Saturday, 31 August 2013

Supplements For Hormonal Acne-Prone Skin

I know I write a lot of posts about skincare (& you're all probably bored of them by now!) but if you keep on getting spots then it's hard to want to talk about anything else. I've found some really great products recently and my skin has been looking pretty darn good... apart from my chin that is. My wonderful Elemis Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing Facial Wash has done a fab job of clearing up my blemishes but it hasn't quite managed to stop new ones from appearing on my chin. I'm an advocate of face mapping and I do think it's true that breakouts in certain areas can relate to internal problems. Spots on the chin and along the jawline are often due to a hormonal imbalance. I think there's a good chance that my blemishes could be down to my contraceptive pill but otherwise I'm fairly happy with it so I decided to look into other ways of fixing my hormones. As a massive supplement junkie my first port of call was to research which ones can help with acne. I went to Holland & Barrett to pick them up a few weeks ago and I've seen a marked improvement already. I've not gotten any new spots for the past week which has to be some kind of record for my skin! Here's a list of what I've been taking, how much to take and how they can help you:

Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil isn't especially known as an acne cure but this is a basic supplement that everyone should take regardless of your skin type. It is high in Omega 3 fatty acids as well as Vitamins A & D. Omega 3 can help to reduce blemishes and Vitamin A has been proven to help improve skin health. I've tried using a topical Vitamin A (Retinol) and it works really well. It can be a bit drying though so taking it internally helps too. I take one 1000mg capsule per day.

Omega 3 Fish Oil
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to your health but your body cannot make them on it's own, you need to eat food containing it instead. Fish is probably the best source of this nutrient but I don't eat fish at all so I have to supplement my diet with it instead. It is anti-inflammatory so helps to reduce blemishes. Fish oil is also known to help with depression, various mental health problems, bowel disorders and menstrual health. I normally take three 1200mg capsules per day, sometimes more if I'm feeling a bit down. I think three is enough if you just want them to help with your skin though.

Starflower Oil
I think this has made the biggest difference to my skin lately. Starflower Oil is sometimes known as Borage Oil. It's quite similar to Evening Primrose Oil but a bit more potent so this has been helping with PMS & my general moodiness too haha. The vital part of both Evening Primose Oil & Starflower Oil is another fatty acid known as Gamma Linolenic Acid. GLA is essential for the production of certain hormone-like substances called prostaglandins. This stuff is brilliant if you have any hormonal imbalances and I generally feel a lot happier since I started to take these. Infact every woman should take these. I take two 1000mg capsules per day which provides 380mg GLA.

Milk Thistle
This is something I've taken for years because it helps to detoxify your liver, perfect for binge drinking! I rarely had hangovers at university because of these pills. They also help to balance hormones. A lot of people with acne tend to have a sluggish liver so these can really help. I think Holland & Barrett stopped making this for a while, not sure if they've brought it back now but I had to buy my bottle from Health Rack instead. These pills have 125mg Milk Thistle Extract and I take three of these per day.

Zinc + Copper
Zinc supplements were something I only ever took when I had a cold because they can boost your immune system & promote healing but they are brilliant for the skin too. Skincare products containing Zinc are great for blemishes, hence why things like La Roche-Posay Serozinc or even Sudocrem can sort out spots. Zinc heals acne by carrying Vitamin A to your skin and by regulating your body’s hormonal balance. It also helps with skin renewal. The pills I bought come with Copper because it's very important to get the balance of these two minerals right in your body. Taken on it's own Zinc actually depletes the Copper in your body which can lead to things like depression & anxiety. These only have 15mg Zinc per tablet so I take two of them each day. Sometimes you have to ignore the instructions to get the right amount in your system. Zinc can become harmful at 100mg per day but as long as you stay under that you'll be fine. I find 30mg works well for me.

Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed Oil is a another great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. It also provides Omega 6 & 9 but those aren't as good for acne. These capsules are full of fibre and have been known to reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke & diabetes. I take one 1000mg capsule per day. If you're vegan, vegetarian or don't want to eat fish even in capsule form then these are a nice alternative to the Cod Liver Oil & Omega 3 Fish Oil.

I hope this is helpful to some people because my skin has improved so much since I started taking all of these religiously. I apologise if this post is a bit science heavy but I've tried to explain it all simply with my very limited scientific knowledge! I take all my supplements just after breakfast so it's become part of my daily routine. I know it seems like a lot of effort but I'm just used to it now. Supplements can get very pricey so you don't need to buy everything but the must-have items here are the Omega 3 Fish Oil, Starflower Oil & Zinc + Copper. Cheaper supplement suppliers like Health Rack are a great choice or the Holland & Barrett penny sale really helps with saving money. Obviously I'm not a nutritionist or anything but everything I take came from recommendations by health professionals & they've worked really well for me.

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  1. I've recently started taking the Zinc with Copper supplement you have listed and after a month there is already a noticeable difference in my skin! I sometimes forget to take it along with my meals though, which can leave me feeling nauseous when taken alone.

  2. You must rattle!
    It's great that you've found a mix that works so well for you, though. I'll definitely be having a look into some of these :) Thanks for sharing!

    Jess xo

  3. I'll never be bored of your skincare posts! This was really informative and helpful. Thanks for taking the time to write this.


  4. I'm definitely gonna try Starflower Oil + Milk Thistle! Thanks so much for these reviews


  5. This is a really handy post, thankyou! definitely going to try some of these x

  6. Thanks so much for this post, having suffered from spouts of blemishes i have been looking for a cure that works within the body rather than products that you apply directly onto the skin as they havent really worked for me!
    Followed your blog, i adore it!

  7. Eek, I have the same problem. I take supplements and have a successful skincare regime but I just can't get rid of those damn chin pimples. I'm tempted to change to the contraceptive pill that improves skin but I have heard some horror stories of women who have been on it since they were 18, come off it when they are 30 to have children and then have seriously horrible skin at 30. Such a dilemma! xx

    Cupcakes And Cocaine

  8. Goodness that's a lot of supplements! I think I'll definitely try the starflower oil, I already take zinc and vitamin a but I might changet for one with copper in now x

  9. I really enjoyed this post, i have not read one like this before. And i have alwasy wanted to know what supplements to take for troubled skin, so thank you. x

  10. I love this post and found it so helpful! I'm really suffering with problematic skin at the moment and have been considering supplements - particularly Evening Primrose Oil and I didn't realise that Starflower Oil is similar!
    You mentioned that you have tried topical Vit A - what did you use? I have just been researching different topical treatments containing vitamin A in different forms and am so stuck. It would really help to know what worked for you?

    1. Thanks :) I'm so glad people have found this helpful! The retinol product I'm using is La Roche-Posay Redermic R. It's really effective but it is the only one I've tried so I have no idea if theres a better product out there. Indeed Labs, the people behind Hydraluron & Pepta-Bright are bringing out a retinol product soon, so I'd keep an eye out for that! xx

    2. Thanks so much Caroline! I've been checking out Medik8 Retinol 3TR and the Alpha H vitamin A serum but I know that I get on really well with La Roche Posay so definitely going to take a look at that. xoxo

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  12. I want to support the small health food store. They are a dying breed and WF does not need my money. However, this place needs an urgent makeover. Regina

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  14. What about vitamin E supplement thats good too right?

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