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Facing Facts About Acne


Products containing isotretinoin may cause serious mental health problems in persons taking the drug. Other side effects include dry eyes, mouth, lips, nose, or skin; itching; nosebleeds; muscle aches; sensitivity to the sun; poor night vision; changes in the blood, such as an increase in fats in the blood; and changes in liver function.

Keeping Acne in Check

Meanwhile, it helps to know what can cause or worsen an outbreak. According to the National Institutes of Health, these factors can make acne worse:

  • changes in hormone levels in adolescent girls and adult women 2 to 7 days before their menstrual period starts
  • oil from skin products (moisturizers or cosmetics) or grease encountered in the work environment (for example, a kitchen with fry vats)
  • pressure from sports helmets or equipment, backpacks, tight collars, or tight sports uniforms
  • environmental irritants, such as pollution and high humidity
  • squeezing or picking at blemishes
  • hard scrubbing of the skin
  • stress

The Web site suggests that if you use skin products, such as lotions or makeup, look for ones that are noncomedogenic or nonacnegenic, which means that they don't clog pores.

"Acne can cause a lot of distress," says Liedtka. "But consumers have treatment options. Just remember to learn as many facts as possible, and to disregard the myths. And do not hesitate to talk to a health care professional about your treatment options."


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