Learn how the same yeast used to brew beer can also help clear your skin.


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Stopping Acne with Brewer's Yeast

Brewer's yeast supplements pack an acne-fighting punch.


Considering that alcohol is often blamed for making acne flare up, you'd be forgiven for not thinking of brewer's yeast as a smart addition to a skin-healthy diet. This single-celled fungus is most commonly used in baking and the brewing of beer, but it also happens to be helpful in combating breakouts.


Research going back to the 1980's has repeatedly shown that supplementing with brewer's yeast can result in clearer skin, with about 80% of the subjects in a double-blind study reporting fewer blemishes and a significantly improved complexion.


What makes brewer's yeast so effective?


One look at the ingredients will tell you why this yeast is prized for its skin care benefits. Among those ingredients are several key minerals: chromium, selenium and zinc. If you've checked out our minerals for acne guide, you'll recognize that these are all among the top minerals for keeping your skin clear. They're also commonly lacking in the average western diet. Brewer's yeast is especially rich in GTF (Glucose Tolerance Factor), a biologically active form of chromium that is efficient at removing excess sugar from your blood. It's also helpful for your circulation, reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and increasing HDL (good cholesterol).


Some have likened the results to vitamin B5 acne treatment, and while brewer's yeast works in a different way, it does contain vitamin B5 (just not a treatment-level dose), along with most of the B-family of vitamins (excluding B12). It's actually quite similar to taking a B-complex supplement, only with additional ingredients that may benefit your skin even more. It certainly doesn't hurt that it's a good source of protein, as high-protein diets can aid in reducing blemishes.


A note of caution: While many B vitamins are great for keeping your skin clear (just look at our acne vitamins guide), too much of certain ones may cause a negative reaction. For instance, the niacin in brewer's yeast may cause your skin to flush if you combine it with even more niacin via a B-complex. As such, you're better off taking one supplement or the other, not both.


How should I take it for best results?


Brewer's yeast is available as both a solid supplement and a powder. Many prefer taking the tablets or capsules for the perfectly understandable reason that the powder can taste pretty unappetizing. No worries, it's an effective acne remedy either way. If you're using tablets, you'll want to take 1-2 500mg tablets after each meal. First-time users will occasionally experience the unpleasant side effects of nausea or diarrhea, but the chances of you experiencing this are reduced if you take the supplements on a full stomach.


If you can handle the taste, taking 1-2 tablespoons of the powder per day may give you slightly quicker results, as the ingredients are absorbed into your bloodstream at a faster, higher rate. It's still recommended to time your intake alongside a meal, and you can mix the powder into water or juice to make the flavor a little more bearable.


Brewer's yeast can also be applied topically


Although it's more popular to take it internally, you can also apply brewer's yeast directly to your skin. The powder mixes easily with water, milk or yogurt to produce a paste that can be used as a facial mask. Try mixing 2 parts yeast and 1 part honey, then slowly adding milk until the mixture forms an even paste. Massage it into your skin and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing off. Note that it can have a fairly strong smell, so you may want to avoid using this mask before going out. Adding something with a sweet aroma (blended fruit works well) may help alleviate the yeasty odor.


While it might not do anything for your circulation or blood-sugar, topically applied brewer's yeast can still aid with cleansing your pores and strengthening your skin tissue. Many report seeing fewer surface-level blemishes after regular use of the facial mask. I would recommend starting with the supplements if you have moderate or worse acne, but however you use it, the powerful ingredients in this remedy make it worth checking out.


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