Acne is a prevalent skin condition that affects individuals of all ages since time immemorial, and among the various forms, hormonal acne presents distinct challenges. Until today, the pursuit of effective solutions for acne management remains an ongoing journey. This may also include supplements with vitamins and minerals as potential allies in the battle against acne.
Here, we review our top picks for the best supplements for acne and hormonal acne in 2024 to help you make the most informed purchase.
Best supplements for acne: a shortlist
- PerformanceLab — best omega-3 fatty acid for acne support
- Clear Wellness — best probiotic supplement for cold sore and skin breakouts
- HUM Nutrition — overall best formula for acne and hormonal acne management
- Purovitalis — best vitamin D for inflammatory acne and immune support
- Bulletproof — budget-friendly supplement for acne
How have we compiled the best supplements for acne
While compiling the list of the top supplements for managing acne, we assessed the following criteria:
|Includes ingredients with beneficial effects against acne
|Price per serving comparable with similar products on the market
|Third-party tested and GMP-compliant
|Already established in the market
- Active ingredients. Contains specific ingredients with experimental studies and clinical trials supporting a positive impact on acne management.
- Price consideration. The cost of the product based on price per serving should be comparable with similar products on the market to ensure you get the most benefits for your budget without overpaying.
- Quality standards. High-quality products are those that underwent third-party testing, are manufactured in GMP-certified facilities, and are free of major allergens
- Reputable provider. Companies already established in the market are the most trustworthy and reliable. Finding positive customer reviews on the product website is a good sign that the product can provide customer satisfaction.
Best supplements for acne: an overview
Almost 10% of the global population suffers from acne. In the US alone, it is the most common skin condition that affects around 50 million Americans annually.
Here is a list of some of the best supplements for acne available now in the market.
1. PerformanceLab — best omega-3 fatty acid for acne support
PerformanceLab's supplement is a full-spectrum omega-3 fatty acids formula derived from algal oil which means that it is not associated with heavy metals or contaminants in contrast with fish oil-derived omega-3s. Specifically, the product’s active ingredients are DHA (docosahexanoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) omega-3s optimized at a 2:1 ratio.
Overall, the company lists the potential health benefits associated with EPA+DHA supplementation in supporting the nervous system support (brain and eye health), cardiovascular system (heart rhythm, blood vessel circulation, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure), and musculoskeletal system (muscle, joints, and bone health). There is limited clinical evidence that omega-3 supplementation may decrease inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. Studies also report that people with acne have low blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and its supplementation may provide improvement, especially in moderate to severe conditions.
PerformanceLab suggests a daily dosage of 3 softgels taken with your first meal of the day.
A bottle with 90 softgels for a month's supply costs $49, and 2-month and 4-month supply bundles are also available.
2. Clear Wellness — best probiotic supplement for cold sore and skin breakouts
Clear Wellness designed a 5-in-1 supplement for helping improve lip, skin, and gut health. It contains prebiotics (fructooligosaccharides/FOS), 12 billion CFU of probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus), L-lysine, and vitamin C in a delayed-release veggie capsule.
According to their product website, this product's potential benefits include protecting against cold sores, reducing skin outbreaks, better skin complexion, balancing the gut bacteria, and improving immunity.
They recommend taking 2 capsules everyday with or without food.
A one-time purchase of 1 bottle with 60 capsules is priced at $39, but you can save more with the 3-pack and 6-pack options.
3. HUM Nutrition Skin Squad pre + probiotic — overall best formula for acne and hormonal acne management
HUM Nutrition designed Skin Squad for gut and skin health. The formula's active ingredients include Konjac root extract as a prebiotic and 9 strains of probiotic bacteria (Bacillus subtilis DE111, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bacillus coagulans SNZ1969, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Bifidobacterium animalis lactis, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, Bifidobacterium lactis).
HUM Nutrition indicates that this supplement may provide the health benefits of balancing the gut microbiome/promoting good bacteria growth, supporting healthy digestive function, and combating non-cystic acne which may provide a clearer and more even complexion. Certain ingredients of Skin Squad were shown to inhibit the growth of acne bacteria in an in vitro study. The brand reports that the formulation was also tested in a human clinical study where the majority of the participants had reduced acne severity scores after 60 days of daily supplementation.
According to the product website, the recommended intake is 2 capsules a day, at any time, without food.
A bottle with 60 capsules (a month’s supply) costs $40.
4. Purovitalis — best vitamin D for inflammatory acne and immune support
Purovitalis liposomal vitamin D supplement features better absorption and higher bioavailability of their product, wherein vitamin D3 (2000 IU) is its main ingredient.
