Skip the Vitamin B12 to Avoid Acne Breakouts

Vitamin B12 has been shown to trigger pimple-promoting chemicals in even normal skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).

Vitamin B12 has been shown to trigger pimple-promoting chemicals in even normal skin bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).

The latest research published in Science Translational Medicine was led by Huiying Li, MD, assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Noah Craft, MD, dermatologist, LA BioMed, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Huiying, Geffen, and their team had hypothesized that “host vitamin B12 modulates the activities of the skin microbiota and contributes to acne pathogenesis.”

To test their hypothesis, the research team gathered a cohort of healthy individuals and administered vitamin B12 to analyze their skin microbiota. One of 10 patients was found to develop acne one week following administration of vitamin B12.

The results indicated that the supplements actually repressed the “expression of vitamin B12 biosynthesis genes in P. acnes” — incidentally modifying the skin microbiota’s transcriptome.

Furthermore, the supplement appeared to promote the production of porphyrins, a group of compounds having been known to spike acne inflammation.

Ultimately, the researchers realized that by understanding the mechanism behind B12’s active role in acne manifestations, UCLA could pave the road in identifying drug targets to potentially develop new acne treatments.