Vitamins to Heal Your Acne

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Vitamin A

What is it?

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Vitamin A is an antioxidant that belongs to the class of compounds called retinoids. The active alcohol form of vitamin A is known as retinol. Vitamin A, commonly known as Retin-A, has been prescribed for decades by dermatologists to treat acne topically. Accutane, a prescription oral medication, has been used to treat severe nodular acne by dermatologists for years as well and is also a form of vitamin A. Low levels of this vitamin have been associated with inflammation and acne. In the body, vitamin A is responsible for red blood cell production, immune system support, healthy skin, normal vision, and overall growth and development of the body. Food sources include orange and yellow fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes, spinach, and cod liver oils.

Why is it of value for treating acne?

Vitamin A is essential to the normal shedding of dead skin cells that build up inside the pore and ultimately cause acne- this sticky build up and excess production of skin cells is one of the main causes of acne! Click here to read about other causes of acne, especially hormonal acne. This vitamin functions by preventing this build up that would have otherwise caused a clogged pore. In addition, the antioxidant properties of vitamin A for acne act as an anti-inflammatory for the skin and help to calm swollen, red, and sore acne breakouts.

Who should increase their Vitamin A intake?

It is highly recommended that individuals with inflammatory acne on the face and/or body should be eating foods high in vitamin A and supplementing with 10,000 iu’s of vitamin A per day. I have had great success with Clove Hill Skin Clarity. If you are pregnant, please consult a physician before starting on this vitamin for acne.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

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What is it?

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) is an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish and seafood, particularly oily, ocean fish such as mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. It is arguably the best anti-inflammatory found in nature.

Why is it of value for treating acne?

Inflammation is at the core of acne (externally and systemically), therefore an anti-inflammatory supplement is key to clearing acne. The inflammation process is triggered at the systemic level and then, with many other factors, causes acne at the skin level. An important side note, inflammation is also connected to nearly all chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, etc.

Omega-3 fish oil for acne works by inhibiting two inflammatory chemicals that are responsible for acne breakouts, they are called PGE2 and LTB4. One way to inhibit the production of these two chemicals is with the drug Accutane and the other way is, naturally, with EPA omega-3 fatty acids. To find out if you have inflammatory acne click here. EPA Omega-3 supplements and foods are the best way to put out the flame. Research shows that people consuming diets higher in omega-3 fatty acids, such as in Japan, the coastal regions of North Carolina, and Papua New Guinea all have a low rate of acne.

Who should increase their Omega-3 intake?

It is highly recommended that individuals with inflammatory acne on the face and/or body should be eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and supplementing with 2 grams (2,000 mg) of EPA omega-3s per day. I have had great success with the Clear Skin Trio (which contains Vitamin A and Omega-3’s) and the Clove Hill Fish Oil. Be sure to check your labels, as you want to have a therapeutic dose of 2,000 mg of EPA per day. This is because EPA is a better anti-inflammatory than DHA. Most Fish Oil supplements will contain more DHA than EPA so be sure to check your labels. If you are pregnant, please consult a physician before starting on fish oil supplements.

In addition to supplements, fish oil for acne such as anchovies, sardines, and mackerel as well as flax seed oil are fantastic resources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3-enriched eggs are also recommended. Soybean, peanut, sunflower, palm oil, and other vegetable oils should be strictly avoided as these will make acne worse by stimulating the PGE2 chemical that causes acne.


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What is it?

Zinc is a mineral that’s responsible for contributing to many, many functions within the body. To name a few: growth and development, brain function, reproduction, and immune function. In food, zinc is in beans, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, whole grains, lean meats, and oysters.

Why is it of value for treating acne?

Zinc has many important functions for acne clearing. One, zinc assists with the metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids. Two, zinc is an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory for the skin. Three, zinc helps break down substance P, the nerve chemical that causes sebum production when the body is stressed. Four, zinc is responsible for transporting Vitamin A. An antiacne nutrient, from the liver. Recent studies have shown that people with acne have low levels of zinc in their system.

Who should increase their Zinc intake?

