If you have acne, you’re probably already familiar with the bajillion different treatment options available out there for it. Perhaps your dermatologist has prescribed a battery of medicines. Or maybe you’ve Googled the heck out of it on your own to see if you could finally treat it once and for all.
You may have tried changing your diet and focusing on proper skin nutrition to see if you couldn’t banish your zits to the netherworld. (That’s not to be confused with the Netherlands, which are absolutely beautiful this time of the year, just so you know.) You might have also wasted hundreds or even thousands of dollars on OTC treatments to see if they could help.
But, as everyone with acne already knows, acne is a persistent little condition. Sure, it might go away for a while, but it usually comes back. And, more often than not, it brings a few extra friends to the painful pimple party happening on your face.
Not only is that incredibly frustrating, but it can also be a major bummer. Plus, there’s one other thing that most people who don’t have acne also don’t realize: these breakouts tend to hurt.
When this happens, that means that you’re usually stuck with one of two choices when it comes to trying to get clear skin. One, you can try to white-knuckle it and see if it goes away on its own. (Spoiler alert, it usually doesn’t.)
Or two, you can ask your derm for yet another script to see if this new medicine actually works. But here’s the thing about dermatologists. They tend to have a list of conventional treatments they use, and they’re not big on deviating from it.
Usually it can look something like this:
- Step One: They prescribe a combination of harsh topicals (like benzoyl peroxide and tretinoin), oral contraceptives, and antibiotics. (These are bad for acne in the long run, and we’ll explain more about why in a moment.)
- Step Two: Okay, that didn’t work. Let’s try something stronger, like spironolactone. (Also a band-aid with side effects)
- Step Three: Still not clear? Fine, we’re pulling out the big guns here, and we’re starting you on Accutane now. (Danger alert!)
If your doctor ever recommends Accutane without properly addressing your diets, vitamins, and skincare routine, you need to run – don’t walk – out of that clinic and never look back. We’ll dive deeper into why, but just trust us here. The side effects are seriously not worth it, and Accutane can wreak complete havoc in your body.
Side note: Danielle Gronich, CEO of the San Diego Acne Clinic and CLEARSTEM Skincare had to do Accutane THREE separate times and her acne still came back. It is not the permanent solution that it is touted to be- it’s simply the final recommendation in a broken, prescription-based healthcare system that disregards internal health and root causes.
But as for the other treatments? Well, antibiotics are only a temporary band-aid and don’t address the root cause of the acne. In fact, if gut issues are a root cause, oral antibiotics will just make it worse by further damaging your healthy bacteria which can then negatively impact your hormones. Nearly every single case of acne can be traced back to your hormones & your gut health. You can see that hormones and acne tend to go hand in hand.
Antibiotics, though, only work to kill the bacteria that cause the breakouts and don’t address the underlying cause of your breakouts. Not only that, though, but they kill all kinds of bacteria in your body. This means that your once-healthy gut flora? (1)
It’s now completely fried. Not only are you now exponentially more susceptible to a myriad of other health problems, but you’re now more likely to get rebound acne. And trust us when we say that it’s going to be so much worse than the acne you started with. (2)
You see, research has shown that an unhealthy gut is tied to acne, and you actually need some healthy bacteria in your stomach. With that flora now gone, it’s like setting out a welcome mat for all the bad bacteria that was lying in wait. (3, 4)
Plus, you’re not going to be able to treat it with the same antibiotics you already used, since this new crop is antibiotic-resistant. But wait, it gets worse. Since you killed off all the bacteria in your gut, that means the good ones are deader than a doornail, and the bad ones are living it up like the freeloading jerks that they are. (5)
Then there’s harsh topicals. Those are also problematic, as they can utterly destroy your acid mantle. Since your skin’s acid mantle is necessary for keeping those bad bacteria at bay, damaging it can make your stratum corneum more vulnerable to breakouts. (6, 7, & 8)
Since most dermatologists just thrust a bottle or two of creams at you and say, “Good luck!” you’re stuck trying to figure it out on your own. Even if they do talk you through it, these chemicals are so harsh, they can actually cause major damage to your skin.
In other words, you’re gonna fry your epidermis. And in turn, that’s going to lead to even more damage and acne breakouts.
And finally, don’t touch spironolactone with a ten-foot pole. Just don’t, okay? It’s not worth it.
