Like all acne, acne on your upper back is caused by clogged pored resulting from a mixture of dead skin cells, dirt and oil. Some topical treatments may improve your skin while using them, but it is hard to reach your back, and once you stop them, your acne is likely to flare up again. High-dose vitamin supplements may help to treat your acne by providing you with antioxidants and skin-healing support. Vitamins should, however, only be taken under the supervision of a health-care professional.
If your back acne is the result of a vitamin deficiency, it can be hard to pinpoint what vitamins you are lacking. Also, many vitamins work synergistically and the intake of one may require an increased need for another. Start off by taking a high-dose multivitamin supplement daily. Choose one that does not contain iodine, however, because this mineral can worsen acne, according to Phyllis Balch in her book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing."
Vitamins A and D
Balch says that vitamin A is important for skin health and that it can help to strengthen the protective epithelial skin tissue. Ross Trattler, N.D., suggests in his book "Better Health through Natural Healing" that you take 50,000 to 100,000 IU of emulsified vitamin A daily until your acne is healed and then taking 5,000 IU daily thereafter. Vitamin D3 may also be helpful, and Balch says it promotes healing and tissue repair. Vitamin D also works synergistically with vitamin A and may enhance its effects. Balch recommends at least 400 IU daily of vitamin D. Alternatively, you can take a cod liver oil supplement because cod liver oil supplies both vitamin A and D as well as healthy omega-3 essential fatty acids.
B vitamin deficiencies are sometimes associated with acne, and Balch says that the B vitamins are important for skin health and tone. Balch recommends taking a B100 complex three times daily. B100 is a supplement that contains 100mg of all of the major B vitamins. B6 may be particularly beneficial if you suffer from menstrual-related acne because it prevents the uptake of, and sensitivity to, testosterone, says Trattler, who suggests taking 50 to 250mg of B6 twice daily if you suffer from hormonal acne.
Vitamins C and E
Vitamin C, an antioxidant, may also be beneficial, and Balch says it helps to support your immune system and reduce inflammation. It is also needed for collagen repair in the skin tissue, says Balch. She recommends taking 1,000 to 1,600mg of buffered vitamin C daily. Vitamin E is another antioxidant; it is thought to enhance tissue healing and repair. Balch suggests taking 400 IU daily of vitamin C and choosing a supplement that contains the d-alpha-tocopherol form for maximum absorption.
- "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis Balch; 2003
- "Better Health through Natural Healing"; Ross Trattler, N.D.; 2001