As you can see, Zinc is an important supplement to take with Vitamin A and Omega-3 Fish Oils. Zinc for acne is highly recommended if taking either of these supplements to assist in the uptake and metabolism. It is also recommended as part of a basic supplement regimen for non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne. Approximately 40 mg per day is the therapeutic dose of zinc. Check all your supplement labels as zinc is often added to a multivitamin and the Clove Hill Skin Clarity.


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What is it?

Selenium is a minor mineral as well as an antioxidant that works to protect other antioxidants. It can be found in grains, nuts, seafood salmon, and halibut.

Why is it of value for treating acne?

Selenium has been proven to work synergistically with as well as preserve the levels of other antioxidants, such as zinc. Selenium functions in glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme which is very important in preventing the inflammation of acne. This selenium-dependent enzyme that controls glutathione is low in acne patients, and low levels of blood selenium have also been documented. Small amounts of selenium and vitamin e have been shown to improve acne, particularly in those with low baseline glutathione enzyme activity. In addition, research has shown that a deficiency in selenium may play a role in inflammatory conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Who should increase their Selenium intake?

Selenium should be taken along with other antioxidants as well as zinc supplements. The Vitamedica Healthy Skin contains 48 mcg of Selenium per dose.

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About the Founder: Jessica Gremley

Jessica has been a Medical Esthetician, Certified Acne Specialist and Healing Diets Coach since 2003. After struggling with acne for more than a decade, she became determined to find a way to clear acne without pharmaceuticals for herself and eventually, future clients. Today, she offers a complete acne regimen that combines proven non-comedogenic skincare products, natural supplements, lifestyle coaching, and support from trained acne specialists to achieve lifelong clear skin. She and her staff serve locally at Natural Acne Clinic in Wheat Ridge, Colorado and nationally via NAC’s Online Acne Program.


  1. I had my son 2 weeks ago and broke out with terrible cystic acne. It is very painful. How would you recommend treating this naturally? I am on fenacea right now for the past week. I have yet to see much improvement. This is really affecting my self esteem.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Dana,
      Congratulations on the birth of your baby boy! I am very sorry to hear about your skin breaking out. Given that there is probably a hormonal component I would recommend doing a homecare regimen such as the Face Reality to manage and clear what is happening on the surface of the skin. The Face Reality products are non-pore clogging and it is a 3-4 month program where we change how you use your products every 2 weeks because the skin will adapt to any regimen you do within that timeframe. By taking this approach, I have a 90% success rate with my program.

      If you want more one-on-one help please contact me directly by phone.


  2. Hi Jessi,
    I am considering purchasing your Healthy Skin Supplement for my 13 year old son. Would he take 1 or 2 supplements? these Vit A dosages are in no way close to too high a dose for a teen….correct? Thanks so much! I was so happy to find your site, Stacey

  3. Hi Jessica,

    I have very mild hormonal acne on my chin. It started after my son was born 4 years ago (Im 34). I was looking at the Healthy Skin Formula and wondering if I can combine this with Vitex and L–lysine and Green Tea extract? To help balance the hormones…

    1. Hi Melissa, yes it is very common for women to breakout after having children due to hormonal changes. The Healthy Skin supplement will certainly be of benefit by normalizing your skin and decreasing inflammation, and Vitex will work to rebalance your estrogen and progesterone. L-lysine and green tea extract can be very effective as well, and I see no reason why you cannot combine all of these supplements for optimal health!

  4. Hi! I have been taking biotin to help my hair grown and also to get it back to normal health. But every time I start to take biotin, my face (which is already very oily) get super oily and starts to breakout more often. I already have sensitive skin (even my arms chest, shoulders, and back break out easy) and this seems to make it worse. Would taking vitamin a and since help? And can I also combine adderall XR, biotin, vitamin a, and zinc?

    1. Hi Cameryn, biotin is a known acne trigger as it causes your skin to overproduce cells, which then build up and cause breakouts. Amphetamines can trigger acne as well, so you will want to avoid these if not medically necessary, and certainly I would not combine them with biotin if you want to stay clear. Vitamin A and zinc are extremely beneficial for acne-prone skin, however, as Vitamin A normalizes skin cell production, and zinc decreases inflammation. These will not interact negatively with Adderall XR. I hope this helps!

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