The Clear-Skin Makeover

From the WebMD Archives



Many dermatologists have been reconsidering their longtime stance that there are no links between diet and acne. One potential culprit may be a high-glycemic, processed-food diet (think white bread, pasta, rice). Colorado State University researchers theorized that these sorts of foods may elevate hormones and thus stimulate sebaceous glands. In 2006, Australian scientists found that eating a low-glycemic diet (high in protein, with fewer refined sugars and flours) for 12 weeks reduced acne by almost 50 percent. Another possible trigger: dairy. Hormones in milk are thought to stimulate sebum production and, in turn, provoke pimples. Dermatologist Jeffrey Dover, M.D., now asks his patients with stubborn acne to try a dairy-free diet. “After they cut out milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, their acne often becomes easier to treat,” he says.


If you’ve tried everything and are still seeing red, consider Isolaz Deep Pore Lazr Therapy, an FDA-approved, in-office combo of light (to kill acne-causing bacteria) and a pore-clearing vacuum. In a company-sponsored test, 64 percent of intractable-acne sufferers had more than 75 percent clearance after four treatments. While it’s pricey ($300 to $500 per session), patients see improvement within 24 to 48 hours of the first treatment, and full results after four or five sessions, says Miami- and New York City–based dermatologist Fredric Brandt, M.D.


...Zap it. Consider new handheld gizmos that deliver low-level heat directly to blemishes to destroy acne-causing bacteria. “These devices aren’t going to help with blackheads or whiteheads, but they can shorten the duration of inflammatory pimples by a few days,” says Mary Lupo, M.D. Try Zeno ($150, Target) or ThermaClear ($150,

...Hide it. Here’s our beauty editor’s secret for disguising a real zinger: First, gently buff away flakes using a damp washcloth. Then, put on any spot treatments, smooth moisturizer all over your face, and apply foundation. Next, concealer: Stick versions are best (blemishes need something with staying power). We love Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer ($68, Saks); Maybelline New York Cover Stick ($5.65, drugstores) is great, too. Use a finger to apply it, lightly tapping the product directly on the pimple and nearby skin. Blend the edges, and you’re good to go.