Here is some of the most interesting evidence that I was able to find about the specific supplements that I chose to take to try to clear my skin. It’s a long read, but it has some really great information. I also included little “conclusions” that I wrote at the end of each abstract, in case you don’t want to read the whole thing. However, note that these conclusions are very roughly derived from the actual abstract, so read the abstracts to make sure my conclusions aren’t misleading :)
"The effects of oral zinc sulfate (corresponding to 135 mg of zinc daily) alone and in combination with vitamin A (300,000 international units) daily on acne lesions have been compared with those of vitamin A alone and of a placebo. The number of comedones, papules, pustules, and infiltrates were counted at each visit. After four weeks, there was a significant decrease in the number of papules, pustules, and infiltrates in the zinc-treated groups. The effect of zinc plus vitamin A was not better than zinc alone. After 12 weeks of treatment, the mean acne score had decreased from 100% to 15%. The mechanism for the effect of zinc therapy in acne, to our knowledge, is not presently known
Conclusion: 150mg of Zinc daily. Some improvement in 4 weeks. Complete improvement in 12 weeks.
Plasma vitamin A and E concentrations were determined by high performance liquid chromatography in 100 newly diagnosed untreated patients with acne and were compared with those of 100 age-matched healthy controls. Patients were carefully graded using the Global Acne Grading System.We found that plasma vitamin A concentrations in patients with acne were significantly lower than those of the control group (336.5 vs. 418.1 mug/L, respectively) P = 0.007. We also found that plasma vitamin E concentrations in patients with acne were significantly lower than those of controls (5.4 vs. 5.9 mg/L) P = 0.05. In addition, we found that there is a strong relationship between decrease in plasma vitamin A levels and increase in the severity of acne condition. Patients with severe acne had significantly lower plasma concentrations of vitamins A and E than did those with lower acne grade and the age-matched healthy controls.Based on our results, we conclude that low vitamin A and E plasma levels have an important role in the pathogenesis of acne and in the aggravation of this condition.
Conclusion: Acne sufferers have low levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin E.
Oral vitamin A (retinol) is generally not considered useful in the treatment of acne vulgaris. We conducted a study which showed that retinol was indeed ineffective at the usual doses of 50,000 to 100,000 IU daily. Retinol was highly efficacious in doses of 300,000 units for women and 400,000 to 500,000 units for men, toxicity was slight and limited mainly to skin (xerosis) and mucous membranes (cheilitis). The danger of hypervitaminosis A in this dosage range has been exaggerated. Retinol is a valuable drug for treating stubborn, severely inflammatory acne vulgaris. It is administered until the disease is brought under control, usually within three to four months. Then the dosage is progressively reduced relying on conventional drugs to keep the disease in abeyance.
Conclusion: 300,000 IU of Vitamin A for women until disease is until control. Study found that this took 3-4 months.
Abstract Background: Although hyperseborrhea, follicular hyperkeratinization, Propionibacterium acnes colonization and inflammation are found to be responsible in the pathogenesis of acne, the exact mechanisms are unknown. Vitamin A and E are basic antioxidants vital for health. Zinc is also an essential element for human. But these parameters of the effects on skin are not fully understood. We aimed to evaluate plasma levels of vitamin A, E and zinc in acne patients in relation to the severity of the disease. Material and method: There were 94 acne patients who were referred to our clinic, all new diagnosed, and 56 age and sex matched healthy volunteers as control group. All patients are assessed according to Global Acne Grading System and grouped as mild, moderate, severe and very severe. Acne patients further grouped as group 1 consist of patients with mild to moderate disease; and group 2 consist of patients with severe to very severe acne. The patients with the controls and group 1 with group 2 was compared. Results: The level of vitamin E, vitamin A and zinc were significantly lower than the control group (Table 1,p < 0.001). When the patient group is compared among each other there was no statistically significant difference for plasma vitamin A levels between group 1 and 2 whereas vitamin E and zinc levels were significantly low in group 2 than group 1. Thus there was a negative correlation between acne severity and vitamin E and zinc levels. Conclusion: Our study marks the importance of diet in patients with acne. We offer supportive dietary measures with foods rich in vitamin A and E and zinc in the acne prophylaxis and treatment. Supportive treatment with these vitamins and zinc in severe acne may lead to satisfactory results.
