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?

How Does Doxycycline Treat Acne?

Acne can be treated with topical and oral medications. A common choice is doxycycline antibiotic. In this video I explain how it works and tell you two common side effects of this medication. There are other risks and precautions when taking doxycycline, so be sure to discuss them with your physician and pharmacist before taking this or any other medication.

Does Eating Pizza Cause Acne?

Does Pizza Cause Acne?

School is just around the corner and this has been a popular question in my office this week. My mother always said it did, but does eating pizza really cause acne?

Yes, it does.

Eating simple carbohydrates such as white bread, bagels, and pizza can worsen acne. Simple carbohydrates are high-glycemic foods — they cause spikes in your blood sugar because the food is quickly digested then dumped into your blood stream. The resulting high blood sugar causes hormonal changes and inflammation that then triggers acne.

To tame your acne this school-year, change to a low-glycemic diet. Eat complex carbohydrates that are digested slowly avoiding sugar spikes and hormone changes. Here are three tips for an acne-busting diet:

  • Cut out high-glycemic foods such as blended coffee drinks, soft drinks, energy drinks, pasta, pastries, baguettes, watermelon, mangoes and potatoes.
  • Choose high fiber veggies such as asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, leafy greens, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and legumes such as black beans, chick peas, pinto beans, lentils and soy beans.  Eat low-glycemic fruits such as apples, berries, grapefruit, pears, plums and oranges.
  • Avoid processed flours. Instead eat 100% whole grains such as oats, barley, brown rice, millet, quinoa, wild rice, whole wheat pasta and bulgur.
Follow these tips and you be looking (and feeling) much better for your first co-ed dance this year.
Photo: tomek.pl, flickr

3 Summer Skin Myths

1 – Drinking water will help your dry skin.

It doesn’t. Drinking water is important to stay hydrated, but if you have dry skin you need to water the outside of your skin, not the inside. Drinking lots of water no more moisturizes your skin than taking a bath quenches your thirst.

2 – Sunscreens with sun protection factor (SPF) of 100 are twice as good as sunscreens with SPF of 50.

As you can see from the graph, there are large differences in sunscreen protection at low SPF; however, there is not much difference in protection once the SPF is at least 30, which is what most dermatologists recommend.

3 – Sweating will make my acne worse.

Sweating does not make acne worse — in fact, sweat is your natural antibiotic. Keeping tight, wet gym clothes on after a workout can clog your pores which can flare acne. So can too much sun. Cover up. Go for a run. Shower. (And if you live in the southeast in August, shower again).

Did you already know these? What skin question would you like answered? Comment here or ask me on Twitter @Dermdoc

Photo: 96dpi

Sunscreens Cause Acne! (and Other Summer Acne Facts!)

With blonde hair and big blue eyes, she looked like a young Betty Draper from Mad Men. My patient, Julie, had been faithfully treating her acne for months. Just when she was starting to clear (in time for her senior photos), wham! Red dots cropped up over her forehead and cheeks. What went wrong? Summertime.

July can be the cruelest month for acne. Acne on the chest and back (bacne) and big, red pimples on your face can make going to the beach an embarrassing experience. Here are a few acne facts for summer:

1. Although there is some suggestion that sun can help acne, its effect varies and sun often makes acne worse. (Bacne + sunburn = bacne burn. Not good).

2. Retinoinds such as topical Retin-A, tretinoin, Differin, Tazorac, Ziana, Atralin, and Accutane all remove the outer layer of skin, leaving you more susceptible to a bad sunburn. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid also peel the outer layer of skin, making you more sensitive.

3. Oral antibiotics such as doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline, and sulfa antibiotics predispose you to a  painful pink burn on your nose, hands, and arms called a phototoxic rash; I see patients with this all summer long. The pink splotches can take weeks to fade and sting every time you’re in the sun.

4. Sunscreens can cause acne. It’s a cruel fact. Often the best sunscreens such as zinc and titanium, or water resistant sunscreens are the most likely to worsen acne. In order to be effective, sunscreens have to coat your skin which also clogs your pores.

Here are 5 tips to help keep you acne-clear this summer:

1. Remember that sun exposure is not a good way to clear up acne; most people get far more sun that what is helpful and just the right amount of sun to make it worse.

2. If you have fair or sensitive skin and are taking oral antibiotics for acne, then discuss with your physician if you are taking the best antibiotic during summer. Some patients take a break from antibiotics during summer months or switch to antibiotics that are less sun sensitizing.

3. Find ways to protect against the sun other than sunscreen: avoid the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM, wear a big hat (demonstrated here) and cover up.

4. When you need sunscreen, consider products designed for your face which are less oily or less likely to worsen acne such as: Neutrogena Ultra-sheer Dry Touch, Eucerin Facial Moisturizer with SPF 30, La Roche-Posay Antihelios Tinted Cream, or Proactiv’s Daily Protection Plus Sunscreen.

5. Avoid overusing scrubs, toners and slamming face-first into the beach; the added exfoliation will only make risk of sunburn worse.

Just hang-on, winter will be here again before you know it. Does your acne get worse in summer? What sunscreen do you use.

Photo: Foreversouls (flickr). Patient identity changed.

iPhone App Claims to Treat Acne. Does it?

I love my iPhone. (No, that’s not me in the photo.)

My iPhone is teeming with apps that help me get through my day (like Doodle Jump for instance). An emerging iPhone trend is the development of apps that diagnose and treat diseases. For example, there is the stethoscope app to help diagnose heart murmurs. In dermatology, there is an app designed to treat acne.

We know that specific wavelengths of light can have medicinal effects such as killing bacteria (red light) and reducing inflammation (blue light). This app produces light at those wavelengths to treat acne. The claim is that by holding the iPhone to your face, the light produced from the app will treat your acne.

Although it scores a 10 on 10 in the coolness factor, it scores a 0 on 10 for proof of efficacy. The studies that looked at treating acne with light used much more intense light than an iPhone uses. The studies with more powerful light exposed faces for 60 minutes every week, which is about 8 minutes on each side every day. Even then, light treatments for acne have not been shown to be consistently better than standard acne treatments such as antibiotics and tretinoin.

So does the acne app work? Well, there are no studies to tell us. Given that the light intensity is low and that most people would not do the treatment — try holding your phone for 2-5 minutes on each side of your face every day for months — I doubt it works.

Acne is common and naturally gets better and worse at times no matter what you do. It is unfortunate that products like this are sold that do not have any proof that they work. There will be people who buy this app and believe that it helped them, (“My acne was clear in just THREE DAYS!”) but the two bucks is better spent on Doodle Jump.

See also:

Can an iPhone App Clear Up Your Acne?

In Light and Heat, Gadgets Claim to Fight Acne

Better Skin to the Touch?

Can You Treat Acne With an iPhone App?

A study to determine the effect of combination blue (415 nm) and near-infrared (830 nm) light-emitting diode (LED) therapy for moderate acne vulgaris.

Photo: Aye Shamus (flickr)

The Pros and Cons of Proactiv for Acne

Proactiv® is the most popular acne treatment in the US. If Proactiv is so popular (and used by all those now-acne-free celebrities), then it must be a great product, right? Well, maybe. Here are the pros and cons of Proactiv. Continue reading “The Pros and Cons of Proactiv for Acne”