Comparison of Vitamin D Levels in Patients with and without Acne: A Case-Control Study Combined with a Randomized Controlled Trial

PLoS One. 2016 Aug 25;11(8):e0161162. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161162. eCollection 2016.


Background: Vitamin D plays an important role in the immune system, and its deficiency has been implicated in various skin diseases, including atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. Acne is a common inflammatory skin disease; however, the association with vitamin D remains unclear.

Objectives: We evaluated vitamin D levels in patients with acne to determine the effect of vitamin D supplementation.

Methods: This study included 80 patients with acne and 80 healthy controls. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels were measured, and demographic data were collected. Vitamin D-deficient patients were treated with oral cholecalciferol at 1000 IU/day for 2 months.

Results: Deficiency in 25(OH)D was detected in 48.8% of patients with acne, but in only 22.5% of the healthy controls. The level of 25(OH)D was inversely associated with the severity of acne, and there was a significant negative correlation with inflammatory lesions. In a subsequent trial, improvement in inflammatory lesions was noted after supplementation with vitamin D in 39 acne patients with 25(OH)D deficiency.

Limitations: Limitations of the study include the small number of patients in the supplementation study and the natural fluctuation of acne.

Conclusions: Vitamin D deficiency was more frequent in patients with acne, and serum 25(OH)D levels were inversely correlated with acne severity, especially in patients with inflammatory lesions.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / blood*
  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / complications*
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D

Grant support

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work. This study was supported by a grant of the Korea Healthcare technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (Grant No.: HI14C1379).