Fewer Reﬁned Carbs
“Eating chocolate or a lot of junk food doesn’t by itself seem to cause acne, but not having a balanced diet and eating too many reﬁned carbs can cause problems,” says Albert Lefkovits, MD, director of the Park Avenue Center for Advanced Medical and Cosmetic Dermatology in New York City.
In a 2007 study, Australian researchers found that people who followed a low–glycemic index (GI) diet (which is low in reﬁned carbohydrates like those found in white bread) had a 22% decrease in acne lesions, compared with a control group that ate more high-GI foods. Scientists suspect that raised insulin levels from the carbs may trigger a release of hormones that inﬂame follicles and increase oil production.
A 2006 Harvard study found that girls who drank two or more glasses of milk daily had about a 20% higher risk of acne than those who had less than a glass a week. studies published last year and in 2008 suggested that fat-free milk in particular, which is higher in sugar than whole milk, might be a culprit. (another hypothesis is that hormones in dairy products play a role.) if you regularly drink fat-free, consider switching to 1% milk or nondairy nut milks (look for those that have fewer than 10 g of sugar per serving).
Blue Light Terapy
These powerful rays penetrate follicles to kill off acne-causing bacteria. For severe cases, photodynamic therapy adds a topical solution called Levulan to blue light therapy. Note that these treatments can cause temporary redness and may not be covered by insurance. Dermatologists’ fees start at about $250 per session for blue light therapy and $800 for photodynamic therapy.
Old Drug, New Use
Long used to treat high blood pressure, prescription Aldactone (spironolactone) is now getting a second life as a treatment for hormonal acne. The drug (a tablet taken orally) blocks receptors of the hormone androgen, helping to limit the testosterone surges that can prompt pimples.