Probiotics for Acne: How does it work?

There has been more research lately on probiotics and the benefits of taking probiotics for acne. This is also related to the research on relationship between gut health and acne. Previously we have covered the topic on Zinc supplement for acne and Pantothenic acid for acne. In this post, we will talk more about probiotics for acne and if you should try taking probiotics to improve your skin conditions.

Skin-gut axis: Gut health and acne

What is happening inside your body is reflected on your skin. Our skin is the largest organ in our body. You cannot achieve clear skin if your internal body system is not healthy or balanced. A lot of medical research has shown that one important thing to balance in the gut is the microbiome.

There are different types of bacteria in the gut, healthy bacteria and bad bacteria. We need healthy bacteria to have a healthy digestion system. Having said that, one way to ensure we have enough of healthy bacteria is by consuming probiotics. If you do not have enough healthy bacteria, this can lead to many issues like inflammation which can show up on our skin as acne.

probiotics for acne_acne prone skin

Why do you need to take probiotics for acne?

Our microbiome in the body can be tipped off balance and this is when problems like acne can start to occur. The microbiome becomes not balanced if there are more bad bacteria than healthy gut bacteria in the system. The healthy gut bacteria can decrease in number due to many reasons. One is stress, another common one is consumption of antibiotics for a prolonged period and the third one is sugar.

My experience taking probiotics for acne

I have taken probiotics for acne before, be it orally or topically. I will explain a bit later what I meant by topically. 

Taking probiotics orally

Taking probiotics for acne orally is straightforward. You can do it using supplements or by eating probiotics rich food like kimchi or sauerkraut. I also tried to increase my probiotics intake before by consuming more yakult. From my personal experience, it is easier to incorporate probiotics in your everyday life by eating food rich in probiotics like kimchi. I am a big fan of Korean food, so eating kimchi everyday is not a problem to me at all. If you don’t like kimchi or you can’t find kimchi, you can consider incorporating saurkraut instead. These two fermented vegetables are super rich in probiotics. 

If you have acne and would like to test how probiotics for acne works for you, refrain drinking too much Yakult. This is because Yakult is sweet and it contains milk, both of which can worsen your acne. Another option for probiotics that you can take daily is kombucha. A lot of kombucha do not have sugar added so you can safely take them if you have acne.

My experience with taking probiotics for acne orally has been great. It helped to boost my gut health and immunity from within. Moreover, my skin felt more resistant to inflammation, infection or redness. Before, my skin often reacted immediately to some food/beverages that my body did not take very well. However, after taking probiotics, my skin is calmer. Despite whatever negative reaction that my body might have to the new food/beverage, the skin remained clear.

probiotics for acne_kimchi

Taking probiotics topically

Another way I used probiotics for acne is topically. I used to have a lot of forehead pimples. And what really helped to calm down and dry the pimples was yoghurt mask. The lactic acid and probiotics in yoghurt worked really well for my forehead pimple.

Choose full fat, sugar free Greek yoghurt. Then, you can just slather it on your forehead and rinse after 15-20 minutes when the yoghurt mask has dried up. My forehead pimples were literally gone because of this yoghurt mask. No other masks worked this well for my forehead pimples.

How to choose probiotics for acne supplements?

probiotics for acne_probiotics supplement

According to Dr. Axe, a holistic wellness doctor, there are 5 things you should consider before deciding what probiotics supplements to buy:

  1. Brand Quality: look for reputable brands like GNC, Garden of Life, etc.
  2. High CFU Count: choose supplements with high count of probiotics from 15 billion to 100 billion. 
  3. Strain Diversity: choose a probiotic supplement that has 10–30 different strains
  4. Survivability: keep a lookout for strains like bacillus coagulans, saccharomyces boulardii, bacillus subtilis, lactobacillus rhamnosus, and other cultures or formulas that ensure probiotics make it to the gut and are able to colonize
  5. Research: find probiotics supplements that contain bacteria strains that can help with your conditions. Since many factors can cause acne, most strains will be beneficial for acne. This is because they will promote stronger immunity in the body, which is important to fight the acne infection and inflammation

Are there benefits of taking probiotics for acne?

