Although most people associate acne with the troublesome teenage years, it can erupt at any age. Indeed up to 8% of those who had clear skin in their youth develop acne as adults. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to control outbreaks - no matter how old you are when they occur.

What it is
Spots and other eruptions are the hallmarks of acne, a sometimes chronic condition of the face back chest neck shoulders and other areas of the body. The most common form (acne vulgaris) encompasses blackheads, whiteheads, and raised red blemishes with semisolid centres In severe cases (cystic acne) clusters of painful fluid filled cysts or firm, painless lumps appear beneath the skin's surface; both can lead to unsightly permanent pitting and scarring. For teenagers especially, acne can be an embarrassing and emotionally difficult condition

• Hard red bumps or pus-filled lesions on the skin.
• Red, inflamed skin with fluid-filled lumps or cysts

What causes it
Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands at the base of the hair follicles of the skin secrete too much sebum. This thick, oily substance is normally released from the pores to keep the skin lubricated and healthy. If the sebum backs up, it can form hard plugs, or comedos, that block the pores and cause spots. Should one of these oil plugs rupture beneath the skin's surface, a localised bacterial infection can develop.

Hormonal imbalances can lead to an overproduction of sebum - a common problem during adolescence, especially in boys. In women, menstrual periods or pregnancy can also create acne-producing hormonal disturbances. Other acne triggers include emotional stress; the friction or rubbing or clothing against the skin; and certain medications, particularly steroids, contraceptives or drugs that affect hormone levels. Heredity may play a role as well.

Contrary to popular belief, acne is probably not caused by eating chocolate, shellfish, nuts or fatty snacks or by drinking colas. However, some doctors - and patients - contend that acne can be brought on or aggravated by certain foods or food allergies.

How supplements can help
Most people will benefit from trying all the supplements recommended in the chart; they can be safely combined. It often takes three to four weeks, or longer, to notice results. All can be used long term.

Vitamin B6 may be useful for acne aggravated by menstrual cycles or the menopause. Vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium promote a healthy immune system, helping to keep acne-causing bacteria in check. Taken with any or all of these vitamins, Zinc enhances immune function, reduces inflammation and promotes healthy hormone levels. Long-term use of zinc inhibits copper absorption, so it should be taken with that mineral. It may help to take zinc together with omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids, found in margarine, vegetable oil and many processed foods, tend to predominate in the modern diet, and a correct balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids helps to reduce inflammation.

Vitex, also known as chasteberry, is traditionally used to help with the treatment of menstruation-related acne. Other herbal remedies that are traditionally used for the treatment of acne include burdock, yellow dock, red clover and echinacea. Evening primrose oil may be used when the lesions are disappearing. It should not be used during acute flare-ups.

All of these supplements can be used long term, as well as in conjunction with conventional medications.

Vitamin B6

Dosage: 50 mg each morning.
Advice: long-term intake of this amount of vitamin B6 may lead to mild tingling and numbness.

Vitamin C

Dosage: 500 mg twice a day.
Advice: reduce dose if diarrhoea develops

Vitamin E

Dosage: 400 iu a day.
Advice: consult a doctor if you take anticoagulant drugs.


Dosage: 200 pg a day.
Advice: in the form of Seleno-L-Methionine


Dosage: 15 mg twice a day.
Advice: supplementation with 30 mg or more of zinc should be accompanied by 2 mg copper.

Vitex Agnus-Castus (Chasteberry)

Dosage: 100 mg standardised extract once a day.
Advice: often used for premenstrual acne.

Evening Primrose Oil

Dosage: 1000 mg twice a day.
Advice: do not take during acute flare-ups. Often useful when lesions are resolving.

Note: consider using supplements in red first; those in blue may also be beneficial.
Some dosages may be supplied by supplements you are already taking.


When evaluated by a group of physicians in one study, patients with acne who received 30 mg of zinc daily for two months had clearer complexions than those in a control group who had received a placebo. In another study, zinc produced results equal to those of the antibiotic tetracycline. But not many dermatologists have embraced zinc supplements because other research has failed to show that this mineral has any benefits to offer against acne.

