Natural remedies for acne
07/22/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Whether you're 13 or 30, acne can be an annoying skin condition to deal with and affect your self-confidence. To address acne, follow a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, like vitamin A and zinc.

Acne: A skin condition that affects teens and adults

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that causes the appearance of pimples and other skin lesions. The condition typically occurs during puberty, but adults can still suffer from acne due to various factors, such as poor diet or sleep quality.

A person develops acne when glands on their skin produce too much oil and become clogged with bacteria and dead skin cells. The swelling caused by these clogged pores can result in the formation of pimples.

Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription treatments can treat acne, but most of them are linked to negative side effects. For example, topical acne drugs cause skin dryness and irritation. Oral medications for acne (e.g., antibiotics) are linked to symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and an upset stomach.

If you want to prevent or treat acne naturally, you can increase your intake of certain vitamins and minerals by making dietary changes.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A includes a group of chemicals called retinoids. These chemicals are associated with various bodily functions, such as:

  • Communication between cells
  • Immune system functioning
  • Proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, and lungs
  • Reproduction
  • Vision

The vitamin can also help fight a type of bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes that plays a significant role in the development of acne.


Data from a study suggest that vitamin A can disrupt some of the effects that P. acnes has on skin cells, but further studies are required to understand how to use this particular vitamin to address acne.

Some foods that contain vitamin A include:

  • Beef liver
  • Certain types of fish (e.g., herring, salmon, and tuna)
  • Dairy products
  • Dietary supplements
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fruits (e.g., apricot, cantaloupe, and mango)
  • Green vegetables (e.g., broccoli and spinach)
  • Orange and yellow vegetables (e.g., carrots, squash, and sweet potato)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and is crucial for bone health. The vitamin is also essential for communication between nerve cells and your body's ability to fight off germs.

In a 2014 study published in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology, scientists found that vitamin D also blocks P. acnes from affecting skin cells.

Data from a separate 2016 study published in the journal PLOS One showed that individuals with acne have lower levels of vitamin D compared to those without the skin condition. This deficiency may be linked to the development of acne.

Both studies imply that vitamin D can be used to prevent or treat acne, but further research is required to better understand these findings.

Your body produces vitamin D naturally when ultraviolet light from the sun makes contact with your skin.

You can also eat foods that contain vitamin D, such as:

  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fatty fish (e.g., mackerel, salmon, and tuna)
  • Fortified foods (e.g., breakfast cereals, fruit juices, and milk)
  • Mushrooms
  • Vitamin D supplements


Zinc is an essential mineral that is needed for many cellular functions, such as:

  • Cell division
  • Enzyme activity
  • Immune system functioning
  • Protein and DNA synthesis
  • Wound healing

A 2013 study published in the journal Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology looked into the blood levels of vitamins A and E and zinc in participants with and without acne. The researchers noted that the levels of these three vitamins and minerals were significantly lower in those with acne. The scientists advised that following a diet rich in these nutrients can help prevent or treat acne.

The following foods are rich in zinc:

  • Beans, nuts, and whole grains
  • Dairy products
  • Dietary supplements (either as part of a multivitamin tablet or on its own)
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Poultry
  • Red meat
  • Seafood (e.g., crab, lobster, and oysters)

Acne prevention tips

It's not always possible to prevent acne, especially if the condition runs in your family. However, these tips can help lower your risk of developing acne and prevent further breakouts.

  • Avoid wearing tight clothing that prevents the skin from breathing.
  • Don't touch, pick, or pop your pimples.
  • Shower after exercising or sweating. Sweat can clog pores.
  • Wash your hair regularly, especially if it's oily.
  • Wash your skin gently to remove dead skin cells and excess oil. Avoid cleaning your skin too much as this can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
  • Use non-comedogenic or non-acnegenic skin products and cosmetics. (Related: Beat cystic acne with these herbal treatments.)

Wash your hair and face regularly and follow a balanced diet rich in zinc and vitamins A and D to prevent or treat acne.

Sources include:

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