Quick Navigation


Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition that occurs when sebum and dead skin clog hair follicles, forming comedones (a.k.a. pimples). A comedo unblocked by skin is a blackhead (black because of oxidized melanin, rather than dirt). A comedo blocked by skin is a whitehead.

Our evidence-based analysis on acne features 20 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by .
Reviewed by
Examine.com Team
Last Updated:

Get the latest information on 400+ supplements and their effects on 600+ health conditions & outcomes.

By becoming an Examine Plus member, you'll have access to all of the latest nutrition research. Quickly and easily look up scientific research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.

Already a subscriber to any of our membership plans? Click here to login.

Human Effect Matrix

Unlocked for Examine Plus members

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies to tell you what supplements affect Acne.

Full details on all Acne supplements are available to Examine Plus members.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Supplement Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-b Notable Very High See all 3 studies
Topical application of 4% nicotinamide gel rivals 1% clindamycin gel in reducing acne severity and tends to work better than clindamycin in oily skin types.
grade-b Minor Very High See all 4 studies
Orally supplemented zinc (in the dosage range of 30-130mg elemental zinc) appears to be effective in reducing symptoms of acne, although the effects are modest at best.
grade-c - - See study
One study assessing the blinded intake of chocolate in subjects who reported to be acne prone found an increase in acne when chocolate was given relative to placebo.

Become an Examine Plus member to view this information.

You can currently view 3 supplements as a non-member — becoming a member will give you access to 9 total supplements related to Acne.

Already a member? Login now to access.


Become an Examine Plus member to access the latest nutrition research on over 400 supplements across over 600 different health goals, outcomes, conditions, and more.

Becoming an Examine Plus member not only unlocks the Human Effect Matrix for supplements, but also all health topics on Examine.com. We neatly summarize all the latest research so you can make the best decisions for your health based on what's accurate and not out-dated information.

Frequently Asked Questions and Articles on Acne

Does dairy cause acne?
Growth factors can cause acne, either androgens or anything acting on the insulin receptor (including IGF-1) that enhance androgen signaling. Dairy is currently weakly suspected to contribute via the above, but not enough evidence exists to support a strong relationship.
Click here to see all 20 references.