1. Evening Primrose Oil
Normally, I advise against Omega-6 fatty acid consumption, because our diet (if we’re not mindful of it) already has a lot of low-quality Omega-6s. But one exception to the rule is gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), as it doesn’t cause an inflammatory response the way other Omega-6 fatty acids do!
While there isn’t ample scientific evidence that taking this oil from the seeds of the evening primrose plant works for acne, many swear by it (especially for painful cystic acne), as well as for helping with PMS – who doesn’t want that? It's certain, however, that it helps both nerve damage from diabetes, as well as osteoporosis, so it could be a great preventative measure to help keep our bones strong! The recommended dosage is 4-6 grams per day, and I’d look for a source that’s non-GMO and free of additives or gluten if you have a sensitivity.
2. Milk Thistle
Just like staying hydrated helps to detoxify our skin and bodies (which are excellent at detoxifying themselves, as long as everything is working properly and supported), milk thistle does the same by encouraging proper liver function.
Milk thistle detoxifies skin by encouraging proper liver function.
If you ever find yourself indulging in adult beverages or food that you wouldn’t describe as “clean eating,” you may want to consider adding some of this natural powerhouse to your daily routine! My favorite is a few drops of “Liver Support” by Eclectic Labs!
3. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)
N-Acetyl Cysteine is a superhero amino acid because it actually helps with both of the goals of numbers one and two on this list – it decreases inflammation (which is exactly what you want when you have an acne flare-up) and supports healthy liver function. It also helps your body replenish glutathione, which is an extremely powerful anti-oxidant. That means you can fight acne and aging at the same time! There are tons of other health benefits to NAC, so I strongly recommend it! My go-to is the pills made by Jarrow Formulas!
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
As mentioned above, the standard American diet is rife with Omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in vegetable/industrial oils, grain-fed meat, and other processed foods. These can be damaging because when the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is too high (you should aim for 3:1, but the standard American diet is usually around 6:1), it can cause inflammation and cell degeneration. This can cause acne flare-ups, as well as even worse issues, like heart disease and cholesterol problems. That’s why supplementing with an Omega-3 supplement can be so important!
When the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids is too high, it can cause inflammation and cell degeneration.
One of the easiest ways to get a hefty dose is through fish oil (my favorite is the Carlson brand cod liver oil, which comes in different flavors, and provides more liver benefits), however if you’re vegan, you may want to consider a flaxseed supplement, or you could get a two-for-one with Evening Primrose Oil!
5. Hum Nutrition Daily Cleanse
Our bodies are very adept at detoxifying themselves – that’s our liver’s primary job. However, they work best under ideal conditions – good nutrition, proper rest, ample hydration, and toxins (like alcohol, pollutants, impure/industrialized and processed foods) in moderation. If you’re worried any of those areas could be out of balance for you, you may want to consider a detoxifying supplement, like our editor’s favorite – the Hum Nutrition Daily Cleanse – which many say helps with acne!
This mineral is essential in the fight against acne, because it's a fantastic anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, breaks down a chemical that encourages our skin to produce sebum when we’re stressed, and reduces production of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which causes our pores to clog! It's also said to help improve our metabolism – another great multi-tasker!
This may seem counter-intuitive to those of us who’ve had a dermatologist prescribe antibiotics to cure acne, but as research on gut bacteria has grown more popular, many have noticed that a healthier gut, encouraged by probiotics and healthy bacteria, helps our bodies digest food better and absorb all the rest of the supplements and nutrients in our food. Probiotics are also another anti-inflammatory supplement, so yet another multi-beneficial addition to your nutrition routine!
A healthy gut, encouraged by probiotics and healthy bacteria, helps our bodies better digest food and absorb nutrients.
While probiotics occur naturally in foods like yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and kombucha, you can get a bigger dose from probiotic pills. One of my favorite things (especially before and after getting on a plane to avoid getting sick) is BioK, which is basically a probiotic shot that comes in a variety of options (dairy, dairy-free, and different flavors), and gives a large dose all at once!
The great thing about these supplements is that they're a natural (or mostly-natural) way to improve your skin health from within, with many of them providing different benefits that help your overall well-being at the same time! Any investment in health and healthy skin is not wasted!