Can acne be improved with diet?

Dear Dr. Irwin: My 16 year old daughter is starting to have acne problems on her face which includes alot of very tiny pimples on her forehead and sometimes larger pimples on her nose. She also has very bad kitosis on the backs of her arms. A dermatologist gave her slayic acid lotion for the arms. Im afraid to let her use it becuase she had the flu shot. Is this safe to use? There is no history of either of these problems in our family. What foods should she eat to improve the condition of her skin and what do you recommend that she use on her forehead and arms? Thank you. Marci

Hi Marci – 

Lotions with salicylic acid in them have been around for more than 20 years and used for a variety of skin conditions including that problem on the back of your daughter’s arms (keratosis pilaris).  They are very safe, little or none is absorbed into the blood stream, and the flu shot won’t interact with the lotion. Try the lotion at night on her acne too.  As long as she doesn’t get irritated, it should improve her acne.  If she’s not better in 8 weeks, go back to see her dermatologist.

Foods are a tough one.  I really like kids to stay away from junk food like sugary sodas, anything deep fried, most snack foods (a good one is Sun Chips) because they are full of cheap fat and carbs.  Try to get her hooked on things like apples or bananas dipped in penut butter or honey or thin slices of ham or whole wheat toast with a yummy jam, etc.  But ………… I have no proof that diet affects acne!

Your welcome!  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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