According to the University of Maryland, acne is a skin condition characterized by inflammation caused by clogging of the pores. Acne can occur as whiteheads, blackheads or simply clogged follicles, which usually appear on the face, back, neck and shoulders. Acne can be caused by hormonal fluctuations, medications or other conditions that cause glands in the skin to produce an excess of oil. The oil, combined with dirt or bacteria, causes clogging and inflammation, which can be a source of embarrassment. Fortunately, taking certain dietary supplements can help treat acne and relieve its symptoms over time.
Take a zinc supplement daily and follow manufacturer directions. Zinc is the second most abundant trace element in your body. It is responsible for enzyme activity, genetic expression and the structure of proteins. Zinc also plays a role in the regulation of hormones, which are often the cause of acne. Perhaps most importantly, zinc helps your body build and maintain immunity, which can help increase your resistance to bacteria that can cause acne.
Take a vitamin E supplement or apply a cream that contains vitamin E after washing your skin. Vitamin E provides antioxidant and immune system protection. These characteristics might help your body resist the inflammatory and bacterial effects that cause acne to form. Additionally, vitamin E might create a natural barrier to the formation of acne, partly due to the ability of vitamin E to prevent oxidation, the physical change that occurs to oil, causing it to clog pores.
Take a vitamin A supplement and follow manufacturer directions. Vitamin A plays a role in bone growth, vision and cell production. Additionally, vitamin A helps your skin to act as a barrier to bacteria that can lead to acne. In lieu of an oral supplement, you can also use a topical cream that contains vitamin A -- or retinol, as it is more commonly known in this form. If you have acne that is severe, you might need a prescription-strength retinol cream, available from your physician or dermatologist.
Take 3,000 mg or less of an omega-3 fatty acid supplement daily. You might be familiar with the heart-healthy effects of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in foods such as fish and flaxseeds, but this isn't where the benefits end. Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for healthy skin. These essential fats also decrease your body's inflammatory process. This can help reduce the inflammation that occurs with acne and decrease the risk of recurrence. Eating fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel twice a week, can also help supplement your body's requirement for omega-3 fatty acids.
Take vitamin C daily and follow manufacturer specifications. Vitamin C is necessary for the production of collagen, the proteins found in skin cells. Vitamin C deficiency can be caused by smoking, poor nutrition and excess alcohol consumption. A deficiency in this vitamin can lead to decreased immunity. This can leave your skin more vulnerable to infiltration of bacteria, causing inflammation that typically occurs with acne. Your body is unable to manufacture its own vitamin C, so it must be obtained through supplements or by eating foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
Speak with your doctor before using any dietary supplement.