Pantothenic acid, also known as vitamin B5, is commonly supplemented in large doses to reduce oil production and help rid your skin of acne. It works like Accutane, in the sense that it reduces oil production. Pantothenic acid, however, works by helping your body to metabolize the fats in your body that later turn into sebum. Accutane actually shrinks the oil glands to block the oil from coming through to your face. Since pantothenic acid addresses the underlying problem, it is, in fact, the more efficient solution.
Let's get into the details of how exactly pantothenic acid works. During your natural metabolism process, your body breaks down fats. When your body lacks enough coenzyme-A, not all of these fats can be broken down, and your body has to get rid of them some how, so they are ejected through your oil glands on your skin in the form of sebum (oil). By creating more coenzyme-A, these extra fats can be broken down with the rest, and oil production will be greatly reduced.
Coenzyme-A is made up of three things: Cysteine, ATP and Pantothenic Acid. Your body takes care of cysteine and ATP by producing it by itself, so vitamin B5 is the only thing that you have to take in through food. By supplementing with pantothenic acid, more coenzyme-A is producted, fats are broken down better, and less oil ends up on your skin. Without too much oil on your face, when a pore gets clogged, the p. acnes bacteria will have nothing to feed upon and can't thrive to cause acne in the first place.
Considering that pantothenic acid works for more than 90% of the people who take it, it' can be considered a very effective medication. Since it's all natural and water soluble, it's much safer than Accutane, which only works for 70%-80% of the people who take it. It's also more efficient than Accutane, because it eliminates the problem, instead of covering it up by shrinking the glands and trapping the fats inside the body.
Supplementing with Pantothenic Acid
In order to address a pantothenic acid deficiency, you have to take large amounts of it, up to around 12 grams or so. Not everyone has to take quite that much though, so the recommended dosage is as follows: Start out with around 4 grams per day. Always divide the doses into 4 times per day, spreading them out as much as possible. To prevent stomach irritation, the only known side effect of pantothenic acid, try to take it with food or at least a glass of water.
If the 4 grams doesn't work for you, slowly ramp it up until you start to see results, stopping at around 12 grams. When you find a dose that seems to be working for you, stay with it for about two months straight, continuing to divide the doses so that you are splitting the dose into 4 parts. After those two months or so, you should be able to slack back on it until you start seeing negative results to find out how much you will need to continue to take as a "maintenance dose".
The only thing to watch out for is that pantothenic acid can deplete your body of other B vitamins, so a B-50 complex should be taken with it. Some say you should also take Zinc with it, that part is optional.
Since pantothenic acid has to be taken in large doses to see results, that means you can forget trying to get enough by eating foods high in it, or through a multivitamin or B vitamin complex. You can even forget about taking pantothenic acid pills, since that means you would have to take 20+ pills every day. There's only really one reasonable way to take the amount of B5 you will need to treat acne, which is pantothenic acid powder.
Pantothenic acid pills can't be found in most stores, much less the powder form of it. Some health food stores might have it, and you might be able to talk to someone at the store and have them order it for you, though it's usually marked up quite a bit. The easiest and cheapest way to get pantothenic acid powder is to just order it online. A Google search will uncover many websites, such as Amazon.com, which sell pantothenic acid powder at a great price.
As always though, do your homework when it comes to taking ANY supplements and talk to your doctor before starting any regimen. Happy Skin Healing! :)