Home > Library > ★ Acne Vulgaris & the role of Vitamin C in its prevention & treatment.

Acne vulgaris is the most common inflammatory skin disorder and can be deeply distressing to all those effected by it which is why I decided to write this article.

A year or so ago my youngest Son began to develop acne on his face, shoulders and back. As a homeopath who has studied nutrition, I put him on an anti inflammatory diet and I gave him supplements and homeopathic remedies and that all helped significantly and the rash improved, but the acne persisted and a few months ago, my son asked me to take him to see his Dr.

I really like our Dr, she diagnosed my Son’s appendicitis in 2012 and she’s always been very supportive of diet and homeopathy. She confirmed that his skin rash was Acne Vulgaris and taking everything into consideration, she suggested a long course of weak antibiotics and a retinol/sodium hydroxide cream, both of which, as a Homeopath I am extremely apposed to. However, my son was the one with the skin eruption and he wanted to try the treatment so I stepped back.

Two months later, there was very little if any change to his skin and so I decided to try making a Vitamin C Skin Treatment Gel containing Sodium ascorbyl phosphate. I had read all the studies and as my son had tried both diet, homeopathy and conventional methods, I felt we had nothing to lose.

My son has been using the Vitamin C Treatment Gel that I made for him once or twice daily, he’s a teenager so he sometimes forgets but he is absolutely 100% sure that it significantly helps to manage his Acne and his facial acne is now longer distinguishable from the very normal occasional spot. He has no blemishes, no scarring and he feels perfectly happy. He still experiences acne on his back and shoulders but this is because he doesn't often treat the area with Vitamin C Gel, when he does, it tends to diminish dramatically withing just a few days.

It is important to know that Acne comes from the inside, it just shows itself on the outside. Scrubbing the skin with harsh chemicals will only ever make it worse. As a Homeopath and Nutritionist I know that Acne is caused by inflammation, often triggered by a variation of causes including food intolerance,
malabsorption issues and hormonal changes. In my experience, the inflammation most often originates in the gut, but not always.

Any parents of teenagers reading this will know how hard it is, impossible even to keep a teenager on a specific diet. My son had to have his appendix out in 2012 and he developed Acne in 2014, I believe these two things are linked. He has also been prone to digestive disturbances since he was a baby but apart from being lactose intolerant, a gluten free diet has only helped a little, what he really needs to do is an elimination diet and completely give up all sources of refined sugar but that’s a decision, he’ll have to make on his own. I can’t force him.

In the mean time, he continues to use my Vitamin C Treatment Gel which has been blended with the addition of Pine bark extract, Green Tea extract and Equisetum, a water soluble form of naturally occurring Silica. What we have observed is that the research suggesting that Sodium ascorbyl phosphate is an effective antioxidant cosmetic ingredient that can help in the prevention and treatment of Acne Vulgaris is absolutely right. More than this, SAP Vitamin C also fades blemishes and sun spots and is a vital component of Collagen.

My Vitamin C Treatment Gel significantly reduces the inflammation and although my son still has mild Acne, it doesn't effect how he feels about himself. We know it’s the Vitamin C Treatment Gel that is helping because if he doesn’t use it for a week or two, his skin flares up again.

I am writing this article not to try and tout my skincare products but because I know that there is something in the world that is natural, safe and effective to help treat and manage this difficult to treat skin disorder and I would like people to know that even Homeopath Nutritionist Mums have children that suffer with Acne. It’s not your fault!

Acne is just one of those things, it’s a tough cookie to crack, but now you know that Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a precursor for Vitamin C can help.

★ Please Note: Vitamin C (L ascorbic acid) powder from the health food shop is NOT the same thing as SAP Vitamin C. Applying L ascorbic acid to the skin can be dangerous because it's very acidic. It is also a very unstable chemical that reacts in the presence of light and air to quickly degrade into Dehydroascorbic acid (DHA) an oxidized form of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which is not good for the skin

What else can help prevent and treat Acne Vulgaris?

Diet and exercise and two very important aspects to treating and preventing Acne.