This medication is actually a powerful heart medication, and it can absolutely decimate your health. For instance, spiro can put you at risk of things like electrolyte imbalance, estrogen dominance, and even increase your risk of having a heart attack. (9, 10)
Yes, it’s really that serious. No, we’re not exaggerating. We don’t mess around when it comes to health, especially when someone’s life can be at risk.
Like, we get it. Acne completely sucks. But it’s not worth dying over, okay?
Which gets us to our final point. Accutane. Of everything we’ve mentioned so far, it’s actually arguably the worst, which is why finding an actual quality alternative to Accutane is so important.
Curious to know why? Keep on reading, friends. But grab a seat, because it’s pretty serious business – and you’re going to be pretty horrified once you find out how bad it really is.
What is Accutane & What Does It Do?
When it comes to acne, there’s one medicine that’s usually pulled out as the big guns when all other treatments have failed. Accutane – also known as isotretinoin – is a powerful oral retinoid designed to completely change the physiology of your sebaceous glands. (11)
However, while it technically is considered a “cure” for acne, it’s also arguably the most dangerous treatment option out there. Even worse, with all the risks that come with taking it, the acne actually can come back after treatment has ended. That means that there’s a good chance you’ll destroy your health… and it’ll be all for nothing. (12)
Before we can delve further into the risks of Accutane, though, it’s important to first explain exactly what it is and how it works. Like we already mentioned, Accutane is an oral retinoid. In simpler terms, it’s a man-made Vitamin A derivative. (13)
These retinoids have been shown to have incredible potential in treating acne, but they come with a host of contraindications and side effects. For instance, topical retinoids (like tretinoin and adapalene) can actually seriously damage your acid mantle. As we already mentioned, a damaged acid mantle can cause even worse acne breakouts, and even put you at risk of developing serious skin infections. (14)
Furthermore, some people have reported experiencing permanent thin skin and volume loss on their faces following treatment with topical retinoids, leading to an irreversibly aged appearance. Considering it’s used off-label (that is, for reasons other than acne) to prevent aging, this is literally the opposite of what you’d expect or hope to happen. (15, 16)
Retinoids also increase your sun sensitivity, leading to sunburns and increasing your risk of developing skin cancers. This is true for both oral and topical retinoids, further highlighting the dangers of using them. (14, 11)
So how does Accutane work? In the most basic of terms, it works by shrinking your sebaceous glands. In other words, it’s going to zap your pores, making it much harder for them to get clogged again. (11)
It also affects your pores’ ability to keratinize, which means that skin cells won’t clump up there any longer. While this is admittedly super impressive when looked at from an anti-acne perspective, you have to read between the lines here. For instance, what exactly is the point of keratinization? (11)
Well, if you’ve ever had a wound on your body, then you’ve probably seen keratinization in action. When you get injured, your body sends tiny cells called keratinocytes to the location to start clumping up. (18, 19)
That icky scab that forms? That’s an aggregate of keratinocytes. They create a protective barrier over the wound, facilitating healing.
And if your body’s all like, “Nah, I’m just gonna pass on sending keratinocytes here,” then you’re actually interrupting the natural wound healing process. In other words, keratinization actually serves a valuable purpose in your body. Sure, it bites when they dogpile over each other and cause clogged pores on your face that lead to acne.
But when you turn off your body’s systemic ability to heal and fight infections? Well, you’re looking at a heap of troubles, and it’s not a road you want to go down. Considering autoimmune disorders have resulted as a side effect of isotretinoin treatment, the implication of this contraindication is fairly severe.
Then there’s the fact that Accutane has anti-inflammatory properties, too. This means that it can help reduce systemic inflammation, leading to less pain, swelling, redness, and irritation at the site. When you have no less than a dozen or so throbbing cysts and pustules on your face, it can be tempting to want to try to treat them with strong anti-inflammatory medications.
Again, that makes Accutane sounds amazing… on paper. In real-life though? Not so much.
Because here’s the deal, guys. Do you know what the mechanism of action is for many of those popular anti-inflammatories out there? Immunosuppression, that’s what. (20)
It’s fairly well understood that Accutane is a known immunosuppressant, as well. Again, this is really great for reducing the inflammatory response of Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes), but it’s not so great for your immune system. (21, 22, & 23)
Plus, you want to know what’s really scary? We have no idea how long that immunosuppression lasts. Some studies have shown that it can last at least as long as six months following treatment, but what about years later? (23)
This remains largely unknown, unfortunately. And with all the known dangers of a weakened immune system, it’s seriously a risk you just don’t want to take. When your health is on the line, messing around with something as toxic as isotretinoin simply isn’t worth it. (24)
Is Accutane Really That Bad?