Yes, definitely a lot of research has shown that probiotics and good gut health in general helps with acne condition. This is something called skin-gut axis. If you have problem with your digestion system, it is not uncommon for symptoms to show up on your skin. Both of our skin and digestion system are important in keeping infectious organisms from our body.

However, if you have existing medical condition you might want to check with your doctor about incorporating probiotics into your diet. This is because there might be adverse effects from taking it initially, or it might conflict with your other medication.

Learn more about acne, skincare and skin health with me!

Pantothenic Acid for Acne: Review

I have tried changing my diet to get rid of acne before. It did work well. However, there was a period of time when I could not follow the restrictions. My skin worsened. It made me wonder whether there is something lacking in my body that caused me to have persistent breakouts. This led to me researching and I found out about Pantothenic Acid for acne improvement. I will explain more about my experience taking Pantothenic Acid for acne, Vitamin B5 benefits for skin, and how to take Pantothenic Acid for acne. 

pantothenic acid for acne_pills

Vitamin B5 benefits for skin

Vitamin B5 is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential in our body metabolism, acting as a coenzyme in an energy-producing chemical reaction. It is also important to regulate blood sugar levels. There is no research that explicitly explains the role of vitamin B5 in acne control. However, there are theories out there that lay out some possible causation relationships between the vitamin and acne. One of them is that Vitamin B5 is required to produce Coenzyme A (CoA). This coenzyme is essential for fat metabolism and the production of hormones, to mention a few. With limited CoA, the priority is to use CoA to produce hormones leaving the lower levels of CoA available for fat metabolism. Consequently, the body can’t process fat effectively and it accumulates in the body; causing high sebum production and therefore acne. Here is how the vitamin B5 acne link was born.

How to take Pantothenic Acid for acne? 

There is a science-backed online source that recommends 750mg of Pantothenic Acid combined with 250 mg of L-carnitine for severe acne. If you have mild acne, you can reduce the dosage. The combination with L-carnitine is optional, but some people say that it helps to ‘boost’ the effect of Pantothenic Acid in regulating sebum production on the skin. Personally, I just took Pantothenic Acid without L-carnitine.

A lot of research mentions that it is okay to take a higher dose than recommended as long as you don’t go extremely high because the excess amount will go out from the body along with urine (given that the vitamin is water-soluble). You can choose to reduce the dosage after your skin clears up if you are worried about over-consuming the vitamin. Please do more research on this, especially if you have certain medical conditions.

Also, be mindful that whatever we take orally might interact with one another. Check out this article on what drugs/substances might interact with Pantothenic Acid.

Based on my experience, how effective is Pantothenic Acid for acne?

Pantothenic Acid did help me to a certain extent in controlling my acne. I stopped getting those angry red bumps on my face after consuming Pantothenic Acid two months ago. However, from my experience, I developed a dependency on this vitamin. When I stopped taking Pantothenic Acid for my skin, acne started to pop out again. 

If you want to try out taking Pantothenic Acid for acne and confirm the Vitamin B5 benefits for the skin, you should do it diligently for a few months at least. You will not see the effect in a few weeks’ time, not to mention overnight. The photo below shows my skin 2 months after Pantothenic Acid and Japanese water therapy.

pantothenic acid for acne_clear skin

Should you try Pantothenic Acid for acne then?

[Update from 2022] I am writing this final paragraph after I stopped taking this vitamin. From my personal experience, the side effect of stopping the intake is quite bad on my hair. I had a bad hair fall for a few months after I stopped taking Pantothenic Acid for acne. I read on Reddit that this is not uncommon, so watch out for this! There is a Youtube video by Dr. Dray that is very informative on Pantothenic Acid for acne and its efficacy. Check it out.

At the end of the day, every human body is built differently. What did not work for me might work wonderfully on some of you. I suggest you can give it a try, but observe how your body reacts to it. If it does not fit you, you can find other supplements that can help with your skin health. I have long switched to taking Zinc supplements, which have been working well for me for the past few years now. I cover my experience with Zinc supplement for acne in this other post, so check it out.

