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Best vitamins and supplements for cystic acne

What is cystic acne?

Cystic acne is one of the severe acne forms marked by large, deep pimples that are often painful and take a long time to heal. A pimple forms when your pores get clogged with oil, bacteria, or dead skin cells. A cystic pimple occurs deep in your skin, creating a bump that is filled with pus.

These stubborn inflammatory nodules are hard to drain--please, never try to pop them!--and may leave marks or scars on your skin. In addition, cystic acne breakouts can last for a long time, and the products you use to take care of a typical pimple might not cut it. This is why cystic acne needs to be treated and treated correctly.

What causes cystic acne?

It's hard to pinpoint what causes cystic acne. Too much dairy, sugar, or caffeine in your diet could be a factor. However, a diet that's low in certain nutrients needed to fight bacteria might make your skin more prone to cystic acne. Supplements are a great way to provide your body with the right vitamins and minerals to keep your skin clear and healthy. DIM, Vitamin B5, Vitamin A, and Zinc supplements are good options for people who struggle with cystic acne.

What is the best oral treatment for cystic acne?

The best treatment for severe cystic acne is Accutane (isotretinoin). People that do want or can not take Accutane can benefit from oral antibiotics or a combination of medicated topical treatment and acne supplements.

What is the best topical treatment for cystic acne?

The American Academy of Dermatology regards benzoyl peroxide as the most effective anti-acne ingredient. However, multiple different types of benzoyl peroxide differ in their efficacy and side effects. The MDacne products use a proprietary formulation of micronized benzoyl peroxide that is more effective and less irritating than other benzoyl peroxide types you see in OTC and even prescription products. MDacne's proprietary benzoyl peroxide treatment cream contains natural, plant-based boosters with anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects of increasing anti-acne efficacy while minimizing irritation. Other topical treatment options for people with cystic acne will include treatment creams with salicylic acid and skincare that contain niacinamide.

What are the best supplements for cystic acne?

Supplements are a great natural alternative if you're looking to fight cystic acne without resorting to prescription medications. In addition, taking acne supplements is a great addition to topical acne treatment. Good anti-acne topical treatment will help heal acne from the outside, while acne supplements will help from the inside out.

To be effective, good acne supplements should also help with overall health and stress. Better overall health, reduced stress, and a better immune system will also benefit skin health and help reduce acne faster.

Supplementation with vitamins and minerals can help balance out acne-causing hormones and lead to clearer, healthier skin. Accutane or other anti-acne oral medications may produce visible results faster, but adverse reactions from vitamins are far less likely.

Women with adult and hormonal acne can benefit from DIM supplements. DIM supplements can be taken in combination with an anti-acne topical treatment and other hormonal acne treatments, such as birth control pills.

What is DIM?

Several success stories about the DIM supplements fighting cystic acne have surfaced in recent years. Let's start with the basics. DIM, or diindolylmethane, is a natural substance generated in the body when it breaks down indole-3-carbinol, a compound found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts.

Hormonal acne breakouts typically occur around the chin and jawline. DIM supplements can decrease hormonal breakouts by helping to balance hormones. For example, DIM improves estrogen breakdown, which supports detoxification in the liver, and, as an androgen antagonist, prevents certain androgens from binding to their receptors. When androgens (like testosterone) bind to receptors, it can increase oil production in the skin and other changes that can cause acne.

This particular mechanism is similar to that of spironolactone, a cardiovascular drug often prescribed to treat acne. The typical recommended starting dosage is 75 to 100mg daily, although good results beginning at 200 mg a day have been reported. Again, it's essential to consult with your doctor regarding the dosage.

By improving hormonal balance, DIM supplements can help reduce both PMS and menopausal hormone-related symptoms. In addition, by changing the ratio between "good" and "bad" estrogen and testosterone, DIM can improve sleep and reduce stress, promoting healthier habits and increased energy levels.

Research shows that DIM supplements can help reduce the buildup of new fat cells and the fat accumulation in existing fat cells. The DIM-induced increase in "good" estrogen metabolites may also help protect stressed muscle cells, allowing more efficient repair and growth. In addition, a recent study from UC Berkeley has suggested that DIM is a powerful natural immune system booster. This study has shown that DIM increased the proteins' levels (cytokines) and cells (lymphocytes) involved in the immune response to external threats.

Best DIM Supplements for cystic acne in adult females

MDacne DIM Skin Clearing Supplements
The MDacne DIM skin-clearing supplements were specially formulated for women with adult hormonal acne. Its formula combines DIM with other natural ingredients such as spinach powder, which helps reduce excess sebum, and kale powder, which helps clear clogged pores and assists in skin cell regeneration. In addition to its’ effect on hormonal acne and adult acne, MDacne’s DIM can enhance the immune system's function and help with additional symptoms, including premenstrual syndrome PMS, stress, and even hormonal-related weight gain.

