Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before taking supplements or medications. All information below is for educational purposes only and not to be taken as medical advice.
I decided to create this site as an informational resource for those suffering with acne. I suffered with cystic acne for 13 years before stumbling upon a lonely forum post online where a man who had tried everything found a cure for his acne in Vitamin D. I had tried so many things that a $10 bottle of vitamin D seemed very reasonable compared to some of the pricey procedures I tried. Two weeks later my acne was cured. It felt like a joke. I was ecstatic that I no longer had to suffer what felt like a life sentence of pain. I remember telling my mom, “wow, my skin is white and not red”. I could actually see what I looked like underneath the infection and inflammation. My face was no longer swollen and misshapen. I also felt ripped off and angry that I was simply vitamin D deficient and that was what was causing me to suffer for over a decade. I told my doctor who said, “who knew!?”. Well, no one apparently. But someone should know. I am writing this blog for personal closure of what was a painful condition, and in hopes that one day doctors won’t have to say “Who Knew?”. There are very little resources online for the Vitamin D and acne relationship and I want to change that.
Here is my story….
I am a 26 year old 120lb female and I live in Canada. I had cystic acne for 13 years that got worse as I was ovulating every month. It appeared to be hormonal acne. My skin and hair were also exceptionally greasy. When I wore makeup it would slide off after a few hours. My nose would look like someone put butter on it. My pores were large and wide open because of all the grease. I would have 4-5 cysts at a time with a nose full of black and white heads, and little bumps along my temples, cheeks, mouth and jaw line. My acne changed a lot over 13 years (when I was a teen I had a lot on my forehead and mostly clear everywhere else), however what remained the same was that is was always there. I never noticed if it would improve in the summer, but looking back on photos, I did have slightly better skin during sunny months.
What happened when I took Vitamin D3….
The main, noticeable effect that Vitamin D3 has on my skin is that it dries it out and reduces the oil on my skin. The first two weeks that I took it, my skin started peeling a lot. I loved it. The peeling made my hyperpigmentation go away faster and if there was a small bump, it would peel right off, rather than growing into a big infected cyst. Within those first two weeks I stopped having new breakouts. After about a month, the peeling slowed down, but my skin stayed clear. I now have clear skin, as long as I keep up my vitamin D intake. My hair is also not uncontrollably greasy anymore. I can wash it every 2 days now, where I used to have to wash it 1-2 times per day and it always looked terribly greasy before washes.
I have been taking about 8000IU of Vitamin D for four years now. I take it with Vitamin K2, Magnesium and Calcium among other supplements.When I first started taking it, I played around with the dosage a lot. I started with 10 000 IU which made my skin as dry as it was on Accutane, so I tried 5000 IU which worked, but not well enough. Eventually I settled on 8000 IU. The first year I started taking it, my body would notice really quickly if I missed a day or two. I would break out right away. Now I can go 4-5 days without taking it before I break out.
Taking Other Supplements
Taking Vitamin D at higher doses did not come without a learning curve. After taking Vitamin D for about 6 months I got magnesium deficiency symptoms including some anxiety, difficulty sleeping, jaw grinding, and heart palpitations. Luckily, I was able to make them go away within a few days by taking Natural Calm Magnesium Citrate. The reason for this is that Vitamin D needs magnesium to be metabolized, so it uses it up. You need to make sure you keep replenishing it otherwise you might get deficient. The next thing that happened was that I was started getting calcium deficiency symptoms. Mainly I found that my hands and feet would “fall asleep” really easily. This would fall under the calcium deficiency symptom of “numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, and face”. I started taking calcium and it went away in a few days. It’s fairly common knowledge that you should take Magnesium with Calcium and after heeding this advice I no longer experienced any deficiencies. I also take Vitamin K2 with my Vitamin D to make sure it works properly. You can read more about why it’s important here.
For more info on recommended Vitamin D intake level, read my Q&A page.