Holding the receiver of a telephone too tightly against your skin can cause acne to break out above your ear or along the side of your chin.

• Fighting acne with natural supplements may be an attractive option for women of childbearing age, most of whom cannot take the powerful prescription drug isotretinoin (a derivative of vitamin A) because it may cause birth defects.

• A 5% solution of topical tea tree oil is as effective as, but gentler than, 5% benzoyl peroxide for drying up mild acne blemishes, according to a study conducted in Australia. Higher doses, containing up to 15% tea tree oil, may be helpful for more severe cases of acne.

What else you can do

  • Wash daily, using ordinary soap and water.
  • Eat a balanced diet; avoid foods you feel may act as acne triggers.
  • Choose cosmetics labelled 'noncomedogenic' or oil-free'.
  • Avoid squeezing spots; it increases inflammation and can cause scarring.


• If acne does not respond to self-care within three months.
• If severe acne develops; fluid-filled lumps, red or purple inflammation, cysts or hard nodules under the skin.
• If skin is continually red and flushed, even if no spots actually appear.

REMINDER- If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor before taking supplements

Based on 'The Practitioner's Guide to Supplements'. This 416 paged book is packed with information covering over 70 popular supplements and more than 90 common disorders. PLUS 400 photographs and charts. RRP £24.99.

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Pure Evening Primrose Oil 1000mg

Lamberts® supplies a wide range of Evening Primrose supplements and this is one of our most popular. Each capsule provides a high quality oil specially selected for its purity and consistent GLA level, and each capsule also provides the full RDA of vitamin E.

Price: 9.13
Vitamin B6 50mg

Involved in more processes in the body than any other B vitamin
This supplement is made in the UK to pharmaceutical GMP standards and each tablet provides a full 50mg of Vitamin B6.

Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is probably involved in more processes in the body than any other B vitamin. It is known to contribute to normal psychological function, the normal function of the immune system, the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and to normal homocysteine metabolism. Vitamin B6 is also well known for the role it plays in the regulation of hormonal activity.

Price: 3.63
Time Release Vitamin C 500mg

With Bioflavonoids and Rose Hips
These tablets are specially formulated to release the vitamin C gradually over 6-8 hours after swallowing, which means that the absorption of vitamin C into the bloodstream also occurs gradually. This is believed to create a more stable level of vitamin C in the blood for a longer period.

Lamberts® Time Release Vitamin C 500mg tablets also contain a relevant level of bioflavonoids, and are a popular choice with anyone who prefers smaller tablets.

Vitamin C contributes to normal collagen formation for the regular function of cartilage, the tough tissue that lines the surfaces of joints. Vitamin C also contributes to the normal function of the immune system and to the protection of cells from oxidative stress caused by ‘free radicals’


Price: 5.80
Pack Size: 100 tabs (vegetarian), 250 tabs (vegetarian)
Natural Vitamin E 400iu

Vitamin E in its natural form (as d-alpha Tocopherol)
Current research suggests that a daily intake of 400iu is a sensible level. However, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to get this level from a typical diet. For example, 0.45kg (1 lb) of sunflower seeds are needed to obtain 400iu of vitamin E.

This is our most popular strength vitamin E supplement. All Lamberts® vitamin E products are manufactured in the UK in premises that operate to stringent pharmaceutical standards of GMP. Our vitamin E is extracted from a natural vegetable oil and supplied in gelatin free capsules.

Lamberts® uses the natural form of vitamin E called d-alpha tocopherol, as this is the form in which it occurs in foods. Research shows that natural vitamin E has a higher biological activity, and is absorbed and retained more readily by the body than the cheaper synthetic vitamin E (dl-alpha tocopherol).

Vitamin E contributes to the protection of the body’s cells from oxidative stress caused by reactive compounds called ‘free radicals’ and this protective role has put vitamin E at the centre of worldwide research.

Price: 24.14
Citricidal Liquid 100ml

Grapefruit seed extract
Use diluted Grapefruit seed extract to gargle or consume a few drops in water or juice. Also use as a mouthwash, facial and nail cleanser, skin rinse and household cleanser. Ideal for travelling. Grapefruit seed extract is a natural cleanser wherever there is a need.