We’ve already kind of touched on how bad Accutane is, but the fact is, we’ve barely skimmed the surface. In fact, all the so-called “bad” aspects of isotretinoin are actually the known benefits of taking it. It’s kind of mind-boggling, if you think about it.
In other words, its mechanism of action is to literally hurt you. Causing immune system damage and possibly permanently damaging your sebaceous glands is the medicine’s so-called selling point. We haven’t even touched on the negative side effects of taking it yet.
And let’s just say that there are quite a few downsides of Accutane. If you’re wondering if Accutane is really that dangerous, we’re here to tell you unequivocally that the answer is yes. From leading to permanent blindness to causing swelling in the brain – and even possibly leading to death – it’s one of the most tightly regulated and dangerous medications out there.
Before you can even take it, you have to sign up for something called iPledge. What’s that? Well, it’s a program that was implemented by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in response to the dangerous side effects of Accutane.
To put it into perspective, no other medications have an iPledge program. It’s exclusively for Accutane, and it’s solely because the risk of taking it is so high. Pretty horrifying, right?
There’s more. To even be allowed to use Accutane, female patients must commit to using two types of contraception. They also must submit to monthly blood tests to make sure they haven’t gotten pregnant. (25)
Sadly, isotretinoin doesn’t just harm the person taking it. It’s also a potent teratogen. If a fetus is exposed to this medication, it’s likely the pregnancy won’t be viable and the gestation will need to be terminated. (26)
Now, here’s another bit of dark trivia for you. Accutane wasn’t originally designed to be an acne medication. Instead, it was created as a chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients. (27)
As it turned out, it also happened to be mighty effective against acne, too. Now, if you’re familiar with the effect of chemo on the body, then you probably understand the severity of this medication. It’s not something to be taken lightly, and the systemic effects that follow in its wake can be intense.
So, what exactly are these side effects? Let’s go ahead and break them down.
If you have the vaguest understanding of Latin, then you know that this word means “without a head.” Fortunately, this doesn't mean that you’ll suddenly go all Marie Antionette after taking Accutane. Rather, it means that if your unborn child is exposed to this drug, it could be born with most of its brain and the top half of its head missing. (28, 29)
Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD)
Another major side effect of Accutane is irritable bowel disease, or IBD. Studies have shown that taking this medication can lead to ulcerative colitis (UC), which can cause pain, bloating, diarrhea, blood in the stools, and unintentional weight loss. For some people, these symptoms can even be life-threatening and may lead to premature death. (30, 31)
The bottom (no pun intended!) line here? Unless you’re a fan of being trapped in the bathroom all day, then you’re going to want to skip out on taking the ‘tane. Passing blood isn’t something you want to mess around with, okay?
Depression and Suicidal Ideation
One of the reasons that Accutane is so tightly regulated is because it’s been linked to an elevated risk of suicide. One prominent case included a teenager flying a Cessna into a skyscraper in Florida while on isotretinoin. (32)
While it’s largely contested as to whether or not the medicine influenced his actions, it doesn’t change the fact that his loved ones believed it played a role. Sadly, that’s not the only instance, either. There have been other similar reports of people taking their lives while on this medication, as well. (33, 34)
If you or someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to not keep those feelings bottled up. Speak to a loved one, or even a medical professional, about how you’re feeling. If you don’t feel like confiding in someone you know, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24/7 at (800) 273-TALK.
Even in the absence of epilepsy, seizures have been reported from people taking Accutane. From focal aware seizures to the more serious tonic-clonic type, these can lead to permanent brain damage. Even if they don’t cause lasting brain damage, they can be severe, acute, and understandably terrifying for those who experience them. (35)
Permanent vision loss is another serious side effect of taking Accutane. Because this medication has been linked to blood clots, it’s not out of the scope of possibility that one of those clots can make its way into your eye. This can cause a condition called “retinal vein occlusion” (or RVO). (36)
Depending on which vein it happens to migrate to (such as a branch vein or a central one), you could find yourself with either partial or full vision loss. If not treated right away, it could cause permanent blindness. While rockin’ a pair of Raybans is always a super cool look, you don’t want to be forced to wear them because your medication made you go blind. (37, 38)
Another vision-related condition that can arise from taking Accutane is something called “pseudotumor cerebri.” This is when your cerebrospinal fluid builds up inside your brain, causing swelling inside your skull. Because it so closely resembles an actual tumor, it can often mimic the same symptoms of a mass inside your brain. (39, 40)
One such symptom is blurriness and headaches and like RVO, it could also lead to permanent vision loss if not treated immediately. Oh, and if you were wondering what the treatment for it was? It’s literally a spinal tap.
