I recommend an antioxidant supplement for those struggling with moderate to severe forms of inflammatory-type acne. Those with mild or occasional acne can also try, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the supplement had no effect.
Antioxidant supplements neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
I recommend taking one of the following:
- Berberine, 500 to 1000mg/day
- N-Acetylcysteine, 1000 to 1500mg/day
- Silymarin (milk thistle extract), 200mg/day (see the N-Acetylcysteine page for a discussion about silymarin)
I do not recommend that you take more than one antioxidant supplement. You should also stop taking them after your acne clears.
Antioxidants are among the most overhyped and misunderstood supplements. It’s true that free radicals and other oxidants cause damage in the body, and that antioxidants neutralize them. But it’s equally true that free radicals and oxidation are vital survival. The immune system uses free radicals to neutralize bacteria and viruses. Optimal health requires a balance between oxidants and antioxidants. Taking too many antioxidants can push the balance too much to the antioxidant end, which can have serious consequences, including a significantly higher risk of getting cancer and dying.
Anyway, the risks associated with antioxidant supplements go beyond the scope of this article, but I can point you to other articles that cover the issue.
- The Dark Side of Antioxidants – Big Think
- More harm than good? Antioxidants defend cancer in body – New Scientist
- More Trouble for Antioxidants – Science-Based Medicine