It is imperative to understand that our immune system is centrifugal in nature, this means it will always seek to discharge inflammation as far away as possible from the bodies most important organs such as the heart, lungs and liver. The old adage 'better out than in' is absolutely true when it comes to the immune system's way of dealing with inflammation.

The Skin is the outside of our inside and it is our external digestion, it is also an excretory organ, It excretes toxins and inflammation out of the skin onto and into the skin.

There are many reasons why there may be inflammation occurring within the body. Inflammation is a protective mechanism that is triggered by the immune system to alert us to a problem and to begin the process of elimination. The process is very complicated and this article is only a very brief outline of this process.

Sometimes the immune system appears to create inflammation without any apparent cause that we can find and this is called an auto immune disease. Lupus is one such disease and auto immune diseases are outside the scope of this article.

The main causes of inflammation come from the environment and from diet.

1) Environmental causes of inflammation.

Pollution and air born irritants can cause inflammation in the lungs which can lead to asthma. The inflammation occurs as a response to the immune systems reaction to the airborn particles by creating an allergic reaction, this process creates a histamine reaction which creates the symptoms we associate with hay fever, rhinitis and asthma. The skin can be involved with the production of hives or the worsening of eczema.

STRESS is a big contributing factor to inflammation in the body. The easiest way to understand how stress can cause inflammation is to think of Anger. Anger is emotional and mental inflammation that can also cause physical inflammation.

2) Dietary causes of inflammation

A diet that is deficient in fresh, healthy food and that is too rich in fried food, sugar, refined carbohydrates and refined fats and oils can lead to an imbalance of the digestive system which can lead to inflammation such as Acne Vulgaris.

The hormones released by our endocrine system are there to help regulate us but if they become out of balance, they can cause inflammation and illness. Diabetes and Thyroid disorders are two inflammatory diseases caused by diet effecting our hormone production.

In both of these cases the skin can become involved, inflammation of the mucus membranes can often lead to raised, red, hot and itchy skin eruptions. Inflammation of the digestive tract can lead to skin rashes, pustules, cystic acne, pimples, redness & congestion

Nutritional deficiencies can also lead to inflammation within the body. A deficiency of sunlight can cause Vitamin D deficiency, B Vitamin Deficiencies and low Glutathione levels can also cause deficiencies and contribute to inflammatory conditions. If you think you may have a deficiency, your Dr will be able to help you find out more.

Further help -

A Professional Nutritionist is able to analyse your diet and tell you if it is contributing to your skin condition.

If you would like to ask me any questions about this article, please don’t hesitate to email me maeve@naturalwisdom.co.uk


Int J Cosmet Sci. 2005 Jun;27(3):171-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2494.2005.00263.x.
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate shows in vitro and in vivo efficacy in the prevention and treatment of acne vulgaris.
Klock J1, Ikeno H, Ohmori K, Nishikawa T, Vollhardt J, Schehlmann V.
Author information

Acne vulgaris is the most common inflammatory skin disorder and jeopardizes seriously the facial impression of a person. Development of acne involves a complex relation among several causes. Treatment and prevention success can be archived by affecting the main contributors positively like Proprionibacterium acnes or lipid oxidation leading to inflammatory reactions and follicular keratinization. Vitamin C tends to break down in cosmetic formulations resulting in a brownish discoloration. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) represents a stable precursor of vitamin C that ensures a constant delivery of vitamin C into the skin. We were able to show that 1% SAP has a strong antimicrobial effect with a log reduction of 5 after 8 h on P. acnes in a time-kill study. Further on in a human in vivo study with 20 subjects an SAP O/W formulation significantly prevents the UVA-induced sebum oxidation up to 40%. Finally, we performed an open in vivo study with 60 subjects with a 5% SAP lotion over 12 weeks. The efficacy ranked as excellent and good of SAP was 76.9%, which was superior compared with a widely prescribed acne treatment. In conclusion, these data show that SAP is efficient in the prevention and treatment of acne vulgaris. SAP can be used in a non-antibiotic and effective treatment or co-treatment of acne with no side effects, which makes it particularly attractive for cosmetic purposes.