The Best Vitamins For Acne And Clear Skin

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by Lisa Fogarty

Cleansers and serums are great, but it can be just as important to prevent acne with a variety of effective vitamins and minerals. The best vitamins for acne are a select few that experts say can balance your system and stave off breakouts. Before you spend money and time on supplements that may not work, board-certified dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, founder of SkinFive and AvaMD Clinics, recommends these five vitamins and minerals to help get rid of acne.

  • Probiotics: Your gut health affects your skin, and experts say an unbalanced microbiome can cause acne. "Probiotics are great to target the bacterial formation of acne," Shamban says. They can also reduce inflammation, boost digestion, and help clear up your skin. Probiotics are generally sold in colony forming units (CFUs) that range from 2 billion to 100 billion, and it's important to choose one that guarantees its potency up to its expiration date so you can be sure you are reaping all of its benefits.
  • Zinc: While it is rare to have a zinc insufficiency, some health conditions that can prevent the absorption of zinc from foods include celiac disease, diabetes, cancer, and Crohn's disease. Taken orally or topically, zinc can decrease skin oil production and fight the inflammation and bacteria, according to Shamban.
  • Conjugated Linolenic Acid: The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in conjugated linolenic acid may help reduce acne, according to one study. It has also been shown to reduce inflammation in acne lesions, says Shamban.
  • B Vitamins: The vitamin B range can be highly beneficial for hormone production and balance, contributing to skin health and keeping acne at bay, according to Shamban. Vitamin B-5 (pantothenic acid), in particular, has been shown in studies to reduce acne and skin inflammation, but a vitamin B complex covers all of your bases.
  • Selenium: Research has found that people with acne are likely to have low amounts of selenium in their blood and Shamban agrees this mineral can help. "Selenium is noteworthy because it acts as a cofactor for our intrinsic anti-inflammatory system that uses glutathione," Shamban says. Glutathione is an antioxidant that can, among other things, benefit your skin.

Keep In Mind

Fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin E and Vitamin A are associated with skin health, but experts say these supplements often contain much higher amounts than the RDA and that it can be dangerous to go overboard with dosages. For that reason, I did not include these vitamins on this list.

No matter which vitamin you consider, the most effective way to receive its benefits is from a food source, according to Shamban. "Healthy diet, supplementation as needed or advised, and topical treatments from your board-certified dermatologist when combined are most often the best treatment trifecta," Shamban advises.

And remember, it's always a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement regime.


Best Probiotic Supplement

With 50 billion CFUs and 16 probiotic strains, this probiotic provides a lot of benefits. The raw supplement is free of gluten, dairy, and soy and contains L. reuteri and L. fermentum for vaginal health. It also has an organic prebiotic fiber blend to aid in digestion. It's backed by more than 10,000 Amazon reviews, with many shoppers reporting success with conditions like chronic indigestion, IBS, yeast infections — and even acne. The brand also guarantees potency up to its date of expiry.

Helpful Review: "This works. I feel better. My skin cleared up. My digestive system is regular & did I mention that it cleared my skin up? Like completely. No acne on my face or back."


Best Zinc Supplement

If your doctor confirms you have a zinc deficiency, this zinc supplement contains 30 milligrams. For reference, the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for women is 8 milligrams; the tolerable upper intake level (UL) for zinc is 40 milligrams.

This supplement is vegan and free of GMOs and gluten. It's made from raw zinc, which means it is made without high heat and is free of synthetics and filler ingredients. In addition to zinc, it contains vitamin C, probiotics, and a raw organic fruit and vegetable blend with apple, beet, broccoli, and more.

Helpful Review: "This works great. I take this along with a vitamin D supplement and I feel its helped heal my hormonal acne. I've also noticed an increase in hair and nail growth."


