Southwest Skin & Cancer Institute Exposes Link between Acne and Diet

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Dr. Robin Fleck has successfully treated acne for over 25 years and she shares her tips on caring for acne-prone skin.

Diet has an effect on Acne

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Acne vulgaris is the scientific name for common pimples. These form when the hair follicles become clogged with oil leading to blackheads, the precursor of acne. It is estimated that about 85% of teens have acne. Acne commonly forms on the face, neck, chest, back and shoulders and can occur in anyone; however, most experience acne throughout the teenage years. Acne can affect quality of life by causing low self esteem, social withdrawal, anxiety and depression. Scientists are also learning that acne is a precursor of diabetes and is due to the same underlying causes, namely a diet high in carbohydrates.

The glycemic index (GI) ranks carbohydrate rich foods by their potential to increase blood sugar. The higher glycemic index foods raise blood sugar levels higher and faster than foods with a lower glycemic index. Foods which are processed or contain sugar or white flour have a higher glycemic index including cereals, colas, fruit juice, bread and pasta. Repeatedly consuming these foods leads to insulin resistance. Increased oil production and blackhead formation by the skin has been linked to insulin resistance.

Excessive insulin levels can contribute to other diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and several cancers. A low glycemic diet reverses this process and improves acne symptoms as shown by multiple studies.

Robin Fleck, M.D., founder and medical director of Southwest Skin & Cancer Institute in Prescott, Arizona recommends the following advice to her patients with acne:

1.    Gently cleanse the acne-prone skin with a soap-free cleanser such as Cetaphil or Aquanil.
2.    Avoid scrubbing, picking, or rough treatment of acne to prevent scarring.
3.    Avoid dermabrasion facials and chemical peels as these can lead to secondary infections.
4.    Apply topical Vitamin C serum every morning to the affected skin as Vitamin C has wound-healing properties and can double as a sun protection lotion.
5.     Follow a low carbohydrate diet such as the Atkin‚Äôs program or South Beach Diet.
6.    For additional help, see a dermatologist who will prescribe one of the prescription retinoid creams to speed up blackhead removal and reduce oiliness.
7.    Adults who think they have acne should see a dermatologist because their condition may be due to other causes such as Staph infection, allergic reaction, or rosacea which require different treatment than teenage acne.
8.    If you have residual scarring from a bad case of acne when you were younger, the Active FX fractional resurfacing laser can improve or remove acne scars.

Cosmetic dermatologist, Robin Fleck, M.D., is a double board certified dermatologist and internist, recognized by the American Board of Dermatology and the American Board of Internal Medicine. She is founder and Medical Director of Southwest Skin and Cancer Institute and Body Oasis Laser Aesthetics http://www.rejuvadoc.com. Dr. Fleck is a fellow of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery and the American Academy of Dermatology. Dr. Fleck is also the director of Vein Specialties in Prescott, Arizona and is a member of the American Venous Forum.

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Jan Gillum
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