Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people every year. Fortunately for these patients, there are several treatment options available to help them manage their condition, as outlined in the American Academy of Dermatology’s new “iPledge program. While some studies have suggested a connection between oral isotretinoin and inflammatory bowel disease or depressive symptoms, the evidence is not conclusive; however, patients should be aware of these risks and carefully follow their doctor’s treatment advice. Although limited data has shown that in-office procedures like laser treatments or chemical peels may improve acne, the guidelines do not recommend such procedures for routine acne treatment. The guidelines also indicate that there is not enough evidence to recommend treating acne with alternative therapies like tea tree oil.
Some research suggests that dairy products, particularly skim milk, and diets with a high glycemic index, such as those high in sugar and carbohydrates, may be linked to acne. According to the guidelines, however, there is not enough data to recommend dietary changes for acne patients.
“Acne is a highly visible condition that can have a major impact on patients’ quality of life,” says board-certified dermatologist Mark Lebwohl, MD, FAAD, president of the AAD. “Teens and adults who are struggling with acne should visit a board-certified dermatologist, who can help them find a safe and effective treatment option that works for them.”