Action Plan for Fixing Acne

The updated to-do list to fix acne (is subject to change based on new data):

These are best utilized in conjunction (follow as many as you can)

1. Broad Spectrum Probiotic or fermented food daily

2. Gamma Linolenic Acid Supplement like Evening Primrose oil, Borage Seed oil, or Spirulina daily (standardized to 50-200 mg GLA daily).  A serving of hemp seeds once or twice a week should do the trick as well, as it is a good source of GLA.

3. Omega 3s in diet or fish oil supplement (supplemental foods like sardines, salmon, or anchovies 3x a week will work)

4. 600 mg of N-Acetylcysteine and 100 mcg of selenium, per this study (NAC is particularly helpful if you have comorbid ‘mental’ illness, such as OCD, substance addiction, or depression):

5. Low-Glycemic Load diet, with sufficient levels of vaccenic acid (found in butter, whole milk, meat, etc.)  Lots of veggies as well.  Check out for a breakdown of the components of various vegetables

6. Magnesium Citrate or Magnesium Glycinate daily (leafy greens will suffice– magnesium is at the center of the chlorophyll molecule, which gives plants their green color)

7. 1-3 grams of Taurine per day (if overweight/fasting blood glucose over 85) (buy it in bulk as it is dirt cheap)

8. 15 mg elemental Zinc (don’t take too much as it can induce a copper deficiency)

9.  Mother Dirt probiotic skin spray (going to swim in a lake, pond, or ocean is probably a viable and free  alternative to this fairly expensive product)

9. OPTIONAL: 100 mg Mixed Tocopherols (contains all forms of vitamin E, not just alpha-tocopherol) or a serving of almonds  per day.  Here is an interesting study on almonds and inflammation





    1. I think fish oil or fish is best, particularly if you are of Northern European ancestry. Some people have better enzyme activity that converts omega 3s and 6s down the chain. If you are going to use flax, do some research and I would imagine a higher dose would be needed. This test : will show you whether or not the flaxseed is converting effectively for a relatively cheap price, if you are interested. I am not affiliated with them or anything, just all about the #s!

      1. that’s what i’m currently taking. i bet there’s stuff that i don’t need in there but i’ve also noticed a change in my skin tone and in the amount of active pimples i get — some of it is working. why i really opted for it was the ease of it; they all come portioned in small pouches. perfect for someone who has to travel a lot.

        how much EPA/DHA do you recommend? i looked into some of the nordic naturals products, especially seems interesting. should i still take the flaxseed oil with it or just throw it away? the one with the added vitamin D3 in it also caught my eye but the EPA/DHA levels are considerably lower.

      2. That is the question of the day! I would probably recommend going off of this study: although the dose is a bit extreme if you are planning on taking it for the long haul. So maybe a fish oil with 1 g of EPA or so might be a more sustainable dose, which would be half the dose used in the study. Personally I don’t take fish oil, I just go out of my way to eat sardines and salmon and then monitor the levels.

  1. GLA and Omega 3s definitely helped me out. Noticeably less breakouts and the ones I do get seem to die out a lot faster. Now I’m thinking of adding probiotics and magnesium to my regimen as suggested here. How much magnesium daily do you recommend?

    1. Great to hear. Magnesium dosage varies, ideally get RBC magnesium tested and get it above 5, but usually about 400 mg of magnesium citrate per day or so. Just use a form that absorbs well (not magnesium oxide).

  2. Some pretty interesting stuff here.

    I travel a lot, and I was wondering if the Nordic Naturals 3 6 9 product you recommend needs to be kept refrigerated after opening it? I went thru their FAQs as well and didn’t find an answer.

    Just out of interest; what are your thoughts about zinc and why isn’t it listed here?

    1. Not sure about the refrigeration part. I know they sell capsules too which shouldn’t need refrigeration. I am also a fan of spirulina which doesn’t need refrigeration.
      As far as zinc goes I am not sure. I think it varies based on the individual but I pretty much gave myself a copper deficiency by excessive zinc supplementation over time (I will post the test soon, it was Metametrix though). I think zinc goes with the diet: if you eat red meat or oysters as a regular part of your diet you should be ok.
      Also I have seen some studies indicating that inflammation can cause a lower zinc status, so simply supplementing zinc may or may not solve the problem: it is bidirectional. Subject 3 had her zinc levels tested and they were normal and she has acne, so unless other tests indicate otherwise I haven’t yet included it.

  3. OK this is not really related to acne but do you know any supplement or anything that could help with oily skin? I started eating some vitamin D after I found out my levels were way too low. It has definitely helped some for reasons unknown to me but nose is still good for an oil slick several times a day.

    1. I would definitely look into Retinol (vitamin A), from beef liver or cod liver oil. Be careful not to overdo them though. You could also get a test if you want to measure it to look into retinol binding protein, or spectracell will show you vitamin A levels. Accutane is actually a derivative of retinol.

      Also reduce insulin load through eliminating refined carbs and sugars.

      1. I barely eat refined carbs and sugars, but I’ll definitely look into vitamin A. I’m pretty much clear since I added the omegas mentioned here to my diet, now if I could just get rid of this oiliness.

  4. Ok first of all I stumbled on your site thru reddit. I went thru the so called action plan and I thought to myself hey I’ve tried this all and none of it helped. The only things I hadn’t tried yet were magnesium and taurine. I knew my father always had some magnesium to help with his joint pain so I decided to give it a go, and started taking magnesium every evening before going to bed.

    I noticed the difference at one week mark. I still had some active blemishes on my face but I wasn’t getting any new ones. At first I thought to myself it was just a good day and by the time I wake up next I would be disappointed again. I’m a day or two past the two week mark now and I’m still to have a new blemish show up.

    The one I’m currently taking has both 375mg magnesium and 3mg B6 to help with the absorption, I guess. It’s dirt cheap and I don’t know why but it seems to work. Thank you!

    1. Glad to help! It is awesome you are testing things out and seeing what works! B6 and Magnesium are involved in a lot of the same biochemical processes, so it is smart to take them together (I do the same). Check what kind of magnesium you are taking, and if you are looking for an upgrade try magnesium citrate or glycinate. has an interesting article on magnesium and the various absorption rates of each type:

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