Chances are you’ve read about antioxidants in the popular media. Antioxidants protect the body against free radicals and other forms of inflammatory damage. Free radicals have been linked to many health problems ranging from heart disease to cancer. A recent review study shows that free radicals may even cause acne, and that treatment with antioxidants can help you to get clear.
What does the science say about free radicals and acne
Dermatologists have long known that acne is an inflammatory skin condition. But emerging research shows that this inflammation may not just be skin deep. Several studies looking at inflammatory status of acne patients reveal that acne patients have more free radicals not only on the skin but also on the blood.
One study, for example, measured hydrogen peroxide production in acne patients and controls with healthy skin. The study found that acne patients produce over 40% more hydrogen peroxide, which is a potent free radical and cause of inflammation. Another study showed that acne severity correlates with free radical activity.
It’s not completely clear why acne patients have more inflammation. One possible reason is has to do with excessive sebum production. Sebum on the skin relies on antioxidants for protection against the elements. With increased sebum production comes also increased demand for antioxidants.
Another possible reason is the higher than normal prevalence of gut issues among acne patients. Gut problems can cause leaky gut, a condition where inflammatory substances leak from the gut into the blood. This further increases the demand for antioxidant protection.
Antioxidants show promise as acne treatments
So if this theory of oxidative damage casing acne is correct then treatment with antioxidants should improve the skin. And this is indeed what preliminary studies are showing.
I have to point out that the data is still very sparse. To date only a handful of studies exist. Zinc is the most studies antioxidant in treatment of acne. Most studies show that 30mg of zinc gluconate a day can cut down inflammatory acne by 30 to 50%. Vitamin B3 and selenium are other promising treatments.
Topical antioxidants have also been studies. A vitamin C precursor s odium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) is especially promising. In some studies it’s been shown to be more effective than benzoyl peroxide and antibiotic creams.
It’s still too early to draw any definitive conclusions about antioxidants and acne. But the research is promising and this oxidative damage theory helps to explain many things about acne, such as why gut issues affect the skin, and why eating allergenic foods triggers acne. Furthermore, given that the low costs and minimal risks in antioxidant treatments, this is definitely something people with persistent acne should try.
For comprehensive explanation and treatment suggestion, please see the original post at AcneEinstien.com: Do Antioxidants Hold The Key To Curing Acne?
- Acne vulgaris: the role of oxidative stress and the potential therapeutic value of local and systemic antioxidants.