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When you struggle with acne, it can feel like your skin breaks out at the slightest trigger—seasonal changes, new beauty products, hormonal changes. Understanding how the ingredients in your acne-fighting products work can help you effectively treat and prevent blemishes so you can keep your skin clear and radiant.
Glycolic acid (AHA), salicylic acid (BHA), and benzoyl peroxide are three ingredients commonly found in over-the-counter products for mild acne. But how do you know which ingredient is the right one for you?
What Are the Differences Between the Most Popular Acne Ingredients?
Here is a breakdown of three common over-the-counter acne-fighting ingredients to help treat and prevent mild acne.Benzoyl Peroxide
This ingredient works by removing excess oil and dead skin cells and killing bacteria beneath your skin. It can help with pimples, pus, and redness, but doesn’t help with whiteheads or blackheads.
Benzoyl peroxide is a bleaching agent. It can bleach your clothing, skin, and other materials, so apply with caution and wash your hands thoroughly after using it. Benzoyl peroxide is much harsher than other common acne ingredients, such as salicylic acid.
When starting benzoyl peroxide, you may notice your skin becoming increasingly irritated, dry, and red. You also might see a worsening of your acne, especially during the first three weeks of use. If your skin doesn’t become clearer and less irritated within 4 to 6 weeks, you should stop using it.
Glycolic acid is a water-soluble, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from sugar cane. It helps reduce acne through exfoliating the surface level of the skin so the dead cells can’t mix with oils on your skin and clog your pores.
Glycolic acid provides several benefits for your skin. Your skin looks rejuvenated and smoother thanks to its exfoliating properties. It also helps your skin retain moisture, so your skin doesn’t overproduce oil. Plus, it can help reduce the appearance of acne scars, dark spots, fine lines, and surface wrinkles. Many people report softer, more vibrant skin after using this ingredient.
When using this ingredient, it’s important to apply sunscreen since your skin will be more photosensitive.
Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that penetrates deep into your pores. Salicylic acid helps fight acne by exfoliating the top layers of your skin and removing dead cells and excess oil from inside your pores. It also has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties to help prevent future breakouts.
Salicylic acid is particularly effective against blackheads, whiteheads, and can prevent future comedones from forming. By helping to keep your pores clear, this ingredient can help prevent blemishes from starting.
This ingredient can dry your face if too much oil is removed; however, it’s less harsh than benzoyl peroxide. Don’t use salicylic acid if you’re allergic to aspirin.
How Do You Choose the Right Acne Ingredients for You?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to treating and preventing acne. That said, the more you understand your skin type, your kind of acne, and the potential causes of your breakouts, the easier it becomes to select the right ingredients for you.
If you have sensitive skin, consider trying products with less harsh ingredients, such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid. These products are often less irritating to people’s skin than benzoyl peroxide. Additionally, if you have eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, or psoriasis, you should consult with your doctor before using benzoyl peroxide.
Are you looking for a gentle cleanser to help treat and prevent your acne and improve the appearance of your skin? Then try Innate Skin’s Clear Skin AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser to gently exfoliate your skin to reveal your healthiest skin and fight current and future acne breakouts. It is gentle enough to be used 1-2 times a day by most people and won’t bleach your clothing, towels, and sheets!
Of course, it is our believe at Innate Skin that the best way to deal with acne is from the inside out. Don’t just treat the symptom, which is the acne showing up on your face and body, but treat the problem, what is causing your acne to begin with? Part of that equation can be the P. acnes bacteria on your face, but another big part of it is your hormones and vitamin deficiencies. Get those balanced out and your acne will clear up. That is why we recommend using the Clear Skin Vitamin Pack with any face wash that you choose to use.
Do you struggle with acne along your jawline, lower face, neck, or body? Are you disappointed with the lack of results from antibiotics and topical treatments? If so, one potential cause of your acne may be a hormonal imbalance.
When hormonal imbalances cause your acne, it’s often challenging to find solutions that work. One approach is to try prescription medications to help correct the imbalance. Spironolactone is one treatment for hormonal acne in women, but how effective is it, and are the side effects as bad as some people say?
What Is Spironolactone?
Spironolactone, or Aldactone, is a prescription diuretic that helps restore the balance of sodium and potassium in the body and is used for high blood pressure and heart disease.
This drug also can suppress the hormone, testosterone. Given its antiandrogen activity, spironolactone has several off-label uses including:Hormonal acne Unwanted hair growth in women (hirsutism) Female pattern hair loss Premenstrual Syndrome Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
It is not FDA-approved to treat acne or any of these off-label uses.
Who Can Benefit From Using Spironolactone?
Dermatologists do not prescribe spironolactone to treat acne in men because men may develop breasts and other feminine traits as a potential side effect. However, it is considered generally safe by some dermatologists for healthy women.
Spironolactone is often considered for women who are experiencing cyclical acne or moderate to severe acne that hasn’t improved with other treatments such as oral contraceptives or antibiotics.
How Effective Is Spironolactone for Hormonal Acne?
Women may see an improvement in their acne and less oily skin in a few weeks since spironolactone blocks testosterone receptors and inhibits your body from making androgens.
