Are There Any Alternative Approaches To Prescription Medication For Treating Acne?

Kathi J. Kemper, M.D., Wake

Question: Are there any alternative approaches to prescription medication for treating acne?

Answer:Acne's a very troubling condition of adolescents, and many people are interested in complementary therapies to help reduce the risk of severe acne. One of the best things you can do is make sure you have a healthy diet. There were some earlier studies saying that things like chocolate did not cause acne, but in those studies chocolate was compared to a very high fat diet.

There's emerging evidence that diet is important. So making sure that your diet is low in saturated fats and rich in fruits and vegetables and whole grains, has a low glycemic index -- that is not drinking a lot of sodas and things that shoot your blood sugar right up and make it fall -- can be really important.

There are a few natural remedies in addition to good hygiene -- making sure your face is clean, that you don't have your face covered with your hair or other things that can block pores. Tea tree oil is a natural antibiotic that comes from the tea tree in Australia. If it's placed straight on the skin it can cause some irritation, so look for products that's specifically formulated for putting on the face.