Conclusion: All acne sufferers had low levels of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Zinc. More severe acne had even lower levels of Vitamin E and Zinc. Vitamin E and Zinc are especially important in fighting the disease.
Anecdotal reports suggest that using retinoids with vitamin E leads to improvements of some side effects due to isotretinoin. However, vitamin E blood levels have not been reported previously in patients with acne treated with isotretinoin. We aimed to investigate the serum vitamin E levels before and after isotretinoin therapy in patients with acne. A total of 70 patients treated with isotretinoin for acne in our dermatology department were included in this study. The serum vitamin E levels were measured as baseline before isotretinoin treatment. All patients received 0.6-0.8 mg/kg/d isotretinoin. The treatment was finished within 5-7 months while ensuring that the cumulative dose was 120 mg/kg. Serum vitamin E levels were measured again in the last month of treatment. The mean serum vitamin E levels before and after treatment were compared. Forty-six patients completed the study. It was detected that the mean serum vitamin E level was 20.22 mg/dl before isotretinoin treatment. In the last month of treatment, the mean serum vitamin E level was 16.24 mg/dl. Serum vitamin E levels decreased in all patients except three. The mean serum vitamin E level after treatment was statistically decreased in comparison with the mean serum vitamin E level before treatment. Our results showed that vitamin E levels decreased during isotretinoin treatment. We considered that some of the side effects due to isotretinoin treatment might be related to this, and supplementation vitamin E may be useful during isotretinoin treatment.
Conclusion: Isotretinion, and therefore possibly Vitamin A, reduce levels of Vitamin E in the system, and so Vitamin E should be taken when on either therapy.
Successful oral therapy with vitamin A palmitate in acne vulgaris requires 150,000-200,000 I.U. daily for months. Side-effects were evaluated in 22 patients and in addition in 54 patients receiving 400,000 and 300,000 I.U. respectively for 3-4 weeks (SGPT, GGPT, Quick, electrophoresis, creatinine, bromosulfthaleine excretion). The same tests were done in 32 patients, who had received vitamin A palmitate 150,000-200,000 I.U. daily for at least half a year. Clinical experience and the presented data allow the following conclusions: There is no risk of liver impairement when 150,000-200,000 I.U. are given daily over extended periods. Doses over 300,000 I.U. are accompanied with liver impairement. During long-term treatment y-GT test should be performed regularly. Contraceptive advices are recommended.
Conclusion: 150,000-200,000 IU daily do not lead to liver impairment. 300,00 IU or more daily lead to liver impairment. Treatment may take up to 6 month.”
All of this research was taken from the NIH (National Institute of Health www.nih.gov) and so I’m trusting that it is not too sketchy. Using this, and a few other sources, I put myself on a supplement cocktail on these doses:
250,000 IU Vitamin A (yes, it’s a lot!)
1,000 IU Vitamin E
250 mg Zinc
1,500 mg Evening Primrose Oil
1,500 mg Borage Oil
For the vitamin A, I make sure to not buy it in beta-carotene form. For vitamin E, I use this doctor’s recommendations: http://bellevueacneclinic.com/role-of-vitamin-e-in-acne-treatment.html
Also, it’s important to remember to take Zinc with food (or else you might throw up…eek) and Vitamin A with some sort of fat, so that your body can absorb it.
p.s. This is what my skin looks like at the moment with makeup. It’s not perfect, but its pretty flat so I’m just worried about redness now.
Phew! That’s all for right now. Please let me know if you have any questions! I haven’t quite figured out how to work the Q&A function with this theme, so email any questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org for now.