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 take Vitamin D3 to prevent my skin from getting oily, which prevents me from having acne. I had to play around with the dosage a little bit because if I take too much, my skin gets too dry (especially my eyelids). If I don’t take enough, my skin gets oily and I break out. It’s actually a very fine balance for me. I also have to take into account that my skin is much oilier between the end of my period and the time I ovulate, so during that time, I take more Vitamin D3. I take 7000 IU of Vitamin D3 during my oily time of the month and I take 5000IU- 6000IU during my less greasy time of the month. I tried taking between 8000IU-10 000IU and that made my eye lids so dry they started flaking, no amount of moisturizer or vaseline could fix it. So 7000IU is my personal upper limit. At one point I had a doctor scare me that I was taking too much Vitamin D (doctors have a much lower daily recommendation than the Vitamin D Council) so I bumped my dosage down to 3000IU. After about 3-4 days of this lower amount I got two very large new pimples on my cheek. As you can imagine, I went back up to my old dosage after that. I have since gotten Vitamin D blood tests with my doctor which showed I had normal levels of Vitamin D in my blood. For more info on recommended Vitamin D intake level, read my Q&A page.