Client comments regarding acne and rosacea make me angry

Despite mounting research into the links between food types and skin conditions, Dermatologists continue to ignore the research and prescribe drugs that patients have been on for years with little to no change in their acne condition.

It is my job and responsibility to be abreast of the current research pertaining to skin conditions. Being a specialist in the treatment of acne, rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, in my opinion, carries certain responsibilities. I can forgive what beauty salons often tell clients as to be fair, the training level of skin complaints is just not part of the general beauty curriculum. Although, when we start speaking of Dermatologists, then there is no excuse to perpetuate misinformation and ignorance of the treatment and triggers of said skin problems.

On the lower end of the scale clients tell me of comments such as:

Facial peels will do nothing for treating acne

On the higher end of the misinformation

What you eat will have no effect on your skin, or the conditions you are suffering from, like acne

Many clients that come to see me are at the end of their tether, many have been under a traditional Dermatologist treatment for many years. That should be the first clue that something is just not right, in the traditional Dermatology treatment arsenal.

With teenage acne, for instance, there are times when

  • Adapalene (Differin)
  • Azelaic Acid (Azelex)
  • Benzoyl Peroxide (Benzac AC, Brevoxyl
  • Triaz, (Benzaclin)
  • Clindamycin (Cleocin T, Clinda-derm, Clindets, Benzaclin)
  • Erythromycin (Akne-Mycin, A/T/S, Emgel, Erycette, Eryderm, Erygel, Erymax, Ery-Sol,
  • Erythra-Derm, ETS, Staticin, Theramycin Z, T-Stat)
  • Vibramycin (doxycycline)
  • Minocin (minocycline)
  • Bactrim/Septra (co-trimoxazole AKA sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim),
  • Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Avita, Renova
  • Tazorac (Tazorac, Avage, Zorac, and Fabior)

(denotes brand name)*

might be the only choice. Notwithstanding apart from some retinoid-based products, using drugs with side-effects, does not seem to be the best use of today’s science

In the greater percentage of juvenile acne cases, not responding to natural based therapies is because no matter the guidance and treatment plan you have given the teenager, they just do not have the fortitude to follow it through. All acne is treatable in my experience with changes to diet, lifestyle and following a natural Dermatology methodology.

Research into diet and acne lacks funding and general interest from the medical fraternity.

Let’s take the case of Isotretinoin (Accutane) for example, for over thirty years it was pushed as the main treatment for acne until being recalled in 2009 and ceased manufacture under the ‘Accutane’ brand name. Up until 2005, there was little accurate control based research of the correlation between diet and acne. Without the want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, we know full well that the drug companies withhold much peer-review and control based research. If clinical trial and side effect information were published back in the 1980’s, Accutane would have never got off of the ground.

“However, dermatologists hailed the drug as a breakthrough treatment for patients with severe acne; Accutane’s dangerous side effects affected thousands of patients during the past 30 years.”

I am sorry; however this is the level of transparency we must deal with in the medical and drug manufacturer sector. When you consider the sheer volume of drugs available for acne treatment, the billions of Euro and kickbacks for the prescribing of them; is it that surprising that natural, safe alternatives and research is overlooked?

They say common sense is just not that common, so can we use basic logic instead?

For a moment can we look at an entirely non-scientific example of food directly impacting acne severity. International students when in a Western dietary setting, suffer greatly from acne. I have had, many students tell me before they had left their homeland; acne had not been a concern. Once settled down and warmly embracing the Western diet, acne has reared its spotty head. I am sorry if I am using non-scientific logic, however if the diet is the primary change apart from increased emotional stressors, does that not lead a solid conclusion to the effects of food, on the bodies chemical factory?

Research in Coeliac disease has found strong links between gluten and skin disorders; I wrote about this earlier in my article turning a diagnosis of Coeliac disease into insight for treating skin disorders. The medical fraternity cannot keep ignoring the mounting evidence forming links between food and acne; plus other conditions like rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.

Nutrient deficiencies are a known incubator and trigger of common skin complaints, plus the formation of acne is directly linked to hormonal balance and insulin levels again play heavily into the occurrence of acne. Control based research into food and acne has shown a correlation between diet and acne. A standard answer from doctors and dermatologists is we need more research and do not believe the research that exists. Personally, I do not understand this stance, call me paranoid but again it looks very much like money, and drug companies are a significant factor.

Ok, so you are not a fan of me using common sense and logic, fine, how about a little science while exposing the hypocrisy of the medical sector

Vitamin A plays an indispensable role in skin’s health. Vitamin A deficiency causes irregular visual adaptation to darkness but also dramatically affects the cutaneous biology as dry skin, dry hair and broken fingernails are among the first manifestations of vitamin A deficiency. This nutrient that is stored in the liver is also found in the skin, especially in the sebaceous glands, known to express retinoid receptors. Influenced by nutritional studies Dermatologists are also encouraged to recommend ingestion of isotretinoin with fatty foods. Retinol (Vitamin A), carotenoids (provitamin A) and retinoids (Vitamin A metabolites) are absorbed more efficiently with carrier intake of vegetable oils.

Ruling out the possibility of diet and the effects on acne is not only impossible, but it also flies in the face of what dermatologists are told. We could argue that possibly, food could not cause acne or effectively treat the condition on its own; although this does not negate that it aggravates the onset and severity of acne.

In conclusion, it does not matter how you interpret the research diet plays and active role in the formulation and severity of acne breakout. Furthermore, no single treatment is effective in the treatment of acne, it requires all the options we have at our disposal. This further highlights the lacking of resources and science that dermatologists use. Controlling and curing acne requires a bespoke treatment plan that covers lifestyle, diet, and uses all the technology and science and our fingertips. Products such as Skin Accumax, chemical facial AHA and BHA peels, IPL therapy, retinoid based cosmeceutical products and specially formulated dietary supplements.


Spencer, E. H., Ferdowsian, H. R. and Barnard, N. D. (2009), Diet and acne: a review of the evidence. International Journal of Dermatology, 48: 339–347. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04002.x

Wolf R, Matz H, Orion E. Clin Dermatol. 2004 Sep-Oct;22(5):387-93. Review. PMID: 15556724

Russell RM, et al. Vitamin and trace mineral deficiency and excess. In: Braunwald E, Fauci A, Kasper D, et al., editors. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 15th ed. Vol. 1. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2001. pp. 465–466

Fielding JM, Rowley KG, Cooper P, O’Dea K. Increases in plasma lycopene concentration after consumption of tomatoes cooked with olive oil. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2005;14:131–136.

Ribaya-Mercado JD. Influence of dietary fat on beta-carotene absorption and bioconversion into vitamin A. Nutr Rev. 2002;60:104–110.

Kris-Etherton PM, Taylor DS, Yu-Poth S, Huth P, Moriarty K, Fishell V, et al. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in the food chain in the United States. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:179–188.

Accutane is recalled but still available in raw form:

The never ending list of heavy drugs and associated side effects

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Emma Ryall
Educator, Proprietor, Aesthetician at Zest Skin Clinic & Laser Hair Removal
Licenced Aesthetician, CIBTAC, ITEC and CIDESCO accredited professional therapist with over 14 years industry experience, specialising in skincare. Emma is also a master trainer City & Guilds – Accreditation No: 500/5753/4

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