Expert Q and A: Avoiding the Angst of Acne at Any Age

An interview with Jenny J. Kim, MD, PhD.

From the WebMD Archives


We're seeing more combination therapy. Since there are five different things going on, we use two or three treatments. It’s really hard for patients to take three different things in the morning and three different things in the evening, so drug companies are developing [medicines] where you have two actives, such as an antibiotic and retinoid (vitamin A derivative that can unplug follicles and pores) in one drug.

The latest studies say diet may play a role in acne, particularly a high gylcemic (high-carb) diet and perhaps skim milk. We need better research in this area, but in the future we might see diet used for regulating and treating acne patients.

We’re also combining devices with medical treatment. So we can use a topical medication that will penetrate into the [gland] where the acne is occurring and that makes that oil gland light up, and then you come in with either laser or light-based technologies. These include the pulsed-dye laser, red and blue light, and photodynamic therapy, which target the sebaceous (or oil) glands and can reduce acne flares.

But I don't think they should the first line of therapy. The problem is that there are limited large, prospective, well-controlled studies that demonstrate their effectiveness, so that will be an area we need to explore in the future.