Yeah, you read that right: your doctor will drain your brain like a keg at a co-ed frat party. Does that sound like something you really want to be experiencing? We didn’t think so.
The reasons that Accutane damages the liver aren’t entirely clear, but it’s largely believed to be linked to how this medication acts like Vitamin A in the system. Sure, a little bit of Vitamin A is totally safe, but we’re talking about sticking to the RDA here. That number, if you were curious, is a paltry 700-900 mcg (or 2300 to 3000 IU) per day. (41, 42)
The recommended dosage of Vitamin A is thereabouts 10,000 IU. And how much retinol equivalent is in a dose of Accutane? Assuming you’re taking the equivalent dose of 1-2mg per kilogram of body weight, you could be taking – drumroll please – as high as one million IUs of retinol per day. (43, 44)
Yeah, it’s super staggering, right? Considering this is literally a hundred times more than the maximum RDA for this vitamin, it’s no wonder people are having such a terrible time on it. If that doesn’t make you want to look for an alternative to Accutane, we don’t know what will.
Blood Clot Disorders
We’ve already mentioned how Accutane can cause blood clots, but it’s not just permanent blindness you’d be looking at. (Okay, excuse our poor choice of words there.) It could also lead to other serious and potentially deadly conditions, too.
For instance, Accutane has been linked to deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in otherwise healthy people. There have also been several reported cases of strokes (cerebral ischemia) and other vascular thrombotic diseases because of the clotting issue associated with isotretinoin. Again, this is in young and healthy people, which further underscores the incredible danger of taking this medication. (45, 46, & 47)
Small Vessel Vasculitis
In addition to these life-threatening blood clots, Accutane can also lead to the narrowing of your blood vessels, particularly in the lungs. In turn, you could find yourself unable to breathe and struggling for air after taking isotretinoin. (48)
Yes, that’s seriously as horrifying as it sounds. No, it’s not something you want to experience, even if you are tired of struggling with your acne. Slowly suffocating is not a price that’s worth paying for clear skin.
Plus, here’s a bonus terrifying thought that you didn’t ask for. The combination of vascular constriction and blood clots is almost too morbid to think about. When you consider the implications of what could happen (and yes, we’re totally going to the worst-case scenario here), it’s a gamble that’s just not worth taking.
Pseudotumor cerebri isn’t the only brain disorder that can arise from taking Accutane. Another horrifying side effect of taking it is encephalopathy, which can lead to permanent cognitive impairment. Stopping the medication, however, can possibly lead to remission. (49)
Then again, it might not. Researchers have discovered that patients who took isotretinoin also tend to have elevated levels of a certain enzyme called creatine phosphokinase (or CPK). While not a medical condition in and of itself, it can hint at hidden damage to tissues in the body. (49, 50)
While these specific tissues that are being harmed could be your muscles, it’s also just as likely that these elevated CPK levels can be traced back to damage to your heart and brain. In other words, by simply taking Accutane, you could be looking at possibly permanent and irreversible damage to your vital organs – including your ticker and your thinker.
It’s a common misconception to think that arthritis is a condition that only happens to older people, but the fact is, it could happen to people of any age. However, it is much rarer in younger people, as it tends to be a degenerative disease. That’s definitely not the truth in the presence of Accutane, though.
This medication has been traced back to the development of arthritis in otherwise healthy people. Yep, we’re using that phrase again. Otherwise healthy… until they weren’t. (51)
According to the case studies, this inflammation resembled a mix between rheumatoid arthritis and axial spondyloarthritis. Both of these conditions are associated with joint pain, tenderness, and inflammation. (52)
By the way, are you starting to notice a trend here? These people were otherwise healthy – until they started taking this medication, that is. That’s when the problems started, and it’s likely they’re going to be living with the side effects of Accutane for the rest of their lives.
As you now know, isotretinoin has immunosuppressive properties to it. While that works like magic on getting rid of active acne lesions, it also can do a serious number to your body’s immune system. In turn, you could be finding yourself facing a laundry list of autoimmune diseases after a course of this medication.