Based on their website, Purovitalis promotes this product for the various benefits associated with vitamin D3 supplementation including strengthening the immune system, promoting bone health, and linking it to overall wellness and longevity. Meanwhile, some experimental studies and clinical trials also suggest that vitamin D3 may improve inflammatory acne and recurrent acne.
The company suggests taking 1 capsule per day, but they also recommend consulting with your healthcare provider for personalized advice.
A bottle of this product costs $20 and it contains 60 capsules which is good for two months.
5. Bulletproof — budget-friendly supplement for acne
Bulletproof’s Zinc with Copper offering is a dietary supplement formulated with zinc and copper, micronutrients that are considered essential for supporting immune health, mood, and energy production.
These micronutrients, when combined, may work in sync to promote antioxidant activity, potentially forming a protective barrier against oxidative stress. Besides, certain research studies suggest that oral zinc supplementation may lessen the duration, severity, and recurrence of acne.
Inside each serving of this supplement by Bulletproof, you will find 15 mg of zinc and 2 mg of copper.
The brand suggests taking 1 capsule per day, preferably with food or as your healthcare provider advises.
You can get your hands on a 60-capsule bottle of Bulletproof Zinc with Copper for just $14.95.
Comparison of the top supplements for hormonal acne
Here's a summary table that can further help you compare some important deciding factors such as price, serving size, amount, and company products review (if available):
|Price per serving
|Serving size per day
|Capsules per bottle
|Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA+DHA)
|Performance Lab Supplements Review
|Clear Wellness 360
|Prebiotics (FOS), probiotics (L. rhamnosus and L. acidophilus), L-lysine, vitamin C
|Konjac root extract as a prebiotic and 9 strains of probiotic bacteria (Bacillus subtilis DE111, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bacillus coagulans SNZ1969, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium lactis HN019, Bifidobacterium animalis lactis, Lactobacillus salivarius, Lactobacillus rhamnosus HN001, Bifidobacterium lactis)
|Purovitalis NMN Supplement Review
Factors to consider when choosing supplements for acne management
As mentioned in above discussions, the ingredients, price, quality, and brand reputation are crucial criteria that may help you ensure their safety and efficacy. Additionally, you can also explore the following several factors that can ultimately help you guide your decision:
- Acne type. Different types of acne may require different approaches.
- Dosage. Follow the recommended dosages to avoid side effects.
- Holistic Approach. Supplements should complement a holistic acne management plan.
- Scientific Support. Look for scientific evidence supporting supplement effectiveness.
- Allergies. Check for allergies or sensitivities to the supplement ingredients.
- Individual Preferences. Discuss your preferences with a healthcare provider for tailored advice.
By considering these factors, you can make informed choices regarding supplements for acne management, improving the likelihood of achieving clearer, healthier skin. It is also best to seek advice from a dermatologist or other healthcare provider for personalized recommendations.
However, it’s important to note that, although dietary supplements may support acne and improve overall skin condition, they are not intended to treat or cure such skin conditions as acne. Effective treatment typically involves medications under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
What causes acne?
Acne is primarily caused by a combination of factors, including excess sebum (skin oil) production, clogged hair follicles, bacterial overgrowth (specifically Propionibacterium acnes), and inflammation. Hormonal imbalances, such as increased androgen levels during puberty, menstruation, or some conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), may also contribute to acne development.
The exact cause varies among different types of acne:
- Comedonal Acne. Characterized by non-inflammatory, clogged pores (comedones). These are often linked to excess sebum production and abnormal keratinization of hair follicles.
- Inflammatory Acne. Results from bacterial infection and inflammation. The acne bacteria thrive in clogged follicles, leading to red, inflamed pimples and pustules.
- Hormonal Acne. Hormonal fluctuations, particularly elevated androgens, stimulate sebum production and trigger acne. Studies show a strong correlation between hormonal imbalances and acne severity, especially in women.
- Cystic Acne. Deep, painful cysts are often associated with severe hormonal imbalances and genetic factors.
Understanding these factors is crucial for tailored acne management and treatment.
Can supplements help with hormonal acne?
Supplements can potentially help with hormonal acne by addressing underlying hormonal imbalances. For instance, supplements like zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitex agnus-castus (chasteberry) have been studied for their ability to modulate hormone levels and reduce hormonal acne.
However, their effectiveness varies among individuals, and not all supplements are equally supported by scientific evidence. It's essential to consult with a healthcare provider before using supplements for hormonal acne, as they can provide guidance on safe and appropriate options, considering the specific hormonal factors at play. Additionally, lifestyle modifications and conventional treatments may be necessary to effectively manage hormonal acne.
