What is the Connection Between Vitamin D and Acne?

Elva K.

Although sometimes overlooked, there is direct linkage between vitamin D and acne. Getting enough vitamin D helps resolve cases of acne. It does this because vitamin D makes the body and skin much healthier overall.

Vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D supplements.

In the 1930s, dermatologist Aierlin Maynard M.D. figured out the connection between vitamin D and acne. He gave UV therapy to acne patients. UV therapy resulted in vitamin D. In terms of dosage, he gave patients 10,000 international units (IU) a day. He was very impressed with how there were improvements in the acne patients so he continued treatment.

A close up of acne.
A close up of acne.

Maynard said that the acne patients improved in both their appearance and well-being. Granted, he did no formal studies. On the other hand, he reported 83 cases which improved as a result of the treatment he used.

Vitamin D has been noted to be helpful in the healing of acne due to its specific action in the body. When vitamin D reaches the level of the skin, it improves collagen production. Also, it improves kidney function and helps control growth of the skin's cells which helps prevent acne and leads to self-healing and healthier skin.

The sun provides a potent vitamin D source. Reportedly, 10 minutes of sun per day can provide a person with the vitamin D amount required to enable healthy skin and prevention of acne. UV rays from the sun could also result in sunburn which can increase the risk for skin cancer, so more time in the sun without sunscreen is not recommended.

Vitamin D ingestion can be very nourishing for the skin as well. Taking vitamin D supplements or eating food that contains vitamin D such as raw milk or cod liver oil can help enable prevention of acne. Also, vitamin D improves skin metabolism and the growth of skin cells. This minimizes the appearance of acne scars already there and helps the skin more quickly repair damage due to acne.

In terms of vitamin D and acne, as to the specific dosage of ingested vitamin D that one should take, that depends on the person. It is important to talk to one's doctor about vitamin D and acne. Ask about the exact vitamin D dosage that should be taken. Also, the issue of whether the vitamin D should be taken alone or as part of a multivitamin is another issue pertaining to vitamin D and acne that should be addressed with one's doctor.

Getting enough vitamin D helps resolve cases of acne.
Getting enough vitamin D helps resolve cases of acne.

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Discussion Comments


@burcinc-- Try and get your vitamin D from food sources and from the sun first. If you are unable to do so, then you should supplement with vitamin D capsules or tablets.

Most of us don't get enough sunlight in winter and that's usually when our acne is worse. Vitamin D is a natural acne treatment. Vitamin D actives a type of white blood cell (macrophages) that attacks bacteria. When there is a lack of vitamin D, macrophages only cause inflammation, they are not able to destroy the bacteria that leads to acne.

If you have a vitamin D lamp, you can benefit from that in winter. Otherwise, try and eat a lot of fish and eggs. Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and eggs are rich in vitamin D. If this is also not possible, take supplements.


This is so interesting. Whenever I go to the beach in the summer, my back acne magically disappears. I always thought that it was the combination of sunlight and salt water. My theory was that these were drying out my skin and killing the bacteria leading to acne. But it makes more sense that it's vitamin D doing all this.

I need to get more sun year-round.


If I want to use vitamin D for acne, should I take vitamin D supplements or just try and get more sun?

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