Why You Should Cut Back On Your Daily Vitamins When Having A Brutal Breakout

Acne is hardly ever a cause for concern in adulthood, as painful and unsightly as it may be, and there are many causes for these pesky breakouts, including hormone imbalances, stress, and even food sensitivities. Now, if you continue to experience breakouts and the culprit eludes you, even after completely ruling out these factors, then it is time to take a good look at your daily routine. More specifically, take a peek inside your medicine cabinet where you keep your favorite vitamins and supplements because, unfortunately, they may be causing your breakouts.

According to a recent survey conducted by the Council of Responsible Nutrition (CRN), approximately 77% of adults in the United States consume dietary supplements on a regular basis. This survey considered various forms of supplementation, including vitamins, minerals, and herbals. Several acne-causing supplements rank among these top three categories — all commonly found in adult households. Take a look at how these three types of supplements may be spurring your brutal breakouts.

Key vitamins

It is difficult to see vitamins in a negative light, especially when they provide potentially life-saving health benefits for those with vitamin deficiencies. That said, certain vitamins can lead to disruptions in hormone levels and may produce breakouts if you consume more than the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA), per the Natural Acne Clinic. Two of the main acne-causing vitamins include vitamin D and several B vitamins, such as B6, B7 (biotin), and B12. In excessive amounts, these vitamins have been known to induce acne, especially for those with acne-prone skin. 

Vitamin D, for instance, stimulates testosterone which causes excess sebum production (via Healthline). The overproduction of sebum can spark inflammation and clogged pores, which cause breakouts in those with an existing vitamin D deficiency. B12, on the other hand, disrupts an individual's microbiota, which also leads to inflammation and acne, according to a study published in Science Translational Medicine. Excess biotin can also trigger acne, especially if you have oily skin. It appears in beauty supplements, green powders, hair products, and multivitamins, per ClearStem Skincare.

Unless you are critically deficient in these vitamins, it is possible that you consume more than the recommended amount, especially seeing as the average multivitamin includes all of these vitamins. You already absorb vitamins with each meal so, with your daily intake of vitamins, you might be consuming too much — and causing imbalances in your hormones and skin.

Macrominerals and trace minerals

Your body requires a steady supply of calcium, a macromineral, to support regular bodily functions such as maintaining healthy bones and aiding cell-to-cell communication, per MedlinePlus. According to a study published in the journal of Biological Trace Element Research, this major mineral may be linked to acne due to the relationship between calcium supplementation and increased testosterone levels. High levels of testosterone stimulate sebum production, which clogs pores and increases your risk of breaking out.

Trace minerals such as zinc also possess vital health benefits. Many individuals even use zinc capsules or creams to treat acne. For some individuals, however, zinc supplements can cause breakouts due to excess testosterone production (via Healthline). This phenomenon is more common in those with a zinc deficiency,  though, which is why it is essential to discuss the issue with a health professional prior to consuming this supplement, especially if you already take the recommended daily amount, have a zinc deficiency, or if you have pre-existing health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). 

Iodine, another trace mineral, regulates the production of thyroid hormones and also stimulates breakouts in some individuals, according to the National Institutes of Health. In the case of iodine, it is easy to consume more than the daily recommended amount of 150 mcg as this trace mineral also turns up in dairy and soy products, seafood, and salty foods. When consumed in large amounts, iodine disrupts thyroid hormone levels, which can cause acne.

Herbal adaptogens

This may come as a surprise, but your favorite anti-inflammatory adaptogen is likely causing your irritating breakouts. If you've noticed your acne seems to coincide with your supplementation of ashwagandha powder, then think about tossing out your favorite green powders and herbal health supplements. Ashwagandha is a traditional Ayurvedic herb used to treat a variety of symptoms and health conditions. This herb has become increasingly popular in recent years among alternative health communities as it reportedly reduces symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, and arthritis, per a study in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary, and Alternative Medicines. However, the benefits of ashwagandha have yet to be proven within western medicine practices.

That said, this trendy adaptogen has not been directly linked to acne. Ashwagandha is, however, connected to increased levels of testosterone. There is an overall lack of research concerning ashwagandha supplementation, so it is generally recommended that people with pre-existing health conditions or sensitive, acne-prone skin avoid this alternative medicine.

If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: always check your multivitamins and supplement collections for any of these acne-causing vitamins, minerals, and herbal ingredients before adding them to your daily routine. And don't forget to consider the amount of vitamins and minerals you consume through food, on top of your daily intake of multivitamins, herbal remedies, and nutritional powders.