Supplements For Hormonal Acne-Prone Skin


I thought I would share with you my supplement regime because I think it has really made such a difference to my skin. But before I plunge into it proper, I would like to preface this by saying that I didn’t take any of these under any medical guidance, I just did some research on the Internet, and gave it a go. Also, I think the cause of my acne was due to the fact that I stopped taking birth control pills (which I had been consuming for over 6.5 years before I stopped in late June 2010).

My skin is still far from perfect but I stopped getting monstrous breakouts and it has stabilized and is much more predictable. I still get some acne during the time of the month but my skin has been pretty alright. I don’t think it would ever return to its acne-free state when I was on the pill because I think the pill actually decreases sebum production so I think what I’m experiencing now is my natural state — oily, dehydrated skin.

Anyway, in order to help keep zits and hormonal changes in check, I take the following:

Zinc: If you are familiar with getting acne, you would probably know that zinc helps to prevent and heal acne. I only take a 10mg tablet per day and I have read that zinc works great with vitamin C which also helps stave off the flu.

Dong Quai: This is actually a Chinese herb that has been used for centuries by women facing fertility problems. This herb helps to regulate your hormones and I picked this up in forums where women who stopped the pill recommended taking dong quai to get their cycles back on track. Though I need to point out that my cycle has never really been out of whack so I took this to just balance out my “raging” hormones.

Vegetarian Acidophilus: Now I know I’m a veggie gal and you might think I’m recommending this just based on the fact I don’t eat meat but I have actually read that dairy can make acne worse because it contains a load of hormones. Even before I knew that, for years I tried not to consume dairy not just because I’m mildly lactose intolerant but also because I noticed a decrease in getting skin conditions like eczema and other various mysterious bumps and rashes on my body. So I go by the rule of thumb that too much dairy can stress your skin so I try to avoid it as much as I can.

Milk Thistle: I think this herb combined with dong quai has made great strides in improving my skin. Apparently, milk thistle increases the production of bile which helps to break down the amount of testosterone which causes acne.

On top of taking these supplements daily, I also pop a multi-vitamin tablet that contains vitamin B which again helps to prevent acne by way of reducing inflammation in the skin. All in all, I’ve been taking this combination for almost a year now and it took about two months for my skin to show visible signs of stabilizing — I still got some acne and it took another few months on top of that for my skin to stop breaking out twice a month (I’m not sure why but it happened every two weeks). I felt like I had everything pretty much under control by June this year.

Another dietary change I made was to cut down drastically on refined carbs and gluten, but I didn’t do that specifically to target my acne, but as a general health strategy for skin and weight maintenance, as I feel that gluten can be the root of many skin conditions (you can read about the link between acne and gluten here).

I hope you found this useful and do you have any supplements you would like to share that is great for skin?

*Please note I’m not an expert on this topic and these conclusions were based on my personal experience and research.

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  1. Hi Ms. Yu Ming, I have been following your blog since I arrived in Tokyo 3 months ago. I have a similar acne problem but unlike you I was
    not on pills or any oral contraceptives. I have tried the ac vinegar you suggested but the breakouts persist. I will try this one. :) thank you so much for all your advices and tips :) Happy New Year.

  2. By the way, i remember studying about vitamins in the university A C and E are good for the skin. I used to take all those vitamins when i was still in Philippines and i have to say that my skin was so clear. There a lot of factors and i think the dry weather is the culprit of my breakouts. :) sorry for the multiple post

  3. Hi Gail happy new year to you too! Yeah I think a change in climate and diet could be the cause. When I first moved to Tokyo I also experienced minor breakouts and it was probably due to lots of changes and stress at the time. Hope your skin gets better

  4. I just came across your blog. I am on Zoloft and having starting breaking out terribly. I also saw that you take milk thistle. I had my gall bladder removed 4 years ago, therefore I no longer produce a huge amount of bile. Very interesting. I will try your combination of supplements and see how it goes. Thank you.

  5. hi, has your acne cleared up? mine is really worse and im depressed… i just bought acne 30 mg today… i have gone to too many facial clinics, to dermatologists and no help, mine is not that worse but i didnt have acne before, i started having this 3 years ago.. i used to have clear skin.. i really dont know what the problem is :(

  6. Yes it has…I still get breakouts during the time of the month but I suppose that is part n parcel of being a woman…I would say this regime has helped me prevent my acne from going crazy all the time to just once a month now.

  7. Thank you for this inspiring post. I’m also pescetarian and am looking for ways to eat healthier. Maintaining my weight and clearing up my mild acne are my main concerns, and I hope that I can achieve this by following a similar diet.

  8. Hi,,
    i also face same problem, Actually i used to have clear skin before and a bit oily but it was ok. i was attack by worse acne and pimples. not all over my face but some same spot then left some big scars… it happend when i want to try another product then things become nightmare. i used to see doctors but the cleanser he gv to me a bit slower to treat my face.. then the acne still here… im looking for a supplement that can hell my skin became healthier again.. i hope your skin getting more better too

  9. @Hope: Don’t give up and hope your skin will improve. Sometimes it’s a combination of skincare and what’s going on inside your body. Good luck.

  10. Evening Primrose is supposed to help with acne too. I find it directly on the skin does more than orally, It does help to regulate hormones too, when taken orally. I take some supplements that boost testosterone, to help prevent breast and ovarian cancer, because I have lots of that on both sides of my family… It also helps my back pain and such… But what stinks about testosterone is that it makes people break out, especially women… I am looking for a good topical herbal that will not affect my hormones, but will reduce my acne. I will be 36 years old next month, and I am broken out like a 13 year old… I have cam up with an herbal mud mask that I have mixed up with som herbals myself, but it helps, but nothing is clearing everything up, and the mask is too hard to do on my back.

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