After 22 years of suffering from extremely oily skin and acne I have finally found what I believe is my own personal cure. It's been a very long road to get here and I still can't quite believe it, but Vitamin D supplements have COMPLETELY eliminated my super oily skin and acne. I'm not talking a little bit here, not a 50% or even 90% reduction. I'm talking 100%. I still can't get over it having suffered for so long.
I know some of you aren't going to believe what I just said or what I am about to explain. I would have my doubts too if I were reading this just a few months ago, but I am 100% telling the truth of my own personal experience. So here I go...
I am a male, now in my late 30's and have suffered with excessively oily skin (way way way too much sebum) and severe acne since puberty around 14yo. I have taken EVERYTHING over the years. This gets said a lot around here by 16-18 year old acne sufferers, and I can certainly sympathize, but trust me when I say I have had over 20 years of experience trying EVERYTHING from prescription meds to over the counter topicals to various supplements. I have tried every systemic and topical antibiotic prescription known for acne. I have tried every topical retinoid. I have been on 3 courses of Accutane. I have been on doctor prescribed very high doses of Vitamin A (a safe aqueous form) after my 1st course of accutane when my acne flared back up after treatment. I have tried and used many of the over the counter washes, scrubs, masks with BP, salicylic acid, tee tree, etc. over the years. Fed up with prescription meds that never fully worked (or in the case of Accutane worked only while on them), over the last few years I have also tried various supplements, including fish oil, cod liver oil, B5, vitamin B multivitamins, antioxidant multivitamins, borage oil, and others.
About 4 weeks ago I began supplementing with Vitamin D3 1000IU. Why? Well a year ago I got a blood test done showing my Vitamin D level was low. It was a 19 which is considered quite deficient (normal I think is 50-70; reference values have been upped recently). At the time my doctor prescribed Vitamin D over a 3 month period but at the time I saw no results so stopped after 2 months (this was to try resolving fatigue not acne anyway). But this winter I started reading up on Vitamin D again as my fatigue was increasing again and came to find out that the Vitamin D that is prescribed via a pharmacy is of the D2 form which some studies have now shown is ineffective in vivo. So I decided to start taking over the counter Vitamin D (in the D3 form), like I said about 4 weeks ago. Again, the intent was to possibly help with fatigue and perhaps immune support, not necessarily help with my oily skin or acne. But to my amazement, about one week in I began to see significant reduction in sebum on my skin. By week two my skin had become COMPLETELY normalized. I can't even believe I am saying that after so many years of super oily skin. The only medication capable of doing that for me is Accutane (isotretinoin). Nothing else could reduce or control sebum production for me. Not prescriptions or supplements of any kind, even B5. Remember I'm a male, so there is no other option other than Accutane for us males like BC or Spiro to try and normalize hormones/oily skin.
After taking Vitamin D for 4 weeks now my skin is tighter, smoother, looks normal, and I haven't had a new pimple of any kind surface in 2 weeks which for me is nothing short of a miracle. Most amazingly is my oily skin is completely gone and hence why I'm confident this is going to work long term for me. In fact the results, both sebum and acne elimination, are just as good if not better than Accutane (Accutane can be super drying in normal doses and can affect wound healing).
I was going to wait 3-6 months to tell my story because I know there will be naysayers that say 4 weeks isn't long enough to judge long term efficiency, or maybe this is just an anomaly, or something like that. But after 22 years I have more than enough experience with my oily skin and acne to know that this is a fundamental change in my skin that I have never seen before (other than again with Accutane usage). So I just couldn't wait that long to post. I felt compelled to do so today in the hopes that my experience might help some others right now, not months from now.
So anyway, completely amazed by this result I have experienced with Vit D I have been doing quite a bit of research online about it and the more I research the more things make sense of how this is affecting my skin. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and was mislabeled a long time ago as a vitamin because at the time researches didn't realize the body (skin) can actually produce vitamin D. In a strict sense, vitamins must be supplied by diet, while hormones are produced in the body. Now, we all know acne is a result of what is most likely an imbalance of hormones in the body. This is why it is very rare for pre-pubescents to have acne, their pubertal hormones haven't kicked in yet which is when most acne first appears.
"Vitamin" D, being a HORMONE needed in vital bodily functions, can be one of those hormones that is deficient. Vitamin D is produced via UV light action on the skin. In fact, it is produced in the oily cells (sebocytes) in the skin. Interesting but slight gross side note - I read somewhere that dogs and cats actually get their Vitamin D intake from licking the sebum on their face and hair follicles where the vitamin D is created (their skin cannot directly absorb the vitamin D through the skin). Apparently (and luckily for most humans) human skin can directly absorb vitamin D on the skin .
So I've been pondering, perhaps very oily skin (and associated acne) is a negative feedback of low vitamin D levels in the body. With lower and lower Vitamin D in the body, the skin produces more and more sebum in efforts to create more Vitamin D to bring the body in balance. Perhaps those like myself who have consistently super oily skin have an impairment in the ability to create or absorb Vitamin D in the skin. (I don't really see a reduction in oil during the summer when I get a fair amount of sun). For me, perhaps the only way to increase my vitamin D levels is not through sun exposure but through supplementation. There are very few sources of foods with sufficient levels of vitamin D so the only way to get it in sufficient amounts is through vitamin supplements.
In my research I also found out that Vitamin D will bind to some of the same skin cell receptors as certain forms of Retinoic Acid (one of the metabolites of Accutane). I believe this is likely why Accutane works in a similar fashion (normalizes sebum production) by binding to the same Vitamin D and related receptors in the skin. Now this is my own hypothesis here, but perhaps when those receptors have vitamin D or retinoic acid bound to them, they in essence tell the skin they have enough Vitamin D and not to produce any more sebum. Perhaps Accutane works by substituting for and mimicking Vitamin D in the skin . This could possibly explain some of the side affects of Accutane like bone and joint pain which can be a symptom of Vitamin D deficiency (accutane thereby exacerbating the Vit D deficiency). I could go on about this but this is getting a bit tangential to the subject.
Anyways, I am completely beside myself that Vitamin D has worked better than anything else out there, and that I have suffered with acne for so long due to what appears to be a simple Vit D deficiency. I really implore others to try this too. It is cheap and easy to do with no side effects. The amount I am taking is 1000IU and is considered a relatively low and completely safe dose. I am not going to state this is the cure for everyone as I am a case study of one right now (although I have read here and on other websites others having great results with Vit D as well). But if you have very oily skin, especially into adulthood, I would give vitamin D3 a try.
Not that I think it matters, but in light of full disclosure, I am taking "Natures Made" Vitamin D(3) 1000IU tablets once a day. I don't think the brand will matter so much, just make sure it is Vitamin D3 and not D2. I am also taking Safeway brand Vitamin C 500mg tablets at the same time (this is your generic ascorbic acid Vit C). Note these are run of the mill vitamin brands, not anything special. It's possible the Vitamin C is adding a synergistic affect to the Vit D; I really don't know. But I do know Vitamin C alone hasn't done squat for me over the years that I have taken it so Vitamin C alone isn't causing the amazing results I'm seeing. (I am taking Vitamin C for immune support). These are the only two supplements I am currently taking. I have dropped all topicals other than washing my face in the morning and night and have just begun moisturizing at night with Aloe Vera Gel.
I'm hoping others will try this as perhaps this might be the solution for them as well. I'd be more than happy to answer anyone's questions.
Edited by SebumSucks, 21 January 2013 - 05:52 PM.