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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the best treatment for acne?

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  • 1

    Thanks

    Rebecca Charlotte Reynolds, PhD (Dr Bec) Personable and ethical registered nutritionist (RNutr) and lecturer at UNSW Australia in lifestyle and health. Regular consultant to the … View Profile

    Hi there!

    Acne is a very stressful affliction, that's for sure! I still struggle with it myself.

    There are various options you can try to improve your acne:

    • Diet - there is some evidence that a low glycemic index carbohydrate diet (think Burgen bread, chickpeas, etc) with less dairy and vegetable oils and more fish oil and olive oil and fruit and vegetables and lean meats (and maybe even zinc supplements if you don't get enough zinc in your diet) can help acne.
    • Topical treatments like benzoyl-peroxide (active ingredient in Proactiv but you can buy cheaper version in chemists, I find this works well but it bleaches clothes so be careful with this) or stuff from your doctor like topical retinoids or antibiotics.
    • Oral treatments like the contraceptive pill (which I have found very helpful) and oral antibiotics and the last resort for acne sufferers, isotretinoin.
    All the above is explained in more detail in the links below:
    http://www.racgp.org.au/afp/201009/39116
    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002416.htm
    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/1/107.full
    http://thepaleodiet.com/dietary-cure-for-acne-book/
    Let me know how you go?
    Thanks, Dr Bec
    PS Any diet-acne link is currently somewhat sparse/weak, but it's still worth a try!

  • I am a dietitian/nutritionist with extensive research experience into diet/nutrition and children’s behaviour; Mediterranean-style whole food diet; and parental influences on young children’s diets. In … View Profile

    Hi, Neil Mann and co did a great randomised controlled trial with teenagers that showed reduced acne with improved diet (see http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/17448569 and http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/1/107.short).
    In addition to the advice already given, there is also evidence for zinc in the treatment of acne (http://archderm.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=536705). See these links for details: http://www.blackmores.com.au/learning-centre/article/how-can-zinc-help-my-acne; http://www.squidoo.com/zinc-reduces-acne. Good luck :)

  • 1

    Thanks

    Steven Orloff

    Acupuncturist

    My name is Steven Orloff, I am a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture. I am a graduate of both Monash and Victoria University, having degrees … View Profile


    In Chinese Medicine Acne is caused by “heat in the blood”, which causes the skin to become inflamed and develop pimples. This can be caused by diet or internal problems such as hormonal imbalances or stress.  By rebalancing these disharmonies you can help reduce the heat and help the skin return to normal.  Often in teenagers I see it simply because their body's are growing rapidly thus generating excess heat that they can't rebalance on their own.  Which is why some people simply “out grow” their acne problems once they pass puberty.


  • Dr. John Mahony

    Cosmetic Physician

    Dr John Mahony studied Medicine at Sydney University 1980-1984 graduating early 1985. Internship and residency years followed in the Illawarra, covering general medical and surgical … View Profile

    Acne manifest in various ways and the best treatment for you will depend upon an accurate assessment of your specific form. If, for example, you have many superficial whiteheads then Roaccutane is not for you. If you have mostly keratotic plugs then exfoliation will help. Benzoyl peroxide is an old mainstay and interestingly far more effective as a bacteriocidal agent than topical antibiotics. Topical retinoids should form part of most regimes. Systemic treatments such as oral antibiotics and certain contraceptives (those that raise SHBG and have antiandrogenic activity) are indicated when the lesions are too deep for an effective topical approach. Those with resistent acne hoping to avoid Roaccutane should look for PDT or PhotoDynamic Therapy, with 5aminolevulinic acid (5ALA) - I've had some great success with this modality.

    Of course I agree with Natalie and Rebecca about their dietary comments.

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