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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.

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Human Effect Matrix

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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 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.
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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.