Best Conjugated Linoleic Acid Supplement

With more than 21,000 reviews, this conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplement scores major points for helping to balance muscle and fat, and the majority of reviews focus on this feature. But these non-GMO and non-stimulating capsules, which are derived from safflower oil, have been found to "demonstrate reductions in inflammation in acne lesions," Shamban says. This supplement contains 1,000 milligrams of CLA, which falls in line with the recommended dosage of up to 6,000 milligrams of CLA per day. It's free of artificial ingredients, wheat, gluten, dairy, soy, and other potential allergens like nuts and shellfish.

Helpful Review: "I've been taking CLA1250 for several months now ... This is the easiest dietary supplement that I have ever taken, I have not had any side [effects], yet lots of energy. I take 2 after every meal, with lots of water ... This is the healthiest if have ever felt."


Best Vitamin B Complex Supplement

This super B complex contains all of the essential B vitamins that may help acne, as well as fatigue, anxiety, and hair loss. This supplement has B-9, B-12, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, B-7, and folic acid — so you can be sure you have all of your B vitamin bases covered. They come in vegetarian capsule form and are free of GMOs, fillers, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. The formula is safe for both vegetarians and vegans and has about 620 milligrams of B complex in each capsule. (Note: The RDA differs according to each B vitamin.)

This supplement has a 4.6-star rating and more than 11,000 reviews.

Helpful Review: "I have been using your Vitamin B complex pills for about a month. I have noticed a change in the texture of my hair and skin. My hair luster is back and my dry skin is gone. Also my complexion has improved and my face has a healthy glow. I purchased two bottles of pills and I will reorder another supply when needed. [...]"


Best Selenium Skin Supplement

Instead of choosing a selenium-only supplement, this skin supplement contains a blend of ingredients — including 200 micrograms of selenium — that hundreds of reviewers say have helped clear up their acne and prevent new pimples from forming. The vegan capsule also has 15 milligrams of zinc, and other quantities of copper, manganese, and alpha lipoic acid, as well as a blend of herbs that aid with digestion and include organic chlorella algae, spirulina, dandelion leaf extract, and matcha green tea powder. The supplement is also free of GMOs and gluten.

For reference, the RDA for selenium is 55 micrograms and the tolerable upper intake level (UL) is 400 micrograms.

Helpful Review: "[...] The reason I ordered these is because I was looking for something all natural to help clear any toxins in my digestive system, I have been having a lot of stomach pain, as well as very stubborn acne for the last year. The acne I've had was like never before I lasted forever and left terrible scars. [...] I drink a ton of water a day, and I recently stopped eating meat, besides the occasional ground turkey. But I don't know if it's due to the supplements alone or the decrease of animal product but my skin hasn't been this clear in over a year since the bad acne started. Even when my cycle started I didn't get any new pimples! I am so impressed, best $25 I spent in a long time!"


Board Certified Dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, founder of SkinFive and AvaMD Clinics and a co-host of the Gist.

Bowe, W., Patel, N B., Logan, A C. (2014) Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis: from anecdote to translational medicine. Benef Microbes,

Jung, J Y., Kwon, H H., Hong, J S., Yoon, Ji Y., Park, M S., Jang, M Y., Suh, D H. (2014) Effect of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid and gamma-linolenic acid on acne vulgaris: a randomised, double-blind, controlled trial. Acta Derm Venereol,

Yang, M., Moclair, B., Hatcher, V., Kaminetsky, J., Mekas, M., Chapas, A., Capodice, J. (2014) A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of a Novel Pantothenic Acid-Based Dietary Supplement in Subjects with Mild to Moderate Facial Acne. Dermatology and Therapy,

Rubin, M., Kim, K., Logan A C. (2008) Acne vulgaris, mental health and omega-3 fatty acids: a report of cases. Lipids in Health and Disease,,activity%20%5B26%2C27%5D.

Ozuguz, P., Kacar, S D., Ekiz, O., Takci, Z., Balta, I., Kalkan, G. (2014) Evaluation of serum vitamins A and E and zinc levels according to the severity of acne vulgaris. Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology,