Like most people, there is a chance that you have looked for a solution to your acne on the internet. As soon as you google for acne treatments, you stumble upon hundreds of blogs, articles, researches, and reviews on how to treat acne and which products to use. One of the most popular ones is Vitamin B5.
Many people say that Vitamin B5 has helped them get rid of acne, while others are skeptical and point to the fact that there is no scientific proof that it’s that effective. With all the information out there, it’s hard to come to a conclusion, so let’s go through all the claims, research and methods, in order to make it easier for you to decide if Vitamin B5 is worth trying or not.
What Is Vitamin B5?
Vitamin B5 a water-soluble vitamin that is in almost all of the food we consume. It’s so common, that the other term for it, pantothenic acid, was coined using the Greek word panthos which means ‘everywhere’. Part of many essential processes in our body, from protein synthesis and energy production to tissue growth and regeneration, this vitamin plays its most important role as one of the three components (the other two components of this enzyme, are produced in our body) in the creation of Coenzyme-A (CoA), an enzyme that mainly has to do with breaking down fat.
Vitamin B5 Effects
The effects of pantothenic acid have been researched extensively, with some of the research dating back to the 50s, although there’s been a recent spark in research as of late, after word of its possible advantages has reached a wider audience. Here are some of the potential benefits of using it:
- Skin regeneration
- Proper liver and nervous system function
- Healthy gastrointestinal (digestive) tract
- Reduce cholesterol and triglycerides
- Creation of some essential hormones
It has also been known to help with many conditions like depression, ADHD, allergies, obesity, low blood pressure, alcoholism, baldness, and others.
There has also been a lot of research on the effects of vitamin B5 deficiency, with most studies concluding that it’s very hard to have substandard levels of vitamin B5 in your body, considering its availability and presence. But since it’s important to cover all the bases, here are the most common effects of B5 deficiency:
Research has shown that when balance is restored, all these effects will go away if they were caused by the deficiency.
How Will It Help Me With Acne?
The Theory Behind It
The most famous hypothesis is that of Dr. Leung which, put in simple terms, claims that our body struggles with the deficiency of CoA, and this makes it store more fat, forcing the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which in turn makes our skin more oily than usual and causes acne.
He then maintains that with high doses of Vitamin B5, this problem can be solved. I would like to point out that this was not a medical study, but a hypothesis paper published in a medical journal in 1997. It’s worth noting that Dr. Leung applied for and got a patent for acne treatment with vitamin B5 in 1996, raising doubts that there may be a conflict of interest. His hypothesis is still not confirmed.
The lack of scientific proof doesn’t mean you should discard vitamin B5 as an option, as there have been studies for other uses which have been encouraging, to say the least.
Effects On Skin
There are a lot of potential benefits to using pantothenic acid, some of them including:
- Enhancing skin formation – by helping create some of the structural elements in collagen creation, it improves healing and skin cell growth.
- Improving moisturization – there are a lot of studies confirming this claim, saying that it helps the skin stay hydrated, soft and elastic. Although it does not provide direct hydration, it improves the skin barrier, helping it retain the existing moisture.
- Anti-inflammatory properties, reduces irritation – you may have read in some of our other articles where we talk about the inflammation that causes acne and how our immune system reacts to acne. Pantothenic acid helps reduce it, as shown by the fact that it is often used by skin transplant patients and also people who have scars and burns or suffer from dermatosis.
- Reduces sebum(oil) production – yes, I know it seems confusing since we already stated that Dr. Leung’s theory is something to be taken with doubt. Other researches have shown that although the process is not fully known, there is a clear clinical result to support this claim. Reduced sebum production means your pores will not get clogged as often, meaning less acne on your face.
- Clears out acne scars – we mentioned that Vitamin B5 helps in skin creation, but it also helps in regeneration of scar tissue. There have been many claims and some research on this topic and the evidence, although not conclusive, shows that vitamin B can help with reducing the number of skin lesions.
Vitamin B5 Treatment
There are multiple ways for you to start treating yourself with Vitamin B5, with different skin creams, cleansers, masks, serums, and food supplements to choose from. You can also concentrate on regularly eating foods that are vitamin B5 rich.
The treatments do not differ in the way they are used to other products of the same kind – masks, cleansers, serums and creams, and of course, in supplement form. The absorption of food supplement vitamin B5 can be increased by adding additional nutrients.
Anti-acne creams – You can use a little bit of B5 based anti-acne creams for spot treatment, just put some on your finger and rub it on the pimple gently for 5-10 seconds, to ensure that it penetrates deep in the skin. This is a more effective way than just putting it on and letting it penetrate by itself. If you put too much, there is no need to wipe it off, just spread it on the surrounding skin as it can also benefit from it. Do this at most twice a day for best results.
For acne scars, you can do the same application procedure, but you can do it maximum three times a day.
Food supplements – easily accessible as they are sold in almost any pharmacy or food store, you can buy them in combination with different B vitamins or just B5. However, many consumers and researchers say that these are not as effective as creams or other products and that for best results, you should stick to a choice that requires direct application on affected areas. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use them, but make sure that this is not the only treatment you use. Combining a supplement with other products like L-carnitine might boost absorption, and make it more efficient.
Although there is no proof that you can take too much vitamin B5, start with smaller doses and then gradually increase them if you are not getting any results.
Food sources – as explained previously, a lot of foods contain vitamin B5, but since food is the best way for us to replenish everything from vitamins and minerals to proteins, carbs and fat, we suggest you give these foods a try:
- Chicken and turkey meat
- Sunflower seeds
Possible Side Effects From These Treatments
Although vitamin B5 is water-soluble, meaning that our body will simply flush out all but the required quantity, just like anything we ingest and put in our body in an excessive amount, there are some possible side effects. Reports have shown that it can lead to diarrhea, increased dryness, and irritability of the skin and hair loss. That is why it’s advised to choose topical medications and treat the spot, rather than letting it through the whole metabolic system.
The scientific data does not support many of the claims made by people who have treated themselves by megadosing with vitamin B5, but there is evidence that it can help with skin conditions like acne if used in the form of topical medicine. So if you decide to give it a try, we recommend that you go for creams rich with this vitamin, as they have shown the most promise. The levels of vitamin B5 in your body don’t need to be disturbed. The chances of you having a vitamin B5 deficiency are incredibly low – eat your meat and veggies and you should be all good. If you suspect you may have a pantothenic acid deficiency, or have any doubts about Dr. Leung’s hypothesis and are willing to try out megadosing, giving it a shot for a few weeks (not more!) shouldn’t cause any problems.
And more importantly, if you have a deficiency or the treatment doesn’t work for you, you might want to ask yourself as to how you got your acne in the first place. Changing your cleansing products, diet, workout or any other element of your daily routine might just give you the answer, but to on the safe side, set up an appointment with a dermatologist – there is a good chance you will find the precise cause of your acne. Knowing the true cause will lead you to the best products for your skin.