A nonbinary queer person with a face mask for hormonal testosterone acne
Endometriosis, Menopause and Andropause, Prism Blog, Self Care for Trans Health

Can Vitamins Treat Hormonal Acne?

Vitamin B5 supplementation can reduce acne caused by testosterone!

B5, also known as pantothenic acid, limits oil production in the sebaceous glands of the skin, a common cause of acne. Testosterone causes these glands to produce more oil, so vitamin B5 reverses this process, without counteracting any of the other desirable effects of T.

Doses of 500mg up to 5 g a day were used in the study, however 5mg is the standard recommended dose. It’s safer to start with a smaller dose and work your way up; I wouldn’t recommend going higher than 1g a day without working with a healthcare provider. Also, be cautious with any supplements if you are using oral testosterone, as it can be very hard on the liver.

B5 can also help lower cholesterol, which can be important with long-term testosterone use. It also helps speed wound healing and can be helpful for rheumatoid arthritis.

B5 is available in the diet, though it is often lost in processing, so fresh foods have significantly higher amounts than processed foods. The best sources are brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, corn, cauliflower, kale, broccoli, tomatoes, avocado, egg yolks, beef (especially organ meats), poultry, milk, legumes, peanuts, sunflower seeds, whole-grains, lobster, and salmon. Soybeans and sweet potatoes also contain large amounts, but be cautious with them as they have an estrogenic effect.

B5 is a water soluble vitamin, so it’s not stored in your body if you take too much (unlike vitamin D), but it does need to be filtered out by your body to get rid of it, which can stress your liver and kidneys. Overdose on B5 can cause diarrhea, an increased risk of bleeding, and a deficiency of other B vitamins, especially B1/thiamin. For this last reason, you may consider taking a B complex rather than just B5.

B5 can interfere with tetracycline (an antibiotic) function, so don’t take them at the same time. It can also increase the effects of certain alzheimer’s medications so should be used with caution if taking Donepezil, Memantine hydrochloride, Galantamine, Rivastigime, or other Cholinesterase inhibitors.

One study noted that taking L-carnitine along with B5 supplementation allowed patients to take higher amounts, since L-carnitine aids in the breakdown and absorption of B5. The study recommended 250mg a day, though the standard dose is up to 3 g a day. It is important to note, however, that the addition of l-carnitine can actually cause smoother skin with smaller pores (the opposite of testosterone’s effects), and weight loss; so consider whether you want those effects before taking it. High doses can cause diarrhea, increased appetite, body odor, and rash. L-carnitine can also make thyroid hormone replacement less effective; it can be beneficial for those with hyperthyroidism, but detrimental to those with hypothyroidism. It can also increase the risk of seizures in people with epilepsy.


All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

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