The Best Acne Supplements for Clear, Flawless Skin

The Best Acne Supplements for Clear, Flawless Skin

I am fre­quent­ly asked if there are any pills or sup­ple­ments that can assist with get­ting rid of acne or help­ing your skin become glow­ing and flaw­less­ness.

In short, the answer is yes.

A study pub­lished in July 2013 by The Uni­ver­si­ty of Afy­on Kocate­pe in Turkey report­ed a cor­re­la­tion between acne and low serum (blood) lev­els of vit­a­m­in A, vit­a­m­in E, and zinc.¹ Fas­ci­nat­ing, right? Fur­ther­more, there are sev­er­al stud­ies (includ­ing this real­ly awe­some one) link­ing oxida­tive stress to acne, which means that coun­ter­act­ing oxi­da­tion (via antiox­i­dants) would be part of the log­i­cal course of treat­ment.

Inflam­ma­tion and oxida­tive stress are the begin­ning of the acne cycle, so if we elim­i­nate those, we break the cycle and thus elim­i­nate acne.


I’m not going to willy-nil­ly rec­om­mend sup­ple­ments with­out first remind­ing you of this impor­tant fact. Your food mat­ters. Chee­tos and bagels do not cre­ate healthy tis­sues. You can take all the sup­ple­ments you want, but if you’re chow­ing down on fast food and ice cream sev­er­al times per week, your skin (and most impor­tant­ly, your inter­nal organs) are not going to be healthy.

This is not about becom­ing a strict, stressed out food nut. This is about mak­ing wise choic­es that will nour­ish and sup­port you phys­i­cal­ly, men­tal­ly, and emo­tion­al­ly.

Since you want clear skin, strict­ly avoid the fol­low­ing for the next 4–6 weeks (you can always sneak them in lat­er and enjoy once in a while if you feel like it):

  • Gluten. This means bread, bagels, pas­tries, cere­als, and oth­er processed foods that use wheat or gluten. Wheat and gluten are inflam­ma­to­ry and irri­tate the gut lin­ing. You might think it’s a fad because every­one has been jump­ing on the gluten-free band­wag­on late­ly, but I have been rec­om­mend­ing this step for years because it makes a dif­fer­ence. See how your body feels and your skin looks with­out it.
  • Dairy. This means milk, yogurt (yes, even yogurt for now), ice cream, but­ter, cream, and any oth­er ani­mal-cre­at­ed milk prod­ucts. We want to avoid the intake of hor­mones that exist nat­u­ral­ly in dairy prod­ucts. Some peo­ple do just fine with all dairy, and oth­ers must lim­it their dairy to cer­tain types like goat yogurt or kefir, where­as oth­ers must avoid it alto­geth­er. See what suits you best.
  • Soy. This means tofu, soy sauce, tem­peh, nat­to, and processed soy-based “food” prod­ucts. Miso is fine, but it’s best if you use a soy-free miso for now. Soy con­tains phy­toe­stro­gens – plant estro­gen – that can adverse­ly effect our skin. Again, some peo­ple do fine with fer­ment­ed soy like miso, and oth­ers do best by avoid­ing all soy.
  • Nuts and seeds. None for now. Let’s get you back in bal­ance first before throw­ing in some poten­tial­ly inflam­ma­to­ry omega 6.

Eat and enjoy the fol­low­ing:

  • Seafood. Prefer­ably wild-caught fish, scal­lops, and oys­ters.
  • Beef, lamb, and chick­en. Prefer­ably grass-fed and/or pas­tured and/or organ­ic. Do NOT buy con­ven­tion­al fac­to­ry-farmed meat. It is load­ed with antibi­otics, steroids, med­ica­tions, tox­ins, and oth­er junk that goes straight into your own body. Look for the best pos­si­ble qual­i­ty you can buy.
  • Veg­eta­bles. Go crazy. Buy local and/or organ­ic if you can.
  • Fruit. Enjoy low­er sug­ar fruits for now, like berries. Any berries will do, like blue­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, and black­ber­ries. Green apples, cucum­ber, toma­to, lemons, and limes are also super low sug­ar fruits that are great to enjoy. If you want a high­er sug­ar fruit like a banana, pineap­ple, mel­on, etc. enjoy a small­er quan­ti­ty.
  • Sweet pota­to. Eat in mod­er­a­tion. A great source of car­bo­hy­drates (you need carbs, espe­cial­ly if you’re a wom­an or if you train reg­u­lar­ly) and vit­a­m­in A (beta-carotene).


