The Basics of using Vitamin D for your acne and oily skin

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.

Will Vitamin D cure my acne?
Maybe. Maybe not. Not all acne is caused by vitamin D deficiency but it’s definitely worth a try. Vitamin D is inexpensive and good for your health. There are currently only a few sources of medical literature supporting Vitamin D as a treatment for acne, but many individuals have reported Vitamin D to be a complete cure for their acne and oily skin.

How much Vitamin D should I take?
The Vitamin D Council (a nonprofit organization in California, United States, working to educate the public on vitamin D, sun exposure and health) recommends a daily dose of 5000 IU of Vitamin D3, with an upper daily limit of 10 000 IU. This is higher than what most doctors recommend, which can be a source of frustration for patients who are looking to use higher doses of vitamin D for health benefits. Patients may be told by their doctors that 5000IU of D3 per day is too much even when they are seeing therapeutic results from taking this amount. Vitamin D daily intake recommendations are constantly being debated with the Vitamin D council pushing for higher limits.

Can I overdose on Vitamin D?
Yes, you can overdose on Vitamin D by taking too many supplements. Your body has it’s own mechanism to limit vitamin D levels through sun exposure, but that mechanism is bypassed when you take supplements.

The following information about Vitamin D toxicity is taken from the Vitamin D Council website:

Possible symptoms of toxicity include:
feeling sick or being sick
poor appetite or loss of appetite
feeling very thirsty
passing urine often
constipation or diarrhea
abdominal pain
muscle weakness or pain
feeling confused
feeling tired

Very high levels of 25(OH)D can develop if you: Take more than 10,000 IU/day (but not equal to) everyday for 3 months or more. However, vitamin D toxicity is more likely to develop if you take 40,000 IU/day everyday for 3 months or more. Take more than 300,000 IU in a 24 hour period. For more information on Vitamin D toxicity, read the resource provided by the Vitamin D Council.

Other ways to prevent vitamin D overdose are to get your vitamin D source from than sun instead of from supplements, because your skin prevents you from overdosing on vitamin D from the sun. You can also get Vitamin D blood work done to make sure your levels are within safe limits.

What if Vitamin D3 is not curing my acne?
This could be for one these reasons:

  • Vitamin D deficiency is not the cause (or only cause) of your acne.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of your acne but you are not taking enough Vitamin D daily. (Be careful not to overdose)
  • Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of your acne but you have not taken it for a long enough period.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of your acne but you are not reacting well to the supplement. Your body may be having a negative reaction to the supplements or you may not be absorbing the vitamins if you have a digestive disease. If you are allergic to wool or fish, you may have a bad reaction to Vitamin D3 pills.
  • The supplements you are taking are expired or have lost their potency.

Should I take other supplements when taking Vitamin D3?
Yes, it is recommended that you take Vitamin K2 supplements while taking Vitamin D3. Together the Vitamin K2 works with the Vitamin D3 to move calcium into your bones. Without Vitamin K2, the Vitamin D3 may mobilize the calcium into your arteries where it gets deposited, instead of into your bones. This can cause serious health problems. For more information on Vitamin K2 and how much to take, the Mercola website is a good resource.

You should also take Magnesium and Calcium as taking higher levels of Vitamin D can use up these minerals in your body.


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I cured my chronic cystic acne using Vitamin D then wrote a blog about it.

21 thoughts on “The Basics of using Vitamin D for your acne and oily skin”

  1. I am 17 I am struggling with a oily skin issue . what could be a best vitamin d supplement brand I should buy and how much ui it should be for first time user and much should I take a vitamin d a day


    1. Hey Gurshaan,

      I am not a doctor and can’t give medical advice, I can only share educational info. I can also share my experience: I’ve used Jamieson Vitamin D3 supplements and they work to keep my skin clear. When you go to the store make sure you are buying Vitamin D3 and NOT Vitamin D2. The Vitamin D council says adults should take 5000 IU daily. (more info here: If this ends up working for you and you decide to take Vitamin D3 long term, you should take Vitamin K2 with your Vitamin D3 to prevent artery calcification.


    1. Hi Tristine,

      ((Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, this information is educational and not meant to be taken as medical advice.))

      I’ve never tried this brand. I would probably try to get separate Vitamin D and K2 so you can control how much you are getting of each. According to the Mercola website, you can’t overdose on K2, but the average person only needs 200 to 280 micrograms. Personally I would buy k2 separately so I could get that recommended amount of K2, then buy D3 so I can take as much I need of the D3.

      I’ve tried a few different brands of Vitamin D3. They’ve all seemed to work just fine except the oil/gel capsules. They seemed to have low potency. I’ve heard that they can spoil quickly. So I would say stick with the white tablets. I can’t tell if link you sent me is gel/oil caps or white tablets.


      1. Ok thanks right now I’ve just been taking vitamin C, A, and Zinc to see if it can help with my acne. I don’t have a lot of breakout outs but I get the cystic acne that sticks around forever. I did go on Accutane once and that helped. Eventually I may try D3. I’m just afraid of the possibility of calcification and there’s not much info on how much k3 a person should take. But thats good to know you cant “overdose” on it. Im about 123lbs and figured I’d try 4000iu of D3 and maybe 100 to 150mcg of k2.