That said, there is limited research evidence to support spironolactone for acne. A systematic review in 2017 found that there is not enough high-quality evidence of the potential effectiveness of spironolactone at present. More research with larger sample sizes and double-blind procedures are recommended.
Given the limited research support, it’s essential to consult your doctor or dermatologist to determine if spironolactone is the right treatment approach for you. As with many acne treatments, results tend to vary from person to person.
What Are the Side Effects of Spironolactone?
Your dermatologist or doctor will likely conduct a medical screen to ensure hormonal therapy for acne, like spironolactone, is safe for you. As mentioned, men should not use spironolactone for acne due to the risk of feminization.
Spironolactone is not recommended for women who are pregnant, wanting to become pregnant, or are nursing. Spironolactone poses a risk to developing fetuses, and a byproduct of this drug can be excreted into breast milk.
Common side effects of spironolactone include:Headaches Stomach upset Diarrhea Fatigue Dizziness Vomiting Irregular periods Breast tenderness and enlargement Painful periods Liver dysfunction Kidney failure Risk of tumors in animal studies Is There a Natural Alternative to Spironolactone?
While some women have found relief of their acne with spironolactone, it’s not for everyone.
Wisely, many women do not feel the potential side effects are worth the risk of clearing their hormonal acne when there are natural alternatives for people who are experiencing acne due to hormone imbalances.
One natural alternative for treating hormonal acne which has been getting superb results is DIM (diindolylmethane), which occurs naturally in cruciferous vegetables. DIM has antiandrogen benefits that can help balance hormones like testosterone.
Personal accounts on message boards and Reddit boards reveal many adults noticing an improvement in their acne within a few days or weeks after starting DIM supplements, including the healing of deep, painful cysts. May men and women have completely cleared their hormonal acne by using DIM, even when they thought they had tried everything.
Unlike spironolactone, DIM can be used by men and women. Some reported side effects of DIM include mild symptoms of fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, or darker urine. However, many people say that taking DIM with food reduces many of the side effects.
Natural Supplements like DIM May Help Hormone-Related Acne
When acne flares due to hormone imbalances, you may need a treatment approach that heals your body from within. While prescription medications such as spironolactone may help some people, natural alternatives like DIM may also reduce hormonal acne and provide clearer skin, without the same risk of harmful side effects. If you’re looking for a natural supplement to treat acne due to hormone imbalances, consider Innate Skin’s Acnevites DIM Complex. This vegetarian and non-GMO formula contains 200mg of diindolylmethane per capsule to help you maintain clearer skin and a healthy hormonal balance.
Your body deserves the chance to heal itself naturally before you resort to potentially harmful prescription drugs.
When you struggle with acne, you want a solution—fast. However, it can be frustrating when creams and lotions don’t help you. This is a common reason why people try alternative natural solutions, such as supplements, to help heal acne from within the body.
One such treatment that’s gaining in popularity is DIM, also known as diindolylmethane. This naturally occurring substance has been showing great results with hormonal acne and adult acne.
What is Hormonal Acne?
Hormonal acne is commonly associated with teenagers, but adults often get acne as well. If you notice an increase in acne during times when your body’s hormones are changing, you may have hormonal acne.
While hormonal acne isn’t a medical term, it refers to acne that is more common during hormone changes such as puberty and women’s menstrual cycles. This type of acne often occurs along the chin, jawline, or cheeks and is usually deep and painful. Since this type of acne is due to hormone changes, not all acne treatments will help prevent or address its cause.
What Is DIM?
Diindolylmethane is a naturally occurring compound found in cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale, and cauliflower. DIM is a metabolite of indole-3-carbinol. DIM can be used directly by the body and doesn’t require any additional conversion.
DIM and indole-3-carbinol may have a protective role in reducing certain types of estrogen-dependent cancers. It may also help with estrogen metabolism and help with hormone imbalances. DIM restores healthy hormone balance through adjusting the balance of bad to good estrogens.
How Does DIM Help with Hormonal Acne?
DIM’s antiandrogen benefits may help strengthen and balance hormones like testosterone, preventing them from causing an increase in acne. Additionally, DIM’s potential ability to metabolize and regulate estrogen may provide better hormonal balance and reduce acne. However, more scientific research is needed to find out exactly how it is helping.
That said, the use of DIM supplements for hormonal acne has increased as more adults report decreased acne following the use of DIM supplements. A look through message boards, Reddit boards, and reviews show people reporting clearer skin after using a DIM supplement. Many of these personal accounts reveal that this was the first treatment that helped heal and prevent the deep, painful cysts.
How Long Before You Notice Results from DIM?
When you have acne, you want results fast. That said, how quickly a person can see results with a DIM supplement varies. Some people report improvements in a few days or weeks, while some results may take a month or more.
One reason for the variability may be the lack of a standard, recommended dosage since there are no long term scientific studies on DIM for acne at present. Our research has shown that 200mg of DIM taken daily achieves the best results.
Another factor is consistency. If you forget to take the supplement regularly, you may have less effective results.
Does DIM Have Side Effects?
Some people report headaches or upset stomach as a side effect of starting DIM supplements. However, taking DIM supplements with food typically helps prevent these.
