Is There a Simple Acne Pill?
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just pop a pill and make your acne go away. Some products promise just that, but as the advertising usually says, “your results may vary.” Let’s take a look at some of the most popular acne pills and how they work.
- Acne pills offer nutritional supplements and herbs for acne skin care.
- Vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, often makes a real difference in treating acne. But you can get it for less than US $10 for a 30-day supply.
- There are several botanicals that help resolve acne, but you use them on your skin, you don’t take them in the form of a pill.
- Any product that fights “toxins” is probably a rip-off. Acne is not caused by toxins.
- You will get better results from treating your skin from the outside with a collection of skin care products such as Exposed Skin Care.
The Acnepril acne pill promises a comprehensive approach to the causes of acne. Makers of the pill say it eliminates toxins. It provides essential vitamins and nutrients. And it provides a powerful antioxidant blend plus witch hazel to firm up your skin, all without benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid and for as little as $79.99 a bottle.
Wow! That’s a lot of healing in a single product! It seems almost too good to be true!
And it is. For starters, the “toxins” that cause acne are inflammatory chemicals generated by the immune system itself, and they are generated in the skin1. If you want to neutralize the toxins on your skin, you can apply the product directly to your skin.
As for skin nutrients, there is a B-vitamin (niacin) deficiency disease called pellagra that can cause skin problems2 that are much worse than acne. However, if you eat any kind of processed food in the USA, you get far more of this B-vitamin than you need. Niacin is added to any product that contains white flour. And you have to have both exposure to a fungus and the niacin deficiency to get this condition that nobody would confuse with acne.
What about antioxidants, then? Green tea is a great antioxidant for the skin3. It helps shrink the glands that make sebum so pores never get clogged in the first place. But to get the best benefit, you apply green tea extracts to your skin.
Acnepril does not seem like a good value for US $79.99. But it’s not the only acne pill on the market.
The Orovo Acne Pill
For just US $59.99, the Orovo Acne Pill promises to fight acne both inside and out. You don’t have rub the acne pills on your face. Orovo also sends you an exfoliating cleanser you can use in your daily skin care routine. But does it work?
The main ingredient in the Orovo Acne Pill is “pantothen,” which is their nickname for pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5. There is good reason for using vitamin B5 in skin care4. This B vitamin helps the skin form fibers that make it stronger with fewer layers. The fewer layers there are in the skin, the easier it is for pores to drain. (The manufacturer’s explanation that pantothenic acid is essential to the formation of coenzyme A5 and that coenzyme A is essential for the metabolism of fat really doesn’t explain any actual benefit for the skin.)
The Orovo Acne pill also contains L-carnitine, which does not do anything that harms or helps the skin.
So why not plunk down your $59.99 for Orovo Acne Pills? The main reason is that you can get vitamin B5 for about $55 a bottle less and it will work just as well. And there are also better skin cleansers.
With a name that sounds like an antibiotic, Acneticin promises to treat blotching, itchiness, and infected pimples. It promises to treat blackheads, zits, and persistent pimples, all from the “cellular level” of your skin6.
Acneticin contains7 about 5000% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin B5, the same ingredient found in Orovo, plus about 333% of the RDI of another B vitamin, biotin. It also contains modest amounts of8 vitamin A and vitamin C plus a variety of botanical ingredients9. (Most companies add botanical ingredients in various amounts to their formulas so that they cannot be sued for patent infringement by the makers of competing brands. Buyers for retail chains may also insist that certain ingredients by listed on the side of the bottle.)
The main botanical ingredient in Acneticin is dandelion10. The makers of Acneticin correctly claim that dandelion greens contain more calcium than spinach. Still, since there is only 225 mg of dandelion in the recommended four capsules per day, even if dandelion were 100% calcium you could only get 225 mg of calcium per day, about 20% of what your body needs—and calcium has no special role in fighting acne.
The makers of Acneticin also claim that dandelion is a diuretic, which it is, and that this diuretic acid helps eliminate toxins at a cellular level11, which it doesn’t. All a diuretic does is to increase urination. Cells don’t urinate. A diuretic does not magically draw toxins out of cells.
This product won’t hurt your skin, and the vitamin B5 might even help your skin. You could get an equivalent dosage of the active ingredient at any health products store for about US $3 for 30 capsules.
Many acne products websites list Acnezine among their pills for acne. Actually, it is not a pill. It is a 5% benzoyl peroxide gel you can put on your skin to kill acne bacteria12. It definitely will kill acne bacteria, but the overwhelming majority of users of this strength of benzoyl peroxide find skin irritation unacceptable and stop using the product.
The Bottom Line on Acne Pills
There are no nutritional supplements that are especially helpful treating acne. If you happen to be deficient in a particular nutrient, you will have deficiency symptoms other than acne. It’s fine to take nutritional supplements—but it is usually a mistake to pay more than US $10 to $30 for a month’s supply.
Acne pills don’t cure acne—but acne systems often do. For a collection of acne care products offered with a one-year money-back guarantee, consider Exposed Skin Care.
- Dreno B, Gollnick HP, Kang S, Thiboutot D, Bettoli V, Torres V, Leyden J; Global Alliance to Improve Outcomes in Acne. Understanding innate immunity and inflammation in acne: implications for management. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2015 Jun;29 Suppl 4:3-11.
- Gupta SK, Arora AK, Sood N, Kaur S. Pellgra revisited. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2014 Oct-Dec;5(4):525-6.
- Peluso I, Serafini M. Antioxidants from black and green tea: from dietary modulation of oxidative stress to pharmacological mechanisms. Br J Pharmacol. 2017 Jun;174(11):1195-1208.
- Yang M, Moclair B, Hatcher V, Kaminetsky J, Mekas M, Chapas A, Capodice J. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a novel pantothenic Acid-based dietary supplement in subjects with mild to moderate facial acne. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 4(1):93-101.
- Tahiliani AG. Beinlich CJ. Pantothenic acid in health and disease. Vitam Horm. 1991;46:165-228.
- Vaxman F. Olender S, Lambert A, Nisand G, Aprahamian M, Bruch JF, Didier E, Volkmar P, Grenier JF. Effect of pantothenic acid and ascorbic acid supplementation on human skin wound healing process. A double-blind, prospective and randomized trial. Eur Surg Res. 1995;27(3):158-66.
- Kotori MG. Low-dose Vitamin “A” Tablets-treatment of Acne Vulgaris. Med Arch. 2015 Feb;69(1):28-30.
- Al-Niaimi F, Chiang NYZ. Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Jul;10(7):14-17.
- Yang Y, Li S. Dandelion Extracts Protect Human Skin Fibroblasts from UVB Damage and Cellular Senescence. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2015;2015:619560.
- D Patel, Dr. S Shah, Dr. N Shah. A Review on Herbal Drugs Acting Against Acne Vulgaris. JPSBR: Volume 5, Issue 2: 2015 (165-171).
- González-Castejón M, Visioli F, Rodriguez-Casado A. Diverse biological activities of dandelion. Nutr Rev. 2012 Sep;70(9):534-47.
- Kawashima M, Sato S, Furukawa F, Matsunaga K, Akamatsu H, Igarashi A, Tsunemi Y, Hayashi N, Yamamoto Y, Nagare T, Katsuramaki T. Twelve-week, multicenter, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group, comparative phase II/III study of benzoyl peroxide gel in patients with acne vulgaris: A secondary publication. J Dermatol. 2017 Jul;44(7):774-782.
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