Supplements and vitamins used for managing acne
Various natural supplements and vitamins are commonly used to manage acne. Here is a list of skin supplements and vitamins for acne, along with their specific contributions:
- Zinc. Zinc is observed to regulate sebum production, reduce inflammation, and inhibit the growth of acne-causing bacteria.
- Vitamin A. Vitamin A may promote skin health by reducing sebum production and preventing the clogging of hair follicles.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats may help reduce inflammation and support overall skin health.
- Vitamin D. Vitamin D may play a role in skin cell growth and repair, potentially helping to maintain healthy skin.
- Selenium. Selenium has antioxidant properties and may help reduce inflammation and skin damage.
- Probiotics. Probiotics promote gut health, which may indirectly influence skin health by modulating the microbiome and reducing inflammation.
While these supplements and vitamins can contribute to acne management, it's essential to use them under the guidance of a healthcare provider to ensure safety and effectiveness. Individual responses may vary, and addressing the root causes of acne is crucial for long-term management.
Potential side effects of supplements for managing acne
Acne supplements are generally safe when taken at recommended doses; however, certain people may be more sensitive to some ingredients. These are rare, but some potential side effects include:
- Nausea and digestive issues
- Allergies and skin reactions
- Interactions with medications
Among, the medicine interactions, the most notable are the following:
- Vitamin A and blood-thinning medications. High doses of vitamin A may increase the risk of bleeding when used with blood thinners like warfarin.
- Zinc and antibiotics. Zinc may interfere with the absorption of certain antibiotics.
- Probiotics and immunosuppressants. Probiotics could enhance the immune response, potentially reducing the effectiveness of immunosuppressive drugs.
- Omega-3 fatty acids and blood-thinners. Omega-3 supplements may increase bleeding risk when combined with blood-thinning medications.
It is essential to consult a healthcare provider to evaluate potential interactions and side effects when using such supplements alongside medications.
Do dermatologists suggest taking supplements for managing acne?
Dermatologists may recommend certain supplements for acne management, especially when nutritional deficiencies or hormonal imbalances are contributing factors. But more often, depending on the severity of your acne, they may recommend prescription medications instead.
Commonly recommended supplements include zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, and probiotics, which can support skin health. However, dermatologists generally advocate a holistic approach, combining supplements with skincare, lifestyle modifications, and, when necessary, prescription medications.
Recommendations are personalized, considering the patient's specific needs and the potential interactions with other treatments. It is essential to consult a dermatologist to determine the most suitable approach for managing acne and to ensure the safe and effective use of supplements.
Best supplements for managing acne — conclusion
Overall, the best supplements for acne and hormonal acne management are those that address multiple aspects of acne development. From directly interrupting the acne bacteria's functions to addressing your aberrant cellular and molecular pathways associated with acne formation, a comprehensive formula may provide the most benefits.
In acne management, doctors recommend that
more holistic strategies are the best approach to manage acne and prevent
recurrence. Several distinct areas must be managed in order to have better skin
health and to help fight acne. This also includes other aspects that may also contribute to acne development such as diet,
hygiene, and lifestyle.
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Do supplements really help acne?
Research shows that certain supplements may help manage acne, especially when addressing specific deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, or inflammatory acne. However, their effectiveness varies across individuals, and it is important to consult with a healthcare provider or a dermatologist for personalized guidance and ensure a holistic approach to acne management.
What are the best vitamins and minerals for managing acne?
Generally, the best vitamins and minerals studied that may help manage acne include zinc, which regulates sebum production and reduces inflammation, vitamin A for preventing clogged pores and controlling sebum production, vitamin D for supporting overall skin health and reducing inflammation, and omega-3 fatty acids for anti-inflammatory properties. Selenium and pantothenic acid also showed positive results in clinical trials. As individual response may vary, we recommend consulting a healthcare provider.
What vitamin deficiencies cause acne?
Although not directly causing acne, vitamin D and A deficiencies are correlated with acne severity. Since vitamin D is essential for skin health, its deficiency may exacerbate acne symptoms. On the other hand, vitamin A deficiency can lead to increased sebum production, contributing to acne. However, addressing deficiencies alone may not fully resolve acne and a comprehensive approach is more recommended.
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- Dermatology and Therapy. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of a Novel Pantothenic Acid-Based Dietary Supplement in Subjects with Mild to Moderate Facial Acne.
- Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. Vitamin D status and efficacy of vitamin D supplementation in acne patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
- International Journal of Cosmetic Science. Effect of konjac glucomannan hydrolysates and probiotics on the growth of the skin bacterium Propionibacterium acnes in vitro.