Other reported side effects include fatigue and darker urine. You should always consult your doctor before starting a new supplement, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.
Is a DIM Supplement Right for You?
Hormonal acne can be painful and unpleasant. While not every treatment works for everyone, adding a DIM supplement to your routine may help decrease and, eventually, prevent your acne due to hormone changes or imbalances.
If you’re looking for a DIM supplement to combat acne, take a look at Innate Skin’s Acnevites DIM Complex. This vegetarian and non-GMO formula contains 200mg of diindolylmethane per capsule to help you maintain a healthy hormonal balance and clearer skin.
When you have acne, you want to heal your skin as quickly as possible. No one likes having pimples on their face. However, given the variety of acne products available—over-the-counter medications, wipes, lotions, prescriptions, and supplements, it can be challenging to know what will clear your skin the fastest.
Unfortunately, there’s no one answer for how long any treatment will take to cure your acne since it can depend on what is causing it. That said, there are guidelines on how long it typically takes acne vitamins to work.
Knowing the Cause of Your Acne Can Speed Up Your Healing
A variety of factors can cause acne. Some common causes of acne include hormonal changes, bacteria, genetics, environmental toxins, and nutritional deficiencies. Understanding what is contributing to your acne breakouts can help you target the right treatments for you.
For instance, more adults are experiencing acne in their twenties and thirties. Unfortunately, over-the-counter acne medications may not work as effectively for adults with acne since they often have more sensitive skin than teenagers or combination skin. Additionally, the underlying factors contributing to many adults’ acne may be different than that of teenagers.
Two reasons more adults may be experiencing increased levels of acne could be due to chronic stress or nutritional deficiencies. Findings from a 2013 study found participants with acne had lower blood levels of vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc compared to a control group of healthy individuals. The study concluded that increasing these vitamins and zinc may help individuals with acne have clearer skin.
Determining what may be contributing to your acne can help you select the right treatment approach for you, which can cause you to see results faster.How Long Does It Take For Acne Vitamins to Work?
Any acne treatment takes time to work, whether it’s a prescription, over-the-counter topical medication, or natural remedy like vitamins for acne. The American Academy of Dermatology states it can take four to six weeks to begin noticing improvements no matter what method you use. Additionally, it takes even longer before a breakout completely heals.
Most people report acne vitamins beginning to work within one to eight weeks. That said, it can take longer if you have significant vitamin deficiencies or hormones that are out of balance.
However, acne vitamins are doing more than just treating the symptom—the blemishes. Acne vitamins strive to heal your system and put your body in balance to prevent future breakouts. By getting enough of the right essential vitamins and minerals, you can feel healthier and address a potential cause of your acne.
Acne Vitamins Can Help Heal Your Acne and Prevent Future Breakouts with Time
When a breakout occurs, you want results quickly. However, all acne treatments—whether vitamin-based, topical, or prescription—take some time. While results vary per person, treating your acne with vitamin supplements can work just as fast as other methods. Additionally, it may also help prevent future breakouts.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive vitamin supplement for acne, check out Clear Skin Vitamin Pack by Innate Skin. This vitamin pack contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that can help clear your skin naturally, including zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, and more.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A is key to any vitamin based acne treatment. It is responsible for growing new skin cells, strengthening your skin’s protective tissue, and keeping your sebaceous glands from producing too much oil. Accutane is a mutated form of vitamin A given in a very large dose.
Vitamin D – Acts as a defense system for your skin by activating a special type of white blood cell called a macrophage. These macrophages attack acne causing bacteria. Vitamin D also supports our body’s immune defenses in the fight against acne, is an antioxidant, and helps prevent inflammation.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) – Helps to metabolize skin oils, increases your blood circulation, and works to even out hormonal imbalances. Several clinical trials have shown that vitamin B5 is successful in reducing the number of acne lesions on participant’s faces.
Vitamin E – Helps defend your skin from free radicals as well as keeping it soft and moisturized. It also helps support your immune system. Several studies have shown that cystic acne sufferers are very deficient in Vitamin E.
Zinc – Not actually a vitamin but a mineral. Several scientific studies have shown that acne sufferers are deficient in zinc. Zinc helps regulate the activity of your oil glands, heal wounds, and strengthen your skin tissue to prevent scarring. The best type of zinc for acne treatment is zinc picolinate.
Turmeric – this is an herb and not a vitamin but is essential in the fight against cystic acne. Turmeric is used for many different ailments and helps to reduce inflammation. It is a common treatment for boils as well. It is a potent antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent.
Alpha Lipoic Acid – this vitamin like antioxidant can be found in liver, kidney, spinach, broccoli, and potatoes. Alpha lipoic acid seems to help prevent some kinds of cell damage in the body and also helps increase the body’s levels of vitamin E and C, both of which help with acne. Two separate studies have shown alpha lipoic acid is twice as low in acne sufferers as those without.
There are many other vitamins, minerals, and herbs that can help in the fight against acne. If you want to find an excellent source that provides all the acne fighting ingredients in one daily supplement, check out the Clear Skin Vitamin Pack on amazon.com!