Some of the autoimmune disorders that have been traced back to Accutane include joint pain that mimics rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disease (including both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism), and ulcerative colitis. Because it’s well-established that Accutane does tinker with the immune system, the risk of these conditions – as well as others – remains alarmingly high. (53, 54, & 55)
We’ve saved the best – or rather, the worst – for last here. For many people, having a happy and healthy intimate life is important. It can increase bonding, release endorphins, and lead to a stronger relationship overall. (56)
Because of this, spending quality personal time with your partner is incredibly important to a lot of people. And while there are a lot of things you could introduce to your relationship to spice things up, Accutane should not be one of them. Let’s just say that taking isotretinoin can cause your sizzle to promptly fizzle. (57)
It’s not unheard of for Accutane to make it harder to become sexually interested in your partner, as a reduced libido is one of those reported side effects. It can also make it more difficult to enjoy that special one-on-one time, too, by taking the oomph out of your little friend. And even if you are able to perform? (57)
The end result will be less than satisfactory. Of course, if you’re not big on fireworks and you’re perfectly fine holding a sparkler instead of a bottle rocket, by all means. It’s totally your right to reach for Accutane, even when you know it can destroy your mental, physical, and sexual wellbeing. (57)
But for the rest of us? That’ll be a hard pass, thanks. We much prefer having a healthy life and a healthy body.
However, here’s the real kicker. You don’t actually have to live with acne, even when isotretinoin is off the table. In fact, when it comes to a safe alternative to Accutane that really works, we’re kinda in the know on how to treat it once and for all.
A Natural Alternative to Accutane that Really Works
When it comes to acne, there’s one thing that a lot of people misunderstand. It’s more than just a cosmetic condition. It’s a systemic disease that manifests as painful, admittedly unattractive sores on your face.
Heck, it’s even possible that you’ve read all these terrible side effects of Accutane, took a glance at your face in the mirror, then shrugged your shoulders. Because if you’ve struggled with acne before, then you already know firsthand how miserable this condition can be. Even if Accutane brandished a knife at you and threatened to beat you up in a dark alley, you’d still take it.
That’s not a character flaw, by the way. It also doesn't mean that you’re shallow, superficial, or reckless and careless with your health. All it means is that you’re completely sick and tired of having acne and you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of it.
But with Accutane off the table, you’re now flat-footed and scrambling around to find an Accutane alternative. You’re probably wondering right about now, “If I can’t take it, then what is the best alternative to Accutane?” Even now, you’re probably still on the fence about whether or not isotretinoin is worth it.
That’s a 100% reasonable response, and your feelings are completely valid. However, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your health to get clear skin. In fact, you can have clear skin and enjoy better health at the same time, no harsh drugs or scary chemicals required.
You just have to use the right products. For starters, all of those harsh actives in your medicine cabinet? It’s time to say buh-bye to them.
Not only can they be incredibly stripping, effectively destroying your acid mantle, but there’s also a chance that they’re not even working. Heck, they could even be making your acne worse.
Instead, it’s time to switch to a better acne treatment regimen. Start with a gentle cleanser, and be sure to look for one without any harsh sulfates in it. That way, you can be confident you’re cleaning your face thoroughly, but not stripping it.
After you’re done washing your face, you do not want to skimp on moisturizer. A lot of acne-prone peeps tend to shy away from moisturizers, as they mistakenly believe that they can clog pores. However, if you choose one that doesn’t have any pore-clogging ingredients in it, you should be golden.
In fact, we’d even recommend taking it one step further. Not only should you use a moisturizer, but you should also reach for a skin-soothing stem cell serum (say that three times fast!) to use afterward. This can help calm your inflamed skin and help banish all of that irritation.
If you have clogged pores, don’t pick at them. Just don’t, okay? That can push the bacteria further into your skin, possibly leading to a massive infection and an even worse breakout. (58)
Instead, you should incorporate a mandelic acid serum into your routine. You’ll want to use this after cleansing and moisturizing, but before using other serums. Mandelic acid is a fantastic exfoliant, and it’ll help dissolve all of that trapped gunk in your pores to help restore that healthy glow you crave. (59)
That said, it’s important to note that taking good care of your skin on the outside is only one piece of the puzzle. Like we’ve said many before, nearly all types of acne are hormonal, which means you need to tackle the root cause of your breakouts first. Incorporating a hormonal acne supplement can definitely help, though.
There’s a big caveat about this, though. Just like not all serums and moisturizers have been made the same, this is also true for supplements. A lot of people out there will try to shill products to you, making a bunch of lofty health claims in the process.
