Question: My 19-year-old daughter has had acne for several years. What kind of natural treatment do you recommend?
Dr. Brownstein's Answer:
As the father of two teenage daughters, I share your pain. Acne can be a debilitating problem for a teenager.
Even though dermatologists do not acknowledge the relationship between diet and acne, I can assure you that there is one. Eating a diet full of refined food and sugar leads to many problems, acne included.
The first step is cleaning up the diet and removing refined foods including sugar, flour, salt, and oils. Next, drink adequate amounts of water. Simply take your weight in pounds, divide by two and the resulting number is the amount of water, in ounces, to drink on a daily basis.
Liver detoxification also helps. If the liver is unable to release toxins, the body may use the skin to push out the offending items. The result of this process is acne. Finally, eliminating food allergies, especially dairy and gluten, can also help.
Having said all that, occasionally medications are needed to treat severe cases of acne. Antibiotics can be useful for the short-term, but should not be used for the long-term.
Birth control pills can be effective for many young women, but they are associated with long-term side effects, such as an increased risk of breast cancer.
Accutane may be considered in very severe cases. I am aware of the serious side effects of Accutane, including depression and suicide. However, dermatologists that I have consulted about this have assured me that it can be used safely.
If you choose to use Accutane, be sure that you or your loved one is carefully monitored by a qualified professional.