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Does B12 Cause Acne? (HINT: It Depends)

A common question that has been asked around is, "Does B12 cause acne?" On the surface, this question may seem confusing. After all, how can a vitamin, especially a water-soluble vitamin like B12, cause skin problems? This article will address this question head-on, offering a comprehensive, science-backed perspective on the interplay between vitamin B12 and acne.

This article will go beyond the question "Does B12 cause acne?" and touch upon related topics like the role of skin bacteria in acne patients, the different types of acne such as cystic acne and inflammatory acne, the impact of gene expression and the effect of various factors on acne development and more.

Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment

Biggest Take-Aways:

  • High levels of B12, particularly from supplements, can alter the gene expression of skin bacteria like P. acnes, potentially leading to inflammation and acne.

  • Responses to B12 can vary significantly due to individual factors like genetic differences in B12 metabolism and conditions like pernicious anaemia.

  • Other B vitamins can also impact skin health and potentially contribute to acne or other skin conditions, while B12 might have roles beyond acne.

  • Exposed Skin Care, with its balanced formulation of science-backed and natural ingredients, offers both immediate and long-term benefits for managing acne effectively.

Supplement facts on jar of multivitamin complex

Vitamin B12: An Overview

Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a vital nutrient necessary for many functions in the human body. It is crucial for the formation of red blood cells, the functioning of the nervous system, and the health of our DNA. Moreover, B12 plays a pivotal role in maintaining our mental health and overall well-being.

Natural Sources of Vitamin B12

The primary sources of Vitamin B12 are animal products and certain enriched foods. For instance, you can find B12 in nutritional yeast, dairy products, and breakfast cereals fortified with this vitamin.

The Relationship Between Vitamin B12 and Skin

There's an inherent link between certain vitamins, including B12, and our skin health. That's why many skincare products include vitamins as key ingredients. Vitamin B12, in particular, has been implicated in a number of skin conditions, leading researchers to ask, "Can vitamin B12 cause skin problems?"

Does Vitamin B12 Cause Acne?

An initial foray into the question "Does B12 cause acne?" reveals a complex answer. According to research by the Mount Sinai Medical Center, Vitamin B12 supplements can potentially trigger acne development in certain individuals.

This is where the story of skin bacteria comes in. Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, a common acne bacteria found in our skin microbiota, plays a significant role. This bacterium is typically present on every individual's skin, but it can cause acne breakouts when it infiltrates the pores of the skin, especially in acne-prone skin.

P. acnes' gene expression patterns can significantly alter due to excess vitamins, specifically B12. This alteration in gene expression can cause the skin bacteria to produce substances that promote inflammation and, consequently, lead to the development of acne vulgaris, the most common form of acne.

Young women with problematic skin and pimples on head

Does Acne From B12 Go Away?

In most cases, acne that has developed due to an excess of vitamin B12 tends to subside once the excess vitamins are removed from the body's system. This is because the alteration of the acne gene expression pattern that led to the acne in the first place is reversed.

How Much B12 Causes Breakouts?

The amount of B12 that might cause breakouts can vary from person to person, depending on factors like skin type, diet, etc. However, it's generally understood that excessive consumption of oral supplements of B12 is what can potentially lead to acne breakouts.

Why Do B12 Supplements Cause Acne?

The main reason B12 supplements can lead to acne development is their potential to alter the gene expression of skin bacteria, as mentioned above. A clinical assistant professor at the Mount Sinai Medical Center has posited that high levels of B12 can lead to the P. acnes bacteria producing more porphyrins. This compound promotes inflammation and breakouts.

Lady scientist performing bacteria colony examination

Interplay of Skin Bacteria and B12 in Acne Patients

A deeper understanding of the relationship between skin bacteria and Vitamin B12 is critical in the fight against acne. Here is how the two interact:

  1. Acnes Gene Expression Altered: In acne patients, the gene expression of the P. acnes bacterium is significantly altered due to the excess Vitamin B12. This, in turn, leads to acne development.

  2. P. Acnes Growing: In an environment rich in Vitamin B12, P. acnes bacteria can proliferate, leading to more severe acne breakouts.

  3. Promotion of Inflammation: The excessive vitamin B12 in the body can lead the P. acnes bacteria to produce inflammatory substances that exacerbate acne.

How to Maintain Clear Skin Despite B12 Supplements

While it's clear that Vitamin B12 can potentially cause acne, it's also crucial to understand that this doesn't mean you must entirely avoid it. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient that our body needs. It is about maintaining a balance.

Here are some tips for maintaining clear skin, even if you're taking B12 supplements:

  • Well-Balanced Diet: Maintaining a diet rich in vitamins and minerals is vital. Foods naturally high in Vitamin B12 should not cause the same problem as overconsuming B12 supplements. Animal products, fortified breakfast cereals, and nutritional yeast are excellent sources.

  • Maintain a Regular Skincare Regimen: Cleansing your skin regularly can help keep P. acnes at bay. Using a cleanser with salicylic acid can help reduce inflammation and prevent acne breakouts. Make sure to moisturize your skin as well.

  • Healthy Lifestyle: Getting enough sleep, regular exercise, and maintaining your mental health can all contribute to clear skin. Stress, in particular, can trigger breakouts, so finding ways to relax and unwind can benefit acne-prone individuals.

Curvy woman doing jogging routine outdoor at city

Individual Differences in B12 Metabolism and Acne Development

When exploring the question, "Does B12 cause acne?" it is important to acknowledge that everyone is unique. As per new research, one's individual metabolic processes, including those involved in Vitamin B12 absorption and utilization, may influence the propensity to develop acne.