However, those products are going to be full of super iffy ingredients that can actually backfire and hurt you. The last thing you want to do is start taking something that has questionable stuff in it. Instead, you need to use something that’s not only been backed up by real science, but it’s also clinically proven to work.
But what kind of ingredients should you look for in an Accutane alternative? We thought you’d never ask! Don’t worry, friends, because we’ve got you covered with our very own MINDBODYSKIN Hormonal Acne Supplement.
As a natural antidepressant, 5-HTP (also known as 5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a remarkably understated little compound. An amino acid, 5-HTP comes from tryptophan. So if you’ve ever overdosed on turkey during the holidays, then you’ve probably also felt that awesome zen that came from 5-HTP flooding your body. (60)
While it’s typically used as an antidepressant, it’s also got incredible anti-acne properties. Because it’s been shown to help reduce systemic inflammation, it can help soothe your painful skin. However, let’s go ahead and backtrack for a moment and revisit that anti-depression stuff, okay? (61)
So there’s this huge theory in science that maintains that there’s a massive overlap between your gut health and your physical health. Called the gut-brain axis, researchers strongly believe that conditions like depression and acne are closely related. Now, this may seem like a correlation versus causation thing, but it’s so much more complex than that. (62)
Yes, having acne can lead to depression. There’s no secret about that. But at the same time, the exact same factors that are leading to your depression can also be triggering your acne. (63)
It’s a super fascinating relationship, and what’s more telling is how huge this impact is on your skin. For instance, it’s also fairly well understood that anxiety and depression are also acne triggers. It’s like this vicious cycle that never seems to want to end, right? (64)
Your acne makes you depressed and anxious, and your depression makes your acne worse. By addressing those feelings head-on with 5-HTP, though, you can take a multifaceted approach to having clearer skin. Not only will you be happier, but your skin will be radiant, too!
Okay, guys, we just have to say it here. We’re kinda low-key in love with DIM. When it comes to clearing your skin, this is arguably one of the most powerful supplements you can take.
What’s so great about taking a DIM supplement? At the risk of waxing poetic a la Elizabeth Barrett Browning, how do we love thee, DIM? Let us count the ways.
Okay, that was a little bit cheesy, but hear us out. DIM is uh-mazing for clearing your skin. For instance, it’s been shown to help balance your endocrine system, evening out those acne-causing hormones that lead to breakouts. (65)
Androgens, we’re looking at you. And no, estrogen dominance, you’re not off the hook, either. But DIM can help make those hormones more even-keeled, treating the actual cause of the breakouts instead of just masking them.
It’s also a mighty anti-inflammatory, too. Since we already know how inflammation is a huge contributor to breakouts, having DIM in your corner can help keep them at bay. And no, unlike Accutane, it won’t mess with your immune system and make you more vulnerable to disease. (66)
DIM can also help treat depression and anxiety through the balancing of your estrogen levels, which we’ve already established are kinda integral to having clear skin. It can also help restore your thyroid health, which can also be a culprit for acne breakouts. (67)
Yup. Now that you see it all spelled out, you can see why we love it so much. But with all the amazing stuff it brings to the table, it’s just one of the many ingredients in our supplement – and we’re just getting started here, folks.
One of the leading causes of premature aging and skin issues is oxidative stress. That’s why having an ample supply of antioxidants in your diet is so important. As free radicals ricochet through your body, wreaking havoc in their wake, you need a strong superhero to help fight those little ruffians.
That’s where antioxidants come in. And when it comes to the best of the best, glutathione (GSH) is arguably one of the most powerful ones out there. Batman has got nothing on this powerhouse.
As a tripeptide (a fancy way of saying it contains the amino acids cysteine, glutamic acid, and glycine), GSH is a heavy-hitter when it comes to taking care of your health. Take, for instance, its antioxidant properties. (68)
It’s been shown that having reduced levels of this compound in your system is linked to acne breakouts. However, by supplementing with glutathione, you can deal a double-whammy to those blemishes. (69)
For instance, when fats break down in your body after exposure to free radicals, it can lead to systemic inflammation. Glutathione, though, can help reduce that oxidative stress. In turn, you’ll have not only more beautiful skin, but also healthier skin. (70)
Remember that gut-brain axis we were talking about? Yep, it really does come back to that. You can’t just treat the acne without taking a holistic approach to it.
Addressing the underlying cause of your breakouts is the ticket to getting rid of it for good. And you want to know what else oxidative stress is linked to? If you guessed inflammation, then you’ve already ahead of the curve.
