Red Wine, Grapes Antioxidant May Be Effective Treatment Strategy for Adult Acne

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Dermatology Specialists Dr. Joshua Fox and Dr. Meryl Joerg Offer Tips on Treating Adult Acne

Dr. Joshua Fox

Acne can be really difficult to cope with at any age, especially in adults who fear they’ll be dealing with it for the rest of their lives.

Drinking red wine won’t necessarily alleviate the symptoms of adult acne, an unwelcomed condition that strikes approximately 17 million adults a year in the U.S. But as Joshua Fox, MD, medical director of Advanced Dermatology P.C., points out, the results of a new study from researchers at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles may provide some solutions.

The study, released in September 2014 and published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy, suggests that the anti-oxidant resveratrol, combined with acne medication benzoyl peroxide, could clear acne if applied topically to the skin. ((http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/antioxidant-found-in-grapes-uncorks-new-targets-for-acne-treatment).

Resveratrol, which is found in red grapes, berries and chocolate, has long been known as an anti-inflammatory agent to help reduce bad cholesterol, heart disease and certain types of cancer. Researchers believed both compounds would cancel each other out, but were pleasantly surprised to discover they worked well together, more effectively killing the bacteria that cause adult acne.

“From a scientific standpoint, this is ground breaking,” says Dr. Fox. “For the millions of Americans who suffer from adult acne and are desperately seeking ways to alleviate it, I think the results are definitely encouraging.”

The condition, once believed to be an unfortunate rite of passage for pubescent teens, also affects older Americans, appearing in the form of pimples, blocked pores and/or cysts on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Statistics from the American Dermatology Association report the average age of adult acne sufferers is 26.5 years, but some adults can get acne well into their 30s, 40s and 50s.

“Acne can be really difficult to cope with at any age, especially in adults who fear they’ll be dealing with it for the rest of their lives,” says Dr. Meryl Joerg, also with Advanced Dermatology.

Despite popular belief, diet is only part of the contributing factors causing acne, explains Dr. Joerg. The root cause is believed to be an increase in the male hormone androgen, she adds. The hormone causes the skin’s sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more oil, leading to the clogging of hair follicles and a growth of the bacteria known as propionbacterium acnes.

“Some adults continue to produce a higher-than-normal amount of oil as they get older, thereby allowing acne to persist well beyond the teenage years,” notes Dr. Fox, referring to adults who are particularly susceptible to the condition, including menopausal women and those who are pregnant.

The researchers at UCLA are excited about the early results of their research, because acne medications to date have produced side effects and the overuse of antibiotics has created a resistance against effective treatment. With the introduction of resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide combined, notes Dr. Fox, the chances of an acne outbreak are lessened.

Tips on treating adult acne
Since research on the combination therapy is ongoing, Dr. Joerg says that for now acne sufferers should rely on other, more proven, strategies to minimize its occurrence. They include the following:

  • Avoiding dairy products, in particular milk, because it enhances the production of androgens, known to cause acne.
  • Eating foods rich in antioxidants, including fruit and vegetables. They naturally decrease the amount of inflammation in the body as well as the number of acne flares.
  • Avoiding foods that contain saturated fats, trans fats and too many omega-6 inflammatory, processed vegetable oils and replacing then with foods rich in omega-3 fats, which come from fish oil.
  • Avoiding high-glycemic foods such as bread, bagels, chips and sugary foods since they increase the production of insulin, which in turn can throw off other hormones in the body.
  • Taking Vitamin E on a regular basis is recommended. The vitamin has long been known for its skin-enhancing properties and may reduce the severity of acne.
  • Avoiding drugs containing corticosteroids, androgens or lithium, which are known to cause acne.

While stress, family history and the side effects of medications on adult acne are very real for some people, Dr. Fox says it’s important for them to realize it is very treatable. “The key to minimizing it has to do with finding the best possible treatments that work for each individual.”

Advanced Dermatology P.C., the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) provides cutting edge medical, laser & cosmetic dermatology and plastic surgery services. http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com

Joshua L. Fox, M.D., F.A.A.D., is the founder and medical director at Advanced Dermatology PC. He is a leading authority in the field of dermatology with expertise in skin cancer, cosmetic surgery and laser procedures and is program director of a fellowship in laser and cosmetic surgery.

Meryl Blecker Joerg, M.D. F.A.A.D., is a dermatology specialist with Advanced Dermatology PC and an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Cosmetic Clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City.

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