The Ultimate Guide to Milk Thistle for Acne

Milk Thistle for Acne

Acne is a condition of the skin which causes oily skin and spots. These spots can appear in many forms including blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. In its most extreme form, acne can also cause cysts to appear. While it’s a condition that’s most common among teenagers, it can affect anyone at any point in their lives. But thankfully it can be treated quite easily once you know how.   

Causes of Acne

We have tiny glands that are attached to hair follicles located near the surface of the skin. These glands are called sebaceous glands and their role is to lubricate the hair. To do this they produce an oily substance called sebum. Acne occurs when your skin pores become blocked by excess sebum produced.

The reason for this enhanced sebum production is normally down to one of four things: 

  • Bacteria
  • Clogged hair follicles
  • Excess hormonal activity
  • Excess oil production

Acne Treatments

Once acne has been diagnosed, it can easily be treated in a number of different ways. Traditional acne treatments include over the counter medications, antibiotics, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and various therapies.

However, if you’re not too keen on using any chemicals on your skin which could potentially irritate it further, then there is another alternative which has been hitting the headlines a lot recently, and that is to use milk thistle. 

What is Milk Thistle?

While milk thistle is a natural growing plant that’s native to Europe and bought over to North America by early settlers. It’s a flowering plant that’s used to create natural treatments to treat various health conditions. Milk thistle gets its name from two sources: the first is the milky sap that’s leaked from the leaves when broken. The second is that, according to legend, the white markings on the leaves were the Virgin Mary’s milk. 

There are various medical complaints that milk thistle can help with including liver problems, kidney damage, heartburn, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and depression. However, more recently, the plant has been found to have amazing skin reviving properties too.   

Why Milk Thistle is Effective at Fighting Acne

Milk thistle has great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and this is mainly due to two active ingredients: Silymarin and Silibinin. These ingredients are both highly absorbable and both have excellent antioxidant properties. 

When it comes to balancing hormones, your liver plays an extremely important role. It acts as a kind of cleaner, producing bile in which to help rid the body of harmful toxins. As well as that, it also removes compounds that have accumulated within the body, such as hormones.

To remain healthy and free of acne, the liver needs to keep hormone levels balanced. A hormonal imbalance can easily lead to acne. One of the good properties of milk thistle is that it has the ability to break down hormones such as estrogen. 

How it Works

The reason why milk thistle is so effective at fighting acne is mainly down to one thing, and one thing alone: it improves the status of the liver. Without a healthy functioning liver, the body is susceptible to a number of health complaints, acne being one of them. However, if taken on a regular basis, milk thistle can help immensely to clear those nasty breakouts.

The way it works is by flushing your liver of any nasty toxins that might be hanging around. This, in turn, will help to cleanse and purify the skin. It doesn’t take a truckload of the stuff either. Just a few week’s worth can really make all the difference. 

Using Milk Thistle to Treat Acne

So now that you’ve read how milk thistle works and why it’s so good at fighting acne, keep reading to discover how best to use this incredible herbal remedy. The easiest and most efficient way to get milk thistle into your body is via supplements which are readily available over the counter in many drug or health stores.  

Because everyone is different, there’s no real standard dose for taking milk thistle. Most people take between 50-400 milligrams per day, with the recommended dose for detoxifying the liver is 150 milligrams per day. 

While there are plenty of these supplements available to buy, it all of them are made by reputable companies. So, before you make your purchase just be sure that the product contains at least 80% pure milk thistle extract. But don’t worry too much about this as I’ll show you towards the end of this article a couple of the best brands out there to buy at the moment.

The Benefits to Using Milk Thistle to Fight Acne

There are many benefits of using milk thistle in which to fight acne, some of which are outlined below:

  • It’s natural: not everyone likes putting foreign chemicals on their face
  • It’s cost effective: over the course of a couple of months, milk thistle supplements cost around the same (or less in some cases) as if you were to use topical ointments such as creams or gels.
  • It’ an antioxidant: as well as rid your acne, this medicinal herb will also help protect the skin from free radicals and pollutants in the air.
  • It acts as an anti-aging agent: because milk thistle is antiglycation it directly slows the aging of the skin at cellular level. 
  • It also acts as an anti-inflammatory: as well as reducing inflammation, milk thistle has also been found to improve redness, itching, and rosacea.  


Already you’ve learned quite a lot about milk thistle, but you may still have some questions burning inside that I haven’t yet covered. Hopefully, I will do that now. The following are a few of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to using milk thistle:

  1. Are there any known side effects of taking milk thistle? 

As with anything, there are some possible side effects that could occur when using this supplement. A few individuals have reported gastrointestinal effects, while others have experienced a loss of appetite. 

