How To Safely Treat Acne While Pregnant

Are acne medications safe for pregnant women? Not always. In this video, I explain the different categories of safety for acne medications and offers recommendations for safe, effective acne treatments for pregnant women.

Do you have questions about acne and pregnancy? Ask me in the comment section below, on my YouTube site, or on Twitter @Dermdoc.

9 Surprising Health Benefits of Exercise

Zoom... (Explored 1st July # 10)

Yesterday, on New Year’s Day, millions of Americans resolved to begin exercising and lose weight in 2013. While exercise helps you burn calories and lose weight, it also has numerous other health benefits that will help you have a truly healthier, happier 2013.

Here are 9 surprising health benefits of exercise:

1. Sleep better. Regular exercise helps you sleep better, provided it’s not done within 2 to 3 hours of your bedtime. Exercise can also reduce and sometimes eliminate sleep apnea, a frustrating and potentially health-threatening sleep disorder that causes disruptions in breathing.

2. Reduce your risk for skin cancer. Studies show that regular exercise lowers your risk for skin cancer, including life-threatening melanoma.

3. Be happy. If you’ve heard of “runner’s high,” then you know that exercise makes people happy. That’s because exercise boosts mood-enhancing or feel-good endorphins.

4. Reduce heartburn. Studies show that regular exercise, especially less stressful aerobic types like swimming and walking, reduce the severity of acid reflux or heartburn. And reducing heartburn can also help you sleep better.

5. Improve your acne. Because regular exercise helps regulate blood sugar, it helps reduce inflammation which can improve acne. It also reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, which is an acne trigger.

6. Have more energy. Many studies show that exercise, even just a few times a week, boosts energy. And morning exercisers reap the biggest benefit. If you need some help learning how to exercise in the morning, check out this post on 5 Tips for Starting a Morning Exercise Routine.

7. Improve chronic pain. Losing weight is critical to improving chronic pain since the  more weight you carry, the more pressure and pain to your joints and bones you’ll experience. Exercise also reduces pain because it reduces inflammation.

8. Reduce your risk for Alzheimer’sA 2012 study from Rush University Medical Center showed that daily exercise significantly reduced your risk for Alzheimer’s, even if —get this— you start exercising after the age of 80.

9. Reduce your risk for psoriasisA 2012 study from Harvard Medical School showed that vigorous aerobic exercise and calisthenics are associated with a reduced risk of psoriasis, a chronic inflammatory skin condition.

While this isn’t a direct health benefit, regular exercise saves you money by reducing the  the number of medications and doctor’s visits you’ll need. And who wouldn’t like that?

Photo credit: FCC, Yogrenda174

Food Friday: Does Whey Protein Cause Acne?

(another) Friday Night's in America

Does whey protein cause acne? A new study shows it might.

This past August, Dr. Nancy Silverberg, a New York dermatologist, published a study in the journal Cutis that suggests whey protein supplements may exacerbate acne in adolescent males.

Some relatively recent studies show that whey is potentially comedogenic (pore-clogging) in certain teenage males. Intrigued by these studies, Dr. Silverberg looked at five male adolescent patients who were developing globular acne who were also consuming whey supplements to gain weight. When the boys stopped the supplements their acne was much more responsive to treatments. One young man who had two courses of isotrentinoin (Accutane), didn’t see an improvement in his acne until he stopped taking whey supplements during the second round.

Dr. Silverberg thinks that doctors should begin asking both male and female teenage patients who are looking to gain weight if they’re taking whey supplements and to suggest that discontinuation may help improve their acne.

Moving forward, she plans to investigate how whey protein induces acne flares by looking at both specific age groups and the amount of whey protein used. Since many patients were resistant to stopping whey protein supplements, she’s also interested in exploring if there is some addictive property.

Click here to read an annotated version of Dr. Silverberg’s article and here to listen to Dr. Silverberg’s audiocast.

Drawbacks: Only 5 patients studies. More research and studies needed.

Has your acne worsened on whey?

Photo credit: FCC, jdanvers

Can I Use My Body Moisturizer On My Face?

Lotion

I’m always encouraging patients to save money on skincare products and to keep products to a minimum. When it comes to moisturizer, however, more is better. You should have one for your body and one for your face. Here’s why:

Body moisturizers are generally heavier and greasier because they’re designed to cover large areas of skin that are less sensitive than your face. Applying body moisturizers to your face can lead to irritation, clogged pores, and acne.

Facial moisturizers, in contrast, are designed to be lighter, less greasy, and non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging). They’re best for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin and good for just about anyone else.

You don’t have to spend lots of money for a designer facial moisturizer. Most over-the-counter ones work just fine.

Next time, I’ll share 6 tips for choosing a facial moisturizer.

Photo credit: FCC, Inglis

How a Food Journal Can Help Your Acne

Journal

You woke up with a pimple on your chin and immediately think, “Damn that chocolate chip cookie last night.” Was it the cookie? Or was it the glass of milk that accompanied it? Or how about that slice of pepperoni pizza from two days ago?

What foods do cause acne? The frustrating truth is that we don’t know for sure. But we do know that a well-balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and good fats is healthy for your body and your skin.

Fortunately, no one knows your skin as well as you. So if you think food is triggering your acne, then keep a food journal for a month. Every day write down everything you eat and drink, and assess your level of acne. Is it mild, moderate or severe? Then use a highlighter to mark your worst breakouts. See what you’ve eaten in the prior 72 hours. Eliminate those foods that triggered your acne. See if your acne improves in following months.

Let us know what you discovered!

Photo credit: FCC, mac.rj

Why You Shouldn’t Use Your Kid’s Sunscreen

A mom came into my office the other day complaining of acne. She had switched from her regular sunscreen to her kid’s sunscreen thinking it would be gentler on her face. But her acne got worse.

That’s because kid’s sunscreens are meant to be extra protective, so their ingredients are more likely to clog pores in adults, leading to acne.

I told her to use an adult “non-comedogenic” or non-pimple forming facial sunscreen such as Neutrogena Clear Face Liquid Lotion Sunblock SPF 55 or Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock for the Face, SPF 30.

Save the kid’s sunscreen for little Olivia. I also don’t recommend using her Desitin. But that’s for another post.

Photo credit: E-13ss

The Link Between Obesity and Acne

Many of you are trying to lose weight in 2012 (W00t!) Did you know that you might be helping your acne as well? Obesity can lead to excess hormones such as androgens and insulin-like growth factors which trigger acne. Losing weight can help reduce your hormone levels and improve your acne. Have you lost weight and seen your acne improve?