By safeguarding you against oxidative stress, GSH can also help reduce systemic inflammation, too. Since inflammation and acne tend to go hand in hand, it only makes sense that you’ll want to treat that inflammation first. Once you get that in check, clear skin will follow. (68)
Now, you’d think we’ve talked glutathione to death here, but we’re not quite done yet. There’s one more thing about it that makes it such an incredible acne-fighting ally. This tripeptide is also an amazing liver detoxifier. (68)
Your liver is arguably one of the hardest working organs in your body. Its job isn’t just to help detox your body, though. It also helps manage systemic inflammation and even has immunomodulating properties, too. (71, 72)
An unhealthy liver, therefore, is a fast track to nasty acne breakouts. Since we already know that inflammation is a cornerstone of acne, the last thing you want to do is antagonize the organ that’s designed to help banish the inflammation. Instead, think of your liver as your BFF in your fight against acne. (73)
If you nurture your liver, then it’ll pay you back by keeping you – and your skin – healthy. Since this organ is one of the largest synthesizers of glutathione, you want to keep it chugging along smoothly so it can continue to produce it. But this tripeptide has a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours,” relationship with your liver. (74)
In other words, not only does your liver make the glutathione itself, but it also depends on GSH to stay healthy. Adding a little extra booster of it can also help improve your liver function, warding off a wide variety of diseases such as non-alcoholic fatty liver and hepatic diseases. Don’t you love it when we can all get along and liver (ba-dum-tish) together in harmony? (74, 75)
We’ve already mentioned Vitamin A a few times here already, but there’s a reason we’ve included it in our proprietary supplement. Simply stated, it works. In fact, retinol is a Vitamin A derivative and it functions pretty similarly in your body.
Multiple studies have shown that this fat-soluble vitamin plays a key role in acne pathogenesis. For starters, if your serum levels of Vitamin A are low, you’re more likely to actually develop this skin condition in the first place. Then there’s the indisputable fact that Vitamin A also helps to treat acne, as well. (76, 77)
Multiple studies have demonstrated this correlation, further highlighting how important it is to ensure you get the right amount of it in your diet. Simply adding a low-to-moderate amount of it into your diet can be enough to significantly reduce the number of active blemishes on your face. But how much is the right amount? (78)
Well, let’s go back to the part where we mentioned how Vitamin A is fat-soluble. This means that you can’t simply flush it out by chugging water. It can actually build up in your organs over time, and unlike something like Vitamin C (which is water-soluble and can be excreted in urine), it’s possible to overdose on it. (42)
This means that you want to add somewhere close to the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin into your diet, give or take, as it’s going to have cumulative effects. No, it won’t work overnight, but as it builds up in your body? That’s when you’re going to start to see results.
Since the average person does tend to get the minimum amount of Vitamin A in their diets (approximately 700-900 mcg RAE), you just want to add a bit more of it to reach the safe upper limit of it. While some sources state that you can go as high as 15,000 IU (or 50,000 RAE per day), there’s no need to go that high. (79, 80)
An extra 6,000-7,000 mcg RAE is more than enough to help you see the results you want. It’s enough to help you get the clear skin you deserve, but not enough to push you into hepatic toxicity. Because it’s so effective, and because it’s the key ingredient in isotretinoin, it’s arguably the best natural alternative to Accutane.
And if you decide to dive face-first into Grandma’s sweet potato casserole (nearly 20,000 IU per sweet potato, in case you were wondering) or overdose on baby carrots (12,000 IU), it won’t send your organs into a tailspin. Remember, you don’t want to overdo it, as that can be just as bad – if not more so – than not getting enough.
In a lot of ways, Vitamin B5 is pretty similar to Vitamin A when it comes to controlling breakouts. What do they have in common? Well, for starters, if your body is low in pantothenic acid (the scientific name for B5), you’ll be more likely to experience acne on your face and body. (81)
There’s also the fact that several studies have shown that supplementing with B5 can also help reduce acne lesion count in people who suffer from this skin condition. Just by taking a moderate dose of it every day, you can start to notice a serious reduction in blemishes on your face. (82, 83)
But unlike Vitamin A, there’s little to no risk of overdosing on pantothenic acid. Since it’s a water-soluble vitamin, any excess is extracted out in your urine. This means that you can add an almost indiscriminate amount into your diet without worrying about it harming you.
