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Does B12 Cause Acne?: Why This Can Happen and What To Do

Can B12 supplements really cause acne? Learn more about if there is a connection between too much B12 and pimple development.

Read on

If you are supplementing with B12 to make sure you are getting enough of this essential vitamin, you probably also want to make sure it is not leading to increased acne.

There is some information linking high levels of B12 supplementation with increased acne.

And, while it may be good to dial back your dose if this is the case, it is still important to make sure your B12 levels are adequate.

Below, we will go over how B12 supplementation may increase acne, how to supplement with a lower risk of breaking out, and how to help clear a breakout brought on by B12 if you are currently dealing with one.

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential B vitamin that humans can not produce on their own.

This means that we need to get our B12 through the food we eat, or a supplement. Meat, dairy, and eggs contain B12, as well as fortified foods like cereals and nutritional yeast.

Sometimes, even when people eat these foods, they do not have adequate B12 levels and need to supplement. Or, they may not eat animal products so supplementation is necessary.

B12 has a lot of important functions in the body. B12 helps keep your blood cells and nerves healthy, and plays a role in making DNA. 

In the case of a B12 deficiency, you could develop pernicious anemia, which could eventually lead to nerve damage and extreme fatigue.

Clearly, it is important to make sure you are getting enough of this necessary nutrient.

Does too much B12 cause acne?

Some studies have linked high B12 levels on the skin with increased acne. High B12 levels occur on the skin, when there are high levels in the body.

This outcome is thought to develop in some people supplementing with B12 because the vitamin on the skin changes the products that are made by the bacteria on the skin known to be related to acne, P. acnes.

P. acnes normally needs to make its own B12 to survive. But, when there is plenty of B12 around on the skin for it to use, it switches its internal production to make more of a compound called porphyrins. 

Porphyrins are inflammatory to the skin and may play a role in the increased acne development in this situation.

However, it is important to know that only about 10% of people who supplement with B12 may develop this acne response. 

And, it is likely related to the dose that is taken, with high doses and potentially the B12 injections being the most inclined to cause acne. One study considers high doses of B12 to be more than 5-10mg per week.

So, not everyone will develop acne when supplementing with B12. And, if you do, you may be able to adjust your dose to still make it work for you.

How to supplement with B12 while avoiding acne breakouts

If you need to supplement with B12 to get your levels into a normal range, it is important to do that. Don’t let the risk of a few pimples keep you from doing what is healthy for your body.

However, there may be ways to supplement with B12 more gently in order to help avoid acne breakouts in the process.

Taking B12 by mouth may be less likely to cause acne than going with the higher dose injections. 

Also, take a look at the amount of B12 in your supplement, and try to keep your weekly amount under 5-10mg. 

Supplementing with a lower dose may not be possible to do when you are correcting a deficiency. In this case, listen to your doctor and correct the deficiency as needed. You will likely be instructed to reduce your dose after your levels are back to normal, and your skin may clear up at that time.

How to help clear acne from B12 supplementation

If you have developed acne and you suspect it is from B12 supplementation, there are a few things you can do.

You may be able to lower your dose of B12 in order to get adequate levels for your body without going too overboard. (You may need to consult with your doctor about this in the case of a deficiency.)

You may also be able to help clear the breakout using your usual acne-clearing methods.

For some, over-the-counter acne washes with salicylic acid may do the trick. Or, in the case of stubborn acne, prescription retinoid ingredients like Tretinoin may be required.

Strut Health prescription acne formulas with Tretinoin online

If you are dealing with stubborn acne breakouts, and over-the-counter methods are not helping, you may want to consider prescription options.

Here at Strut Health, our doctors and pharmacists developed a prescription combination acne formula that can be customized to meet your needs and preferences. 

Our Strut Acne Formula can contain a topical antibiotic, soothing Niacinamide, and prescription retinoid Tretinoin to help you get your skin under control.

To get started, simply complete a free online questionnaire-based doctor’s consultation in under 10 minutes. Then, your information will be reviewed and your doctor will issue a prescription to a U.S. compounding pharmacy, if appropriate.

Your prescription acne formula will then be shipped to your front door with our free shipping.

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