Talk to your doc­tor about any sup­ple­ments you plan on tak­ing, espe­cial­ly if you have a diag­nosed med­ical con­di­tion.

Vit­a­m­in A, vit­a­m­in E, zinc, and antiox­i­dants such as vit­a­m­in C, EGCG (from green tea), astax­an­thin, B vit­a­mins, turmer­ic, sily­mar­in (from milk thistle), and glu­tathione (you won’t get much ben­e­fit from tak­ing pre-formed glu­tathione, so take a pre­cur­sor like N-acetyl cys­teine) are all ben­e­fi­cial for treat­ing acne.

Dur­ing the study, how­ev­er, only three sup­ple­ments were test­ed. All groups were treat­ed with one sup­ple­ment each plus a night­ly top­i­cal appli­ca­tion of a rose antiox­i­dant cream. Cream Rec­om­men­da­tions: Dr. Alkaitis Organ­ic Night CrèmeMUN No.1 Aknari Night­time Dream Youth Serum, or Weleda Wild Rose Smooth­ing Night Cream. The groups were not given all three acne sup­ple­ments at once, yet every group had sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in acne lesions and improve­ment in blood mark­ers (glu­tathione, IL-8, etc.). Keep this in mind when you sup­ple­ment. You don’t need to load your­self up with lots of stuff – try one thing at a time and give it 4–6 weeks to show results.

Group one received 210 mg of sily­mar­in dai­ly (one 70 mg tablet 3x/day after meals). Sily­mar­in Rec­om­men­da­tions: Pure Encap­su­la­tions Sily­mar­in, Jar­row For­mu­las Milk Thistle.

Group two received 1,200 mg of N-acetyl cys­teine (NAC) dai­ly (one 600 mg tablet twice dai­ly). NAC Rec­om­men­da­tions: NOW Foods Nac-Acetyl Cys­teine 600mg (also con­tains 25 mcg sele­ni­um), Pure Encap­su­la­tions NAC 600 mg (my favorite brand).

Group three received 200 mcg of sele­ni­um dai­ly (one 100 mcg tablet twice dai­ly). Sele­ni­um Rec­om­men­da­tions: NOW Foods Sele­ni­um.

DIM Detox. An amaz­ing sup­ple­ment for help­ing the body elim­i­nate xenoe­stro­gens and assist with hor­mone metab­o­lism and elim­i­na­tion. Peo­ple who get cys­tic acne (the type that forms hard red bumps under the skin that do not always sur­face) and who get blem­ish­es around the jaw­line and chin are usu­al­ly suf­fer­ing from hor­mone imbal­ance and may find this sup­ple­ment to be par­tic­u­lar­ly effec­tive. It may take 2–4 weeks to start to notice a change, but that depends on the indi­vid­u­al. There is anoth­er DIM sup­ple­ment called EstroBlock which many peo­ple find effec­tive, though I prefer the well-round­ed ingre­di­ents in DIM Detox and I trust the man­u­fac­tur­er. EstroBlock has a high­er amount of DIM, which might be bet­ter for sev­ere hor­mone imbal­ance, so you may wish to have your hor­mone lev­els eval­u­at­ed and exper­i­ment to see which DIM sup­ple­ment works best for you.


Like I said before, don’t go crazy and buy every sup­ple­ment in the store. Try a few things at a time and see what works best for you.

My per­son­al sup­ple­ment reg­i­men is pret­ty sim­ple and inex­pen­sive:

¹Eval­u­a­tion of serum vit­a­mins A and E and zinc lev­els accord­ing to the sever­i­ty of acne vul­gar­is, Ozuguz P, et al.

I hope you found this help­ful! In case you want more infor­ma­tion on diet and sup­ple­ments for acne and oth­er skin con­di­tions, feel free to look at my oth­er posts or enjoy my book.
~Steph  x

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