      2. Yeah I took Accutane for 3 weeks and it helped me while I was on it, but I had to stop because of serious side effects. It all came back a few weeks after I stopped though. You should just get blood tested to check your calcium levels if you are worried. Best of luck 🙂


  2. I’ve tried many kinds of Vitamin D3 supplements, good brands, too. They worsened my acne and oiliness.

    But since finding that some other supplements in oil-based softgels also aggravated in the same way, I sought to find a “hypoallergenic” D3 supplement.

    I found “Pure Encapsulations” brand, hypoallergenic and it works great at raising my blood levels of D3!

    I was on 5,000 to 10,000 IU D3, and getting blood levels checked.

    I’ve been off it since about Summer of last year, after going on a special multi-vit/multi-min product with 3,000 IU and unfortunately it has only kept me at 36ng/ml. <. (I do best at top of range.). So I’ve been having some acne, oiliness, bone pain, muscle aches, fatigue, foggy head.

    I have read from others that low (or not optimal) D3 levels can affect eczema, food/mold/environmental allergies, asthma, colds, GERD, mental issues, etc. After they brought their levels up, people were either cleared of the ailment or doing very well (the latter probably need a higher level.)

    It will be great to see if some of these same issues improve as I up my levels again.

    BTW: the Vitamin D Council website lists some online places that you can order a blood spot test (mail back) to check your blood levels of Vitamin D. You can do without insurance.

    Also note that Medicare will cover four Vitamin D tests a year, if written as “vitamin D deficiency.” Just ask for it every 3 months.


  3. Hi,

    I also meant to add:

    Medscape says:
    Of taking Vitamin D3, this will occur after 2-3 months…

    1000 IU per day increases vitamin D blood levels 10 ng/ml (25 nmol/L).

    And D3 comes in higher strengths for those that need it, such as 5,000 IU and 10,000 IU. And probably higher in professional brands.


    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, I’m glad you were able to eventually get rid of your acne. I think supplements depend on where you live. In Ontario, and maybe all of Canada, you can only purchase 1000IU supplements. Also, I think Ontario health coverage does not put a limit on Vitamin D tests. So everyone needs to check their own health coverage wherever they live. I’m glad I’ve found someone else who needs “higher” levels of Vitamin D. I thought there was something wrong with me when I took “lower” doses (ie. 4000 IU) and immediately started getting acne again. Maybe I’m not the only one. I’ve also noticed that I don’t need to take naps during the day anymore, I have better energy levels 🙂


  4. Hi again,

    I have great news to share!

    My doctor had run the Vitamin D test through Quest Diagnostics in late February 2015. This is the best lab we have in NorthEast USA given their high reliability.

    Soon after, I ordered the ZRT blood spot test, which I did at home myself and mailed back to their place. I wanted to compare it to Quest as I wondered about the reliably of this method….wanting to know if I should recommend it and to know if I could rely on it for future testing if I resorted to it.

    It turns out the results were the SAME as Quest! So the blood spot test IS accurate (at least for Vitamin D.)

    Great news for those without insurance or trouble getting it from their doctor.

    As a side note, I suspect another reason I’m low on D is because I have to avoid dairy due to a sensitivity; I have digestion issues; probably not getting enough healthy fats; and not getting much UVB rays at the winter-sun-angle. There are plenty other ideas out there, too.

    Interesting to note, the assistant at my ENT doctor office told me she uses tanning beds to greatly help her eczema. This makes sense because many have found the sunlight UVB rays help skin conditions, probably because UVB rays increase Vitamin D levels in your body. She could just do what the author of this blog does — take Vitamin D supplements!



  5. Let’s me start with my acne history, I had no to mild acne issue all my life. Last winter, all of sudden my acne issue accelerated. So bad that I started having 2 new painful acne every day. I tried everything, those products reduced the size of acne but could prevent it. As I was researching abt acne I bumped into this blog and learned that VitD could be the cause of the acne. Went to the doctor to get my vitamin D level checked, guess what, I had very low count of vitamin D. No wonder I was feeling so low all the time with crazy mood swings. My doctor recommended 50k ui twice a week. Miracle.. No new acne. My skin started glowing again!! I also take daily one multivitamin. A big thank u to ur blog n Google.


  6. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! My 15 year-old daughter struggles with moderate acne. She has also been extra tired lately. My sister-in-law has been talking about D3 for years to help overall health. My husband and I take D3 5000 IU softgels, but I think I will try the hard pills you mentioned for my daughter. Do you recommend a certain brand of K2?


  7. Hi! I figured I’d share my experience because I am always looking to read peoples experiences. Growing up, I had no acne issues and really clear skin. I turned 21 and bam- cystic acne. The most painful thing I have ever experienced. I tried several oral prescriptions and so many topical creams but nothing worked. I cut dairy and meat out and completely altered my diet. Finally, after four years of trying to get rid of it, I turned to Accutane (something I didn’t want to do because of how toxic it is to the body, especially being a female). I was put on a pretty high dose (40mg twice a day) at 100lbs. The side effects were so terrible I would skip taking my dose some days..body aches, headaches, dry skin, nausea and lots of vomiting, fatigue, severe depression, loss of appetite and more. I took it for four months and finally gave up on it. My skin had cleared of cystic acne but I couldn’t torture my body any longer. I’ve been off of it for six months. I had to go to the doctor because I kept getting sick, which was the result of having a very low vitamin D level. I was placed on a prescription of 50k units once a week for five weeks. I took my last dose two weeks ago, and I have a cyst on my face. Needless to say, I think this is because of low vitamin D levels.


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