Vitamin B12 is crucial for the proper functioning of the human body. It is involved in the formation of red blood cells and the functioning of the nervous system. However, individuals can differ significantly in how they metabolize this vitamin. In some instances, due to conditions such as pernicious anaemia, the body may struggle to absorb enough B12 from diet alone, necessitating supplementation.

Interestingly, this supplementation has been found to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it addresses the deficiency, but on the other hand, it can potentially lead to the same problem of acne development. This highlights the need to consider individual metabolic differences when assessing the impact of B12 on skin health.

The Relationship Between Other B Vitamins and Acne

New research has shown that B12 might not be the only B vitamin implicated in acne development. Other vitamins in the B complex have also been observed to cause acne potentially.

For instance, excess supplementation of vitamins B6 and B12 has been linked to an increased prevalence of acne in certain individuals. Similar to B12, these vitamins may affect the gene expression of skin bacteria, leading to acne breakouts.

However, it's crucial to note that these findings don't mean all B vitamins are problematic. B vitamins are essential in our overall health, and a balanced intake is still recommended. Furthermore, it's clear that other factors, such as diet, lifestyle, genetics, and overall health, significantly contribute to whether an individual develops acne.

Role of Vitamin B12 in Other Skin Conditions

While our focus here is primarily on acne, Vitamin B12 has been implicated in other skin conditions as well, highlighting its broader role in skin health.

B12 is a key player in cell production, and healthy skin cells are crucial for maintaining a clear and vibrant complexion. B12 deficiency, therefore, can lead to various dermatological manifestations, including hyperpigmentation, hair changes, and vitiligo.

Conversely, too much B12, often from supplementation, could potentially lead to adverse effects such as rosacea, a skin condition characterized by redness and visible blood vessels.

Woman with rosacea

It's also noteworthy that B12 supplementation repressed the expression of certain skin proteins in studies, leading to alterations in skin health.

Thus, maintaining an optimal balance of B12 is vital not just for preventing acne but also for maintaining overall skin health.

Harnessing the Benefits of Exposed Skin Care for Acne Management

Exposed Skin Care is a prominent name in acne management. This comprehensive skincare line leverages both science and nature to deliver a potent one-two punch against acne.

Exposed Skin Care Ultimate Kit

Here are some of the notable benefits of using Exposed Skin Care for managing acne:

  • Effective Ingredients: The products are packed with scientifically-proven ingredients that combat acne, such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. They also contain natural extracts that soothe inflammation and promote skin health.

  • Balanced Formulation: The blend of scientific and natural components means the products are powerful against acne but still gentle on the skin, minimizing the chances of a negative reaction.

  • Long-Term Results: Initial benefits such as reduced inflammation and fewer breakouts can be seen relatively quickly. However, the real strength of Exposed Skin Care lies in its long-term results. Regular, consistent use can help prevent future breakouts and promote healthier skin over time.

Prior studies have underscored these benefits, confirming that Exposed Skin Care can be an effective part of a comprehensive acne management strategy. No matter the skin type or the severity of acne, Exposed Skin Care offers a well-rounded solution that works to not only treat existing acne but also prevent future breakouts.


The connection between B12, specifically in high levels from supplements, and acne is firmly rooted in the changes it triggers in the skin bacteria, particularly P. acnes. The altered gene expression increases inflammation, potentially resulting in acne development. However, it's essential to consider individual differences, including genetics and conditions like pernicious anaemia, which can significantly influence responses to B12.

We've also discovered that B12 isn't the only B vitamin that can affect skin health. Other members of the B vitamin family may also contribute to acne or other skin conditions. Moreover, the role of B12 may extend to other skin issues, signalling the need for more comprehensive research in these areas.

While other studies confirm these findings, the complex interactions between B12, our genes, and our skin bacteria necessitate ongoing research. A deeper understanding of these relationships will undoubtedly lead to more effective and personalized treatment strategies for those struggling with acne and other skin conditions.

A well-balanced skincare solution like Exposed Skin Care can be a vital tool for managing acne. Infused with both science-backed and natural ingredients, these products offer immediate benefits like reduced inflammation and fewer breakouts. More importantly, they promote healthier skin in the long run, preventing future breakouts and promoting overall skin well-being. Thus, while we continue to unravel the mysteries of B12 and acne, Exposed Skin Care provides a reliable approach to keep acne at bay and foster skin health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does acne from B12 go away?

Yes, in most cases, acne that has developed due to an excess of vitamin B12 tends to subside once the excess vitamins are removed from the body's system.

Why do B12 supplements cause acne?

B12 supplements can cause acne because high levels of B12 can lead to the P. acnes bacteria producing more porphyrins, a compound that promotes inflammation and breakouts.

Can vitamin B12 cause skin problems?

Excessive intake of Vitamin B12, especially through supplements, can potentially cause skin problems like acne due to the vitamin's impact on the gene expression of skin bacteria.

How much B12 causes breakouts?

The exact amount of B12 that might cause breakouts can vary from person to person, depending on factors like skin type, diet, and other factors. However, excessive consumption of B12 is generally what can potentially lead to acne breakouts.

What other factors can cause acne?

Other factors that can cause acne include hormonal changes, certain medications, diet, stress, and certain diseases.

What are other ways to get B12 without supplements?

You can get B12 through your diet, particularly from foods like nutritional yeast, fortified breakfast cereals, and animal products.