It’s amazing how some of the cheapest natural substances tend to produce outstanding results when fighting acne breakouts and scars. For instance, Vitamin C is probably the cheapest, most widespread and easily obtainable supplement that has the potential of substantially reducing acne.
Then there is aloe vera, Vitamin E, Manooka oil and some obscurely named plants from far corners of the world like saw palmetto and guggul gum, and while those are a bit more difficult to find and usually cost more than other products, there is one substance that is all-natural, cheaper than dirt (literally) and wields massive anti-acne properties.
We are talking about methylsulfonylmethane, most commonly known as MSM. If you haven’t heard the term before you’ll be shocked by the amount of people who swear by its name, claiming it to be the best thing since sliced bread in terms of combating acne.
However, we all know how it goes, things can’t be that simple: if something is cheap, natural and actually works tremendously, it smells fishy. Well, that may be true for many cases, but this time, you’ve stumbled upon a goldmine. Let’s explore what MSM is, why it’s perfect for clearing acne (and acne scars), how to use it and where to buy it.
MSM’s main components are methyl, sulfur and oxygen, and it forms when dimethyl sulfide (a very common gas produced by sea-inhabiting bacteria that provides the sea smell) reacts with the ozone layer and UV light in the atmosphere. It’s delivered to the earth with the rain, which allows MSM to reach the roots of various veggies and fruits that we eat on a daily basis.
MSM can be used both internally and externally to combat acne and acne scars.
Why is MSM Good for Combating Acne?
What makes MSM amazing for combating acne is its 3 following properties, which are extremely effective for directly and indirectly reducing and eliminating the formation of pimples, cysts, whiteheads and blackheads.
1. Strong Anti-inflammatory Properties
MSM is very good at controlling the immune system, particularly when it comes to dealing with chronic inflammatory conditions and diseases including rosacea, various forms of arthritis and of course, acne. There are a number of studies that can back this up. In simple words, having anti-inflammatory properties means that MSM can calm existing blemishes, reduce the formation of new zits and improve the overall skin condition.
2. Antioxidant Boosting Properties
MSM has the ability to serve as building material for glutathione, the main antioxidant that the human body produces. Antioxidants help increase the durability and resilience of the skin, making it less prone to acne and various chronic diseases. People who suffer from systematic breakouts generally have around 20% less glutathione than average, which is a big cause of acne formation.
The only instance where this property will prove ineffective is if your body already produces enough amounts of glutathione and taking MSM won’t increase it further, meaning that there is another cause to your breakouts.
3. Boosting Collagen Production, Strengthening the Skin and Detoxifying the Body
MSM is an extremely strong detoxifier, forcing various toxins to quickly move out of the bloodstream, which essentially means less chances for acne formation. It also boosts collagen production, which is a prime component that gives skin its resilience and defends against pollution, chemicals in cosmetics, sunlight and a bunch more factors that can induce breakouts.
The key ingredient here is sulfur. The importance of sulfur in collagen production has been noted back in 1965 and it’s contained in most anti-aging skincare products. Moreover, MSM not only increases your sulfur levels, but it has the ability (when taken consistently through a long period of time) to help the human body utilize more sulfur in areas where it’s needed most.
Side Effects of MSM
Side effects of MSM are virtually non-existent, unless you take a really high dose (internally) for long periods of time. The recommended dose is between 1000-2000 mg per day, but up to 6000 mg is considered completely safe for the vast majority of cases.
One thing to be aware of is that its highly recommended to start with smaller doses and increase it gradually as time goes by. When starting with 2000mg + dose right off the bat, many people experience mild stomach symptoms, nausea and sometimes insomnia, though everything reverts after a few weeks of use. To avoid all of this, start with 500 mg and increase the dose gradually, allowing your body to adjust.
It’s recommended to take MSM capsules (or powder) internally and use creams externally to achieve the most potent results. While the powder does have a very unpleasant, bitter taste, there are a few ways around it that I will share with you.
Homemade MSM Drink for Everyday Use
- 1 freshly squeezed lime or ½ freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 to 1 teaspoon MSM powder depending on which dose you’re taking. Start with 1/4 if you’re a beginner.
- 1/4 teaspoon of raw honey
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1/3 aloe vera leaf (if you can get it). Remove the dark green parts of the leaf and use the inside juice.
- Warm water to mix everything and fill a 200-250 ml cup
- Drink twice a day – once in the morning (preferably on empty stomach) and once in the afternoon.
As for the capsules, they are usually produced and sold in 1000-2000 mg dosage, meaning that you want to start with the lowest dose by consuming half a capsule twice a day. This product that can be bought on Amazon is considered to be one of the very best if you want to give capsules a try.
I’d recommend going with the powder since it’s easier to adjust the dose whenever needed, but it’s your call.
For external use, you can either purchase pre-made MSM lotions on Amazon like this one, or you can make one at home using the MSM powder that you already have. Keep in mind that if you decide to buy a lotion online, there will usually be many other ingredients incorporated in the mix. Make sure to check the whole list and confirm that all the other ingredients are safe to use or won’t cause allergic reactions in your specific case.
Making a lotion at home is easy:
- Take 3 well-filled teaspoons of MSM powder
- 100mg aloe vera gel (from a fresh leaf if you can get it)
- If you’re allergic to aloe vera, substitute it with a moisturizing lotion that you use in your skincare routine.
- Mix it all together and let it sit for at least 30 minutes before applying. You can apply it to the whole face or only the affected areas.
- Wash off after 20 minutes with cold water.
You can use this gel twice a day to combat both existing acne and acne scars, particularly, pitted acne scars.
Also, here is a great explanatory video of how MSM creams can treat acne scars which showcases At Last Naturals MSM Cream Moisturizer, which proves to be effective and side-effects free when dealing with acne scars.
Where to Buy MSM
MSM, including capsules, lotions and powder, is really easy to get since it’s so common. Also, it’s incredibly cheap considering the amount and value you receive or if you compare it with other acne fighting products.
The cheapest way to do it is buy the powder, this one by BulkSupplements is of high quality and costs around $15 for a kilogram, and make the drinks and face masks yourself, but if you’re lazy, you can just try one of the products I recommended throughout the article – each one of them does the job and is of high quality.
Generally, it’s easiest to buy all versions of MSM on Amazon, thanks to sellers shipping to multiple locations and the high variety of products available. Plus, you can always check the trustworthiness of sellers before buying, which is important for skin and healthcare products.
MSM is a highly effective and affordable supplement for clearing acne and acne scars. It’s an excellent way to steadily combat inflammation, banish toxins and increase the level of sulfur in your body. While MSM might not make wonders for every case (for instance, if you already have sufficient amounts of glutathione, you might not see much improvement), but if you’re just beginning to fight acne, chances that you need additional glutathione are sky high, meaning that this all natural substance can, at the very least, provide some help given that you are consistent with the consumption of MSM.
Additionally, the face masks and lotions containing MSM will help reduce acne scars substantially, up to the point of delivering a clean, clear and radiant skin. Finally, there are no downsides or side effects to worry about. Even if MSM doesn’t do much to help you clear your skin, you can at least be sure that there will be absolutely no harm done to your health and you get to spend very little amounts of money on top of that.
Have you taken MSM internally or used MSM based lotions before? What are your experiences? Did it help clear your skin? How long did it take to produce noticeable results? Share your thoughts with everyone in the comments!