Some people have demonstrated allergic reactions to milk thistle, but generally these tend to be those already allergic to plants in this family, such as marigolds or daisies. Those with Type 2 diabetes may also want to use with caution as milk thistle could lower the blood sugar levels.  

Other reported side effects include bloating, indigestion, diarrhea, and nausea. 

  1. Are there any risks of taking the supplement over a long period?

Milk thistle is relatively new when it comes to being used as a health supplement so as of yet there have been no long-term effects to report. 

  1. What is considered a safe dose?

Milk thistle is a natural substance and even as a supplement you would need to ingest quite a lot before it had a toxic effect. As a rough guide, milk thistle is deemed to be perfectly safe when taken in doses of up to 420mg per day. However, even at a dose of 1200 mg per day, no toxic effects have been noted.

Most milk thistle supplements recommend taking 1 capsule 1-3 times a day. I would suggest taking it just once a day to begin with to give your body a chance to get used to it. Then, slowly increase the dose to one that you are comfortable with. After a few weeks (or sooner in some cases) you should start to see the results. 

  1. Can using milk thistle cause acne?

Due to its natural antioxidant ingredients, it’s unlikely that milk thistle will cause acne. However, if for some reason, after using the supplement you do experience any adverse reactions, then stop using the product immediately and seek medical advice.

  1. Does it interact with any other medicines? 

Different drugs create different reactions when combined with milk thistle, but the main ones to be aware of are medications changed by the liver, those used for lowering cholesterol, and those containing estrogen.

It is also advisable to stay away from milk thistle if you are breastfeeding, have an allergy to ragweed, or in some cases, if you have diabetes (due to its blood sugar lowering properties).  

The Best Milk Thistle Products on Amazon for Acne

Pure Milk Thistle Supplement 1000mg – 200 Capsules

If you’re looking for a milk thistle product, that’s fast-working, effective, and good value for money, then look no further. 

The Pure Milk Thistle Supplement is highly concentrated with each individual capsule containing the equivalent of 1000mg of milk thistle. Only the highest quality ingredients are used, and they’re made right here, in the USA.

Made by a company with a proven track record, you can rest assured these capsules are both safe and reliable. You won’t find any fillers, binder, or added preservatives in this product. There are only three ingredients and they are all natural: milk thistle seed extract, rice flour, and vegetable cellulose. 

With 200 capsules included, there’s enough to last 100 days, even at the highest dose. As instructed take 1-2 tablets daily and within just a few weeks or less you should begin to visibly notice a difference in the state of your skin. Breakouts should be less severe, and your skin should feel better overall.   

These capsules promote a healthy liver, are great for acne, and are made using a vegan friendly formula. They’re also excellent value for money. In terms of how fast they work, I would also say that this surpassed my expectations. It says to expect results within a few weeks, but I would say you see the effects within a few days (at least by the end of week 1).

So, with all of those things in mind, I am more than happy to recommend these capsules to anyone wanting to try milk thistle for acne.  

Puritans Pride Milk Thistle Extract 1000 Mg

Another great milk thistle supplement out there at the moment is the Puritans Pride Milk Thistle Extract. With over 40 years’ experience and more than 19 million customers, Puritans Pride is a brand you can trust.   

I tried this product for 1 month, and within about 10 days I was seeing visible results on my face. My skin was much smoother, I was getting less breakouts, and it was less oily too. The capsules were easy to swallow and I was only taking one a day. 

Unless you’re diabetic, pregnant, breastfeeding, or allergic to daisy-like flowers, this product should be ok for you to try. They’re all-natural and preservative-free. And, they only use the highest quality spices and herbs.  

You may only get 180 capsules of these instead of the 200 you get with the Pure supplements, but at less than half the price you can’t really complain. The recommended dose for adults is to take one or two capsules daily. So, with 180 capsules you still have 90 days’ worth which is more than enough to start seeing results. 

All-in-all, I think these are very high quality, and effective supplements that are available at a price pretty much anyone can afford. At the end of the day, if you’ve only got a few dollars to lose, and a blemish-free face to gain, what have you got to lose? It’s a no-brainer surely?   

In my eyes, both are very effective, and are well priced, and for those two reasons, are both highly recommendable. If you’re looking for the fastest working product, I would go with Pure Milk Thistle Supplement. However, if you’re looking for the best bargain, I would choose the Puritans Pride Milk Thistle Extract. But as I mentioned, both are great products, it’s just down to your personal choice. 

Well, I hope you enjoyed the article and are one step closer to making your selection and become free of acne. Just remember that not all supplements suit everyone, and some just take a little longer than others to kick in. Everyone is different, so just give them a chance to work and hopefully soon, you’ll have skin you’ve always dreamed of.   


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