Price: 20.83
Oy! Foaming Anti-bac Face Wash

2010 Natural Health Beauty Awards - Highly Commended

Organic Young range - Oy!
Oy! is a range of funky products for young skin, all chosen for their punch in the fight for a great complexion. Using pure, natural and organic ingredients to fight bacteria and to nourish young skin.


  • Thoroughly cleanse your pores with this daily antibacterial face wash for guys & dolls
  • Promotes a blemish-free complexion - knocks the spots off the rest!
  • Contains Willow Bark to reduce inflammation & kill bacteria
  • Tea Tree extract provides an antibacterial element to help control bacteria on the skin
  • Contains Omega 3&6 to feed your skin nutrients & Green Tea to provide antioxidants
  • Suitable for all skin types, even acne-prone & sensitive skin
  • Suitable for vegetarians & vegans
  • No animal testing
Price: 10.42
Zap & Clear Serum

Instant spot clearing serum with strong antibacterial action.

Price: 10.00
Antiac ACTIV Gel Serum 15ml

The Salcura Antiac ACTIV range is formulated using natural ingredients proven to ease symptoms of acne. Ideal for moderate to severe acne prone skin, when used on an occasional basis in conjunction with the Antiac DAILY range, results can be seen in as little as 4 hours. The range is packed full of omega rich Sea Buckthorn and other natural ingredients such as Rosemary Oil and Aloe.

Price: 8.33
Antiac ACTIV Liquid Spray

The Salcura Antiac Liquid Spray forms part of the ACTIV range and is for occasional use - bringing flare-ups under control. The spray application is ideal for use over a wide area or those more hard to reach patches. We recommend combining the ACTIV range with products from the DAILY range for maximum results - either the Face Wash or the Face Wipes.

Price: 14.16
Antiac DAILY Face Wash 150ml

The Salcura Antiac Face Wash forms part of the DAILY range and is for regular use - maintaining clear skin and reducing light blemishing. For moderate to severe outbreaks we recommend combining the DAILY range with products from the ACTIV range - either the Liquid Spray or the Gel Serum.

Price: 8.33
Antiac DAILY Face Wipes 25 wipes

Rich in natural goodness, this naturally active face wipes are perfect for 'on the go' maintenance of blemish free skin.

The Salcura Antiac DAILY range is formulated using naturally active ingredients that, when used on a regular basis, can help to maintain clear skin. Packed full of omega rich Sea Buckthorn and other natural ingredients such as Rosemary Oil and Aloe.

Price: 5.83
Neem Oil

Neem Oil has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for a wide variety of conditions, from the treatment of leprosy, malaria, TB, as a contraceptive, as well as more mundane conditions such as acne.

Price: 5.83
Salcura DermaSpray™ Intensive

Salcura DermaSpray 'Intensive' has a proven track record and is Salucra's most effective and practical solution for eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea and other related skin conditions.

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Calms and soothes skin
  • Nourishes Skin Cells
  • Contains Omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 that helps rejuvenate skin
Price: 10.62
AllicinMax cream 50ml

When fresh garlic is cut or crushed, a sulphur compound, allicin combines with an enzyme, allinase and a chemical reaction starts. The first compound that is formed is allicin Allicin is described as the 'mother' substance of garlic, which is responsible for the majority of its remarkable properties. AllicinMax Cream is an antiseptic, antifungal cream; ideal for topical application to kill germs or fungus & aid infected areas on the skin.

Price: 8.63
Alliderm Gel 30ml

It is thought that Garlic originated in the Kirgiz Desert in Siberia around 7000 years ago. It was imported into Ancient Egypt to feed the slaves who built the pyramids and to keep them fit and healthy. Since that time garlic has played an important part in almost every civilisation across the globe. When fresh garlic is cut or crushed, a sulphur compound, allicin combines with an enzyme, allinase and a chemical reaction starts. Alliderm Gel (AlliGel) is for topical application (skin surface); it is a soothing and beneficial way of delivering allicin to where it is needed most.

Price: 8.63