Learn about acne, skincare and skin health with me!

Sugar Acne Link: How Sugar Causes Acne

Some might not believe that there is a connection between food and acne. Specifically sugar and acne. You might say, “my friend always eat junk food and her skin is super clear. Is diet really important for acne?”, and my answer will be a resounding YES. Some people have genetic predisposition that makes them not prone to acne, and food will not affect the balance of their hormones and their skin health that much. But if you do have acne, you should not adopt the same lifestyle as they do. Previously, I have covered lifestyle changes for acne. In this post, we will discuss sugar acne relationship. There are many questions out there about “acne from sugar consumption” or “breakout from sugar consumption”. You also might wonder “why does sugar cause acne?”. We will discuss them here, so continue reading.

Why does sugar cause acne?

Our body needs sugar to function, however there is a possibility that sugar can cause acne. And some people are more prone to this than others. Let me explain the sugar acne relationship here. 

When you consume sugar or carbohydrates that get converted to sugar eventually, you will have spikes in blood sugar level. Spikes in blood sugar can cause a few things. First, inflammation throughout your body. Second, increased production of sebum/oil in your skin. A combination of inflammation and sebum production can lead to acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), scientists believe that low-glycemic diet can help with acne. 

Glycemic index refers to the ability of carbohydrate-containing food to increase blood sugar. Low glycemic index means the food will increase blood sugar in low amount, vice versa.

sugar acne_sugary food

How to prevent breakout from sugar consumption?

The answer is, limit sugar consumption in the first place! When I went to my nutritionist, she recommended me a diet based on the sugar acne relationship that we discussed above. The gist of the diet is to reduce inflammation in the body and regulate hormones. That can be achieved by avoiding consumption of anything that can cause inflammation and spike the hormones, including carbs/sugar. Other than that alcohol, caffeine, red meat are also in the list of things to avoid.

Diet to Regulate Hormones and Minimize Sugar

Restrictions on (means none or very minimum amount of):

  • Simple carbs including bread, rice, noodle, potato
  • Dairy (lactose is not good for skin and it might contain hormones from the cow as well)
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • High Glycemic Index fruits 
  • Red meat like pork/beef (because they have hormones injected to them by farmers)


  • Romaine salad to replace carbs, with tomato and cucumber as the main companions to the romaine. no mayonnaise for salad dressing
  • Fruits only limited to apple and orange. Half an apple or half an orange a day
  • Fish and chicken as protein source
  • Omega 3 and Vitamin C as every day supplements
  • Basking under the morning (8 am / 9 am) sun for 30 minutes every day

I went through with this diet for almost 2 years because I was so tired of my acne and breakouts. As a result from the diet, I felt very energized and healthy. Moreover, my skin has never been clearer and for the first time, I felt good in my own skin again. What’s better is that it is sustainable. Unlike your visits to dermatologist where they give you topical cream that might stop your acne. However, when you stop using the cream your acne comes back again, and it comes back worse than before.

sugar acne_clear skin

Given the sugar acne relationship, should you change your diet?

If you want to take the sustainable route of fixing your acne problem, this is worth trying. It sounds simple, but it is hard to maintain. However, it was worth it and I learnt a lot from this understanding of sugar acne relationship and from adopting the diet.

This diet taught me how:

  1. To be in control of my acne
  2. Our body works and how food may affect our skin health
  3. Not to rely on skincare products, but instead fix my imbalances from within

In the course of 2 years I did not always follow the restrictions to the T. I played around with recipes on my own. For example, if I craved rice, I substituted rice with quinoa (a better “grain” alternative). You will learn to be creative in this whole journey and it will also open up your horizon to the world of nutrition.

By changing your diet, not only that you can clear your acne, but you will also be healthier in the process. You may not need to adopt the diet too strictly over time, but you can learn what is your acne trigger and minimize its consumption. I shared my experience when I took the route of laser acne treatment, which did not solve the root cause of my acne. It is not only expensive, but also not effective.