Pre-menstrual acne is pimples that break out a week before your period is about to begin.
These breakouts may continue during menstruation, calming down afterwards. This condition is called menstrual acne. These pimples can be tiny spots or cystic acne.
Doctors usually recommend antibiotics before the periods. Needless to say, this is not a long-term solution, or a healthy one.
Enter vitamin B6. It is said that menstruation creates a deficiency of vitamin B6. Taking extra vitamin B6 during this time can help with acne.
In the medical world, vitamin B6 is known as Pyridoxine. Let’s see how to use this powerful vitamin for tackling menstrual flare ups.
In a clinical study, 106 teenage girls experiencing pre-menstrual acne were given 50 mg of vitamin B6 per day for one week before and during the menstrual period. This was done for 3 menstrual cycles, that is 3 months. At the end of the experiment, 72 % of them reported fewer pimples during their periods.
B6 does not look like a cure-all for acne, but can be used for a marked reduction in pre-menstrual flare ups.
Apart from acne, vitamin B6 can help reduce mental tension, tiredness, irritability and cramps, making it a good supplement for PMS as well as during menstruation. B6 is a good mood-uplifter.
How to use vitamin B6
You start taking 50 mg of vitamin B6 7 days before your expected menstruation start date. Continue to take it until your periods end, that is the day the bleeding stops. If your period lasts for 5 days, then you will be taking B6 for a total of 12 days in a month.
Water-soluble vitamins like B6 can be taken with food or before food, either way. Drink lots of water to ensure good absorption.
One of its side effects can be nausea. In that case, try to use it on a full stomach, after breakfast or lunch.
Safety of vitamin B6
You obviously do not want to do yourself any other kind of harm while trying to clear up acne. Vitamin B6 is pretty safe mainly because it is a water-soluble vitamin. That means, any extra amount that your body does not need gets passed out with urine.
There is one more issue. Taking vitamin B6 in large doses for a long time can create deficiency of other B vitamins. One way to keep balance is to use a B-complex supplement every day (Becosules-Z is one product) and then add in B6 a week before the periods.
Vitamin B6 can be safely taken by adults in doses of up to 100 mg per day.
Some studies have shown that mega doses of vitamin B6 can actually cause acne flare ups. So that is something to keep in mind as well. If you see flare ups increasing, stop taking it and the pimples will go away on their own.
Vitamin B6 brands in India
You do not have to throw away cash on imported brands in order to get vitamin B6. Check at your local medical store first.
Becosules and Becosules-Z, popular B-complex brands both contain vitamin B6 but only 3 mg, which is far less than the amount you will need. Look for 40-50 mg of it in whatever brand you buy.
These are some of the Indian and imported brands that you can use:
- Benadon by Bayer – 40 mg per tablet (Rs. 11.25 for 10 tablets)
- EC Morning tablets – 50 mg per tablet (Rs. 69 for 15 capsules) Also contains ginger to curb nausea
- Ingavit B6 50 mg per tablet (Rs. 15 for 10 tablets)
- Perivin 50 mg per tablet (Rs. 12 for 10 tablets)
- Vitamin Shoppe Vitamin B-6 100Mg (100 capsules for Rs. 700) You can take 1/2 a tablet per day
Disclaimer: this is not a recommendation to take vitamin B6, but simply information that you may use at your own discretion keeping in mind your particular health concerns. If you are unsure, consult with your doctor about the possibility of supplementing with vitamin B6.