The RDA of Vitamin B5 is around 5 milligrams per day. For the most part, the average person does get that bare minimum, but if you want to see results with your acne? You’re going to want to really ramp that up to something more quantifiable than just a few milligrams. (84)
After all, the bare minimum is just that. It’s the smallest minimum recommended amount to avoid disease and illness, and nothing more. And if you have breakouts, then it’s likely you’re not getting enough of this vitamin in your everyday diet, since acne is literally a chronic skin disease. (85, 86)
Doses as high as 200-300mg per day are perfectly safe, and they can help you get the results you want much faster. Since there’s virtually no risk of toxicity, feel free to take as much as you want (within reason, of course!). Combined with the other ingredients in our acne supplement, this is the perfect combination for that poreless skin you crave.
When most of us think of dandelions, those little white puffballs that flower throughout the spring and summer. You might also think of them as nothing more than weeds, a blight in your garden or in your backyard. But these plants are actually super remarkable, and their humble appearance belies their real value.
You see, when it comes to your health, very few medicinal herbs compare to dandelion. Its root has been shown to boast a bounty of health benefits, ranging from encouraging good liver health to even possibly safeguarding against certain types of cancer. Not bad for a so-called weed, right? (87, 88)
We’re not going to beat a dead horse here when it comes to your liver. You already know how important it is to help keep your body naturally detoxed. Since dandelion root can help protect it, you don’t want to sleep on this flower’s incredible benefits.
Dandelion root is also a powerful antioxidant, too. Again, stick meet dead horse. There’s no such thing as too many antioxidants, so adding more into your body via dandelion root is a really great way to boost those levels in your system. (89)
Then there’s the anti-inflammatory properties of dandelion root. If you’re struggling with systemic inflammation, introducing this supplement can help reduce it. In turn, you can start to notice a reduction in acne breakouts. (90)
Finally, there’s a lot of solid evidence that dandelion root can help improve glucose metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity. Since elevated blood glucose levels and insulin resistance are both huge triggers for acne breakouts, this is a fairly important consideration. But with a little bit of dandelion root in your daily diet, you can help keep those breakouts off your face once and for all. (90, 91, 92, & 93)
Clear Skin Without Accutane
For many of us, finally achieving clear skin can seem like a pipe dream. After waking up day after day and seeing a fresh outbreak of acne on your skin, it can almost start to seem impossible to get rid of it once and for all. Because of how painful this skin condition is – both psychologically and physiologically – it’s absolutely understandable to want to turn to Accutane.
However, that could be one of the biggest mistakes of your life. It’s not because isotretinoin won’t clear your skin. Sure, it could very well get rid of your acne.
But at what cost? With all of the known side effects of taking it, do those risks really outweigh the benefits? And with such a high relapse rate, is this medication really worth it?
Here’s the bottom line: you deserve clear skin. 100%, full stop, no questions asked. You don’t have to sacrifice your health for it, either.
If you want to bid a not-so-fond farewell to your acne lesions, you need to take a holistic, whole-body approach to it. Start with a gentle skincare routine to clear up those active acne breakouts, and be sure to also introduce the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and supplementation from our MINDBODYSKIN Hormonal Acne Supplement to get to the actual cause of them.
This two-pronged approach is exactly what you need to get that smooth, gorgeous skin you deserve. Remember, you need to treat both the breakouts themself and stop the triggers that are causing them. By doing so, you can put your acne into permanent remission.
Are you sick of rushing to the mirror when you first wake up, that knot of dread in your stomach because you already know what you’ll find when you get there? Aren’t you completely over feeling down on yourself because of something that feels like it’s out of your control? Isn’t it time you set those cakey foundations aside and let your face actually breathe for once?
Yes, you can have clear skin. And no, you don’t have to destroy your health with Accutane to get it. Instead, you just need a little bit of knowledge – and the right tools – to make it happen.
With our hormonal supplement doing the heavy lifting for you, you can ultimately achieve that acne-free skin you deserve. And once you start to see that smooth, dewy texture gazing back at you in the mirror? Well, then you can finally start to feel as beautiful on the outside as we know you truly are on the inside.
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CEO of CLEARSTEM Skincare
By: Danielle Gronich
Danielle Gronich, known as The Acne Guru™ is the formulator and CEO of CLEARSTEM Skincare, a non-toxic skincare line that uses premium ingredients to correct acne, acne scars, DNA damage, and melasma. Danielle studied cellular biology and genetics throughout her education and has had a passion for solving acne