BioResponse DIM 75
This supplement has a proprietary absorption-enhanced formula, which ensures that the body properly absorbs DIM.

Designs for Health also has its own proprietary formula to improve the body's absorption of DIM. They add a blend of MCT-oils, non-soy lecithin, and Vitamin E to their 100mg DIM microgels.

What are the cystic acne supplements for teens and adult men?

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5, aka pantothenic acid, is one of the more important eight complex B vitamins and plays an essential role in our overall health. Vitamin B5 is water-soluble, and its primary function is to metabolize lipids, proteins, and carbohydrates into energy, a process called oxidation. This vitamin is linked to healthy hair, skin, and eyes and is widely used in cosmetics for its hydrating and healing properties.

Furthermore, Vitamin B5 helps synthesize Coenzyme A (CoA), which is essential in metabolizing fatty acids. CoA reduces excess oil secretion, so, in this way, pantothenic acid helps regulate the skin's sebum production, helping reduce acne breakouts. Vitamin B5 has also been shown to improve the skin's epidermal barrier function by maintaining keratinocyte proliferation and differentiation, as shown in a 2011 study. Pantothenic acid also may help in reducing stress by supporting the adrenal gland to produce stress-related hormones.

This may indirectly help fight cystic acne. One study found that taking a pantothenic acid supplement for 12 weeks "significantly reduced area-specific and inflammatory acne lesions." The study also found that adults well tolerate the supplement. There are no formal recommendations on what dosage of Vitamin B5 you should take--suggestions range from large doses of 2-4 grams a day to 250-500mg a day.

Vegetable capsules are a convenient way to take your Vitamin B5 supplements, as they are easy to swallow and leave no aftertaste.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A is an antioxidant found in oily fish, liver, carrots, cantaloupes, apricots, leafy greens, eggs, etc. As a potent antioxidant, it protects the skin from free radicals, environmental toxins that cause oxidative stress and can negatively affect the sebaceous glands. Vitamin A also slows down the shedding of dead skin cells. This is important because people with cystic acne often have an accelerated keratinization process: their pores shed more than the normal one layer of dead skin cells per day. This is referred to as retention hyperkeratosis. The excess cells build up in the pores, potentially clogging them and leading to breakouts. Vitamin A helps in reverse retention hyperkeratosis. Vitamin A also decreases inflammation and promotes new skin cell growth.

Isotretinoin, commonly known as the brand name Accutane, is a well-known treatment for severe acne and is a Vitamin A derivative. However, this medication is not well tolerated by everyone. Vitamin A supplements are a good natural alternative in the treatment of cystic acne. However, it's still important to be careful of the dosage, as too much Vitamin A can be toxic.

Zinc is beneficial in the treatment of acne because it helps control excess sebum production. Reducing the production of oil reduces the chance of pores clogging up and creating blemishes. In addition, zinc reduces acne-causing bacteria and reduces inflammation in the follicles, supported by a 2013 review. Another study found that zinc may reduce cysts and is a promising alternative to other acne treatments due to its low cost, effectiveness, and lack of adverse side effects. Additionally, the absence of zinc itself may cause acne. Zinc is needed for collagen synthesis, and without it, the skin can be more prone to clogged pores. Zinc also has antioxidant properties and can reduce the skin's inflammatory response to excess cells and bacteria clog pores.

Best Vitamin Supplements for Cystic Acne in teens and adult men

MDacne Skin Clearing Vitamins + Minerals
This complete formula combines Vitamin B5 with other vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, Zinc, and Selenium to treat cystic acne from within. It helps minimize breakouts by unclogging skin pores, reducing inflammation, and regulating sebum production, and promotes the shedding of acne-causing dead skin cells.

Nutricost Pantothenic Acid
A supplement that delivers 500mg of Vitamin B5 without the other additional acne-fighting vitamins and minerals.

Integrative Therapeutics Zinc-Carnosine
This hypoallergenic supplement combines zinc with natural amino acids.

Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Zinc
These capsules deliver raw Zinc and Vitamin C, in addition to probiotics and enzymes for extra antioxidants.

Pure Encapsulations Vitamin A
This affordable supplement has Vitamin A from cod liver oil and palmitate.


The clinical effects of zinc as a topical or oral agent on acne's clinical response and pathophysiologic mechanisms: a systematic review of the literature.
The role of zinc in the treatment of acne: A review of the literature.
A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a novel pantothenic Acid-based dietary supplement in subjects with mild to moderate facial acne.

To find the right supplements for your unique skin, take the free skin assessment by clicking here.

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