Acne is a very common skin condition that can begin during adolescence and continue through your adult life. Unfortunately, I speak from experience. Living with acne can be very distressing and can cause depression and anxiety.
One natural and effective way to combat acne is ensuring you have adequate levels of Vitamin D. Acne symptoms can be greatly improved or even eliminated with the help of Vitamin D and Vitamin D rich foods.
So, how does Vitamin D help Acne?
1. Anti-Comedogenic Effect
Studies have proven that high Vitamin D levels can suppress the increase of cells in the sebaceous gland, thereby preventing acne. When the sebaceous gland is enlarged, the production of sebum increases dramatically and the excess sebum moves to the outer skin surface, thereby creating a perfect breeding ground for acne-causing bacteria.
2. Anti-inflammatory Effect
Vitamin D3 controls the release and action of immune cells associated with inflammatory response. According to studies, when using Vitamin D for acne treatment, it can inhibit the inflammatory response of the immune system. This potent anti-inflammatory effect of Vitamin D helps to treat acne.
3. Antimicrobial Effect
Vitamin D can directly regulate the response of the immune system to attacks from infectious agents such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. The antimicrobial response caused by vitamin D can be attributed to compounds called antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). AMPs are antibacterial agents which are so quick in action that bacteria cannot develop resistance against them. Vitamin D can boost the production of AMPs in the skin to fight acne-causing bacteria, like Staphylococcus epidermis and P. acnes.
4. Antioxidant Effects
The antioxidant property of vitamin D includes the ability to protect one’s skin cells against excessive oxidative stress. It achieves this by inhibiting the activation of some protein kinases that are triggered by stress. One of the major causes of acne is oxidative stress and so when the skin is protected against such stress, the risk of acne will be incredibly lower.
5. Reduces emotional stress triggered by acne breakouts
Many people who are suffering from acne may sometimes experience emotional distress, depression and anxiety due to the appearance of ugly acne breakouts on their skin. But there is a biochemical process behind such stress. People who are stressed by the presence of acne on their skin usually have high levels of free radicals but low vitamin D levels. Moreover, the amount of MAO (monoamine oxidase) enzyme is also low. These factors will affect the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for moods.
The best ways ensure healthy Vitamin D levels are:
- Daily short periods of sun exposure – Of course this isn't always possible depending on the time of year and weather.
- Vitamin D Supplements
- Foods high in Vitamin D – There aren't a whole lot of foods high in Vitamin D, but a few are wild caught salmon and mushrooms.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil – Cod liver oil has about 1260IU of vitamin D in one tablespoon.
You can read more about the benefits of cod liver oil for acne here.