best dermatologists and skin experts, we’re here to help you break it down so you can make informed choices and not be dragged into spending hundreds of dollars on potentially overly promising products. and under-delivered.

So what are acne supplements anyway?

Supplements are designed to take the guesswork out of the makeup of nutrients that we don’t get from our diet. They come in pill, gum, or powder form, and since the beauty supplement boom, they can be found in all kinds of packaging. Historically, hair, nail, and skin supplements were sold at the drugstore promising longer hair, stronger nails, and more glowing skin from the inside out. Now, acne specific supplements are hitting the market for the sole purpose of targeting our rashes – and there are a lot brands to choose from. A quick Google search for “acne supplements” will give you some 47 million results, with products ranging from affordable, good-looking pill jars to luxurious, expensive pill jars.

How Are Acne Supplements Regulated?

In the United States, supplements are regulated as food, not drugs, by the Federal Drug Administration. Unfortunately, this means that federal law does not require that supplements be safe or effective before they are marketed. How a supplement is advertised, including radio and television advertisements, is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission.

This means that while there is regulation to some extent, much of the marketing falls on the consumer to decipher. The government’s advice to consumers is simple: “Beware of the hype and headlines. Sound health advice is usually based on research over time, not just one study. Still, it’s easier said than done.

What are the main ingredients in acne supplements?

According to experts we spoke to from the online dermatology platform Get harley, ingredients such as indole-3-carbinol, selenium, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B, omega-3s, spearmint, and lactobacilli are commonly found in supplements believed to specifically target acne. But as a certified dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, MD, pointed out, “There is no uniform belief that [all of these ingredients] are effective “when it comes to supplements.

Sophie Shotter, aesthetic doctor and founder of Illuminate skin clinic, also noted that oral probiotics for the skin are becoming more and more popular, but again, there is still a long way to go to obtain conclusive data on the subject. That being said, probiotics are an ingredient that is the subject of more research, including this 2020 study conducted by Iranian University of Medical Sciences – when it comes to their effectiveness in supplements.

On a separate note, Dr. Hirsch cited a 2021 study by researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York City looking for a supplement called NicAzel, which contained nicotinamide, azelaic acid, zinc, pyridoxine, copper and folic acid, in which acne patients showed improvement after taking it for eight weeks.

So, do acne supplements work?

All of the experts we spoke to agreed that on their own, acne supplements don’t work as a treatment. It must be a combination of treatments, which includes (but not limited to) a tailored skin care routine, prescription topicals, oral prescription medications, diet changes food and lifestyle, and psychological help. Each treatment plan is different for each person because there are different types of acne and no two cases are the same.

“As with everything, some supplements will help some people, but due to the volatile nature of acne, we know there is no cure, just different ways of trying to manage the disease,” said Debbie Thomas, Skin Specialist and Founder of D. Thomas Clinic.

That’s not to say the supplements don’t work at all. “Some doctors ask patients to take supplements, especially if blood tests show some kind of deficiency,” said Dr Hirsch. Although she also noted that many of these deficiencies can also be corrected through changes in diet.

In some cases, supplements can even make acne worse.

Unfortunately, for some people, taking excessive supplements can actually make their acne worse rather than helping to clear it up. “There are supplements that are actually known to cause rashes, which are not helped by the fact that many of these supplements contain ingredients in multiples of the recommended daily allowance,” said Dr Hirsch, adding: ” These include iodine, whey, B6, B12 and steroids ”, noting this 2020 study conducted by researchers at McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas. This is why it is so important to seek advice from your doctor or dermatologist, that way you don’t run the risk of taking too much or too little of a certain supplement.

To sum up a complex topic in very simplistic terms: Acne supplements will not cure your acne on their own, so there is no reason why as a consumer you feel like you have to spend your money. hard earned money in pills from brands claiming to do such a thing. That said, in some cases, supplements can help treat skin conditions, including acne, if you are lacking in certain nutrients. If you think this is the case, see your doctor (what you should do, whether your acne is causing you discomfort or distress), who can help you find the right supplements for you.

The good news is that more studies are being done on the effectiveness of supplements in acne patients to give us a clearer picture of how they can work as a useful additional treatment. At the moment, however, there isn’t enough conclusive evidence that acne supplements work. Our advice? Take any product or pill claiming remedy solutions with a pinch of salt.

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