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Can Vitamin B Cause Acne?



Vitamin B6 and/or vitamin B12 taken in high doses can cause acne.

Isolated Study Concludes Vitamin B Caused Acne

Though there has been little supporting research, an article published in a German medical journal noted that patients being treated with vitamin B6 and/or B12 experienced acne outbreaks for the duration of the treatment.  Women were most frequently affected.  The acne outbreaks appeared most notably on the forehead and chin, and the upper parts of the back and chest spreading to the upper portion of the arm.  The authors also noted that the rash quickly subsided with the cessation of the vitamin B treatments.

What Is Vitamin B?

Vitamin B-12 is an essential vitamin necessary to make DNA, and maintains the health of nerve cells and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 can be food in dairy products, fish, shellfish, and meat.  The body has the ability to store vitamin B12 for years so the risk of deficiency is extremely low. Those at risk would be strict vegetarians, the elderly, breastfed infants, and those compromised by other factors.



Braun-Falco, O, and H Lincke. “The Problem of Vitamin B6/B12 Acne. A Contribution on Acne Medicamentosa.” MMW, Manchener medizinische Wochenschrift 118.6 (1976): 156-160. National Center for Biotechnology Information. Web. 21 July 2010.

“Disease, Condition, & Injury Fact Sheets | NYU Langone Medical Center.” NYU Langone Medical Center . N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2010.

“Vitamin B12 –” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – N.p., n.d. Web. 27 July 2010.


Expert Opinion

Quote: “B6 is the most important of the B vitamins for skin care since it helps to convert the essential fatty acids in your body into anti-inflammatory substances called prostaglandins….and most important for the purpose of preventing recurrence of acne, promoting and retaining healthy skin.”

Source: Terry J. Dubrow MD
Excerpt: The Acne Cure…Grand Central Publishing

Quote: “The cream Papulex does contain nicotinamide, which is vitamin B3. It is thought to help stop the bacterium P. acnes from multiplying. There is no evidence, though, that taking a vitamin B supplement has the same effect.”

Source: Acne: The at Your Fingertips Guide
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