How Vitamin D helps in Acne

What is Acne?

Acne (or Acne Vulgaris) is a disorder which affects the oil glands and hair follicles of the skin.  The oil glands are connected to the skin pores (small holes) under the skin, produces Sebum, an oily substance.  The pores connect to the glands by follicle, where a thin hair is grown.  Inside the follicles, the dead skin cells are carried to the surface of the skin by the oil glands.

When the hair, sebum and skin cells are clumped together, it turns out as a plug which would swell due to the presence of bacteria.  The breakdown of the plug causes the growth of pimples.  It is caused due to the changes in hormone during menstrual cycle.[1]

Vitamin D

It is evident that this sunshine Vitamin is one of the essential nutrients for both healthy skin and the body.  However it is primarily acknowledged for its effective in bone formation.  But in recent years, the involvement of Vitamin D in dermatological disease especially for Acne has proved its significant role in skin perspective diseases.[2]

How does Vitamin D help in treating Acne?

  • Vitamin D would reduce formation of wrinkles in the skin.
  • It makes the skin glow by making it soft and smooth.
  • According to the recent studies, Vitamin D is proved to boost up the effect of immune system and fight against flu viruses.
  • Vitamin D would brighten the mood by decreasing the feel of depression.
  • Being an effective absorber of calcium, Vitamin D helps in easy absorption of calcium and prevents osteoporosis.
  • It will decrease the infections in respiratory system.
  • Vitamin D helps to reduce the spasms in the muscles to ease the body aches.
  • This sunshine vitamin also used in cancer treatment by preventing the further proliferation of cancer cells.[3]

Vitamin D is known as a Hormone Calcitriol.  It maintains the calcium and phosphate level in the body.  It also affects the other hormones in the body. If this hormone is present in inadequate amount, the other hormone would interfere which leads to the increased activity of sebaceous gland and produces a large amount of Sebum.  This would eventually leads to the formation of acne.

Sensitivity to Insulin

Insulin is a hormone which is produced from the pancreas (Beta Langerhans cells).  The sugar derived from carbohydrate foods are controlled by insulin either using it as energy or storing it for later use.  It controls and maintains the blood sugar level.  The abnormal Insulin secretion by pancreas can cause increase or decrease in blood sugar level.  If the insulin is secreted in low amount, the fat is used for energy instead of glucose.

Due to this, Insulin along with other hormones activates the stimulation of sebaceous gland which induces the production of more sebum.  It may results in the growth of acne or exacerbates the acne which is already caused.  Here, Vitamin D controls the body’s response to insulin by preventing the acne formation.

Relieves Inflammation

Acne is usually occurs with the formation of pimple caused by the inflammation.  Vitamin D helps to relieve inflammation.  It helps to decrease the size and appearance of acne by reducing its swelling and reddening nature.

Antioxidants

Free radicals which are produced by the oxidation of cells cause weakening of cell structure and cell mutation (sudden change).  It leads to the blockage of skin pores which may results in Acne.        Vitamin D produces its own Antioxidants which act against free radicals.  It clears the blocks in pores and protects the skin damage from acne. The skin will be more smooth, soft and clear.[4]

Antimicrobial Agent

Vitamin D is an efficient Antimicrobial agent.  Sometimes acne may cause due to the overgrowth and proliferation of bacterial cells in skin.  Vitamin D has Antimicrobial properties which control the bacterial growth.

Improves Mood

If you experience the feel of depression for a long period of time, it would increase the level of cortisone in the body. It can lead to the formation of acne in the skin. Vitamin D with its special characteristics can enlighten our bright mood and also reduces the level of depression.

This would control and balance the stress level which would prevent the acne formation in the skin.

Effect of Vitamin D on the infections of the skin

Vitamin D activates Macrophages, one of the types in White Blood Cells (WBC). The activity of Macrophages to destroy the Acne bacteria is stimulated by this Vitamin D. These macrophages cells are much larger in its size so that they readily undergo the process to make the copies of DNA in order to code the protein to continue the function of the cell.

They migrate towards the walls of blood vessels throughout the body, searching for dead cells, and presence of excessive cholesterol and pathogenic microorganisms which can be infectious to the cells. Macrophages would destroy and engulf the excess cholesterol deposits and infectious pathogens. They are digested and transformed into nutrients which can be utilized for the functions of the body. This WBC will not cause any kind of inflammatory reactions; it would directly kill the bacteria without any trace of its presence.

Some other White blood cells such as Monocyte or Basophil can destroy the acne bacteria by causing Inflammation in the specific region. It can also relieve the inflammation cause by this bacteria itself to treat acne. [5]

Research and Evidences

Several studies have been reported to know about the effect of Vitamin D in the treatment of acne.

In 1938, Dr. Maynard had proved that supplements of Vitamin D which is given in recommended dosage has an effective result in treating acne and the inflammation caused by acne in the skin.[6]

  1. acnes is one of the important bacteria which play an important role in the formation of acne. A research in 2016 has proved that Vitamin D can block the entry of this bacterium.

A research on Vitamin D for Acne vulgaris which is studied by Parviz Toossi and et al., has proved that the patients with acne had low value of Vitamin D level in the serum.

A study “Comparison of Vitamin D levels in patients with and without acne” by Seul-Ki Lim and et al., has found the connection between both inflammatory lesions and non-inflammatory lesions. In this study, the persons with acne were the given the Vitamin D supplement of about 1000 IU. After eight weeks, they found the improvement in the patients with inflammatory lesions but there is no change in patients with non-inflammatory lesions.

The researchers also proved that the severity of acne will be high when the level of Vitamin D in blood is low. It is because that the severe effect of acne and the serum Vitamin D level are interconnected with each other.[7]

 

Summary

It is better to gain Vitamin D for your body through sunlight. But it is important to note that exposing your skin to sun for a prolong period alone can’t cure Acne and it is not the only way to gain Vitamin D. Consuming dietary supplements and Vitamin D rich foods are the best ways to improve Vitamin D in order to treat Acne.

Avoid pinching or scratching the acne pimples as it may spread the disorder around the surface of the skin.  Though Vitamin D is essential to cure acne, it cannot be done with this vitamin D alone.  However a proper diet along with necessary care for skin is also equally important to avoid acne.[8]

 

[1] www.facingacne.com/vitamin-d-acne/

[2] www.acneease.com/acne-treatment

[3] www.healthline.com/health/vitamin-d-for-acne

[4] www.facingacne.com/vitamin-d-acne/

[5] www.facingacne.com/vitamin-d-acne/

[6] www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/acne/

[7] www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4642156

[8] www.healthline.com/health/vitamin-d-for-acne