Dermatologists warn against acne “miracle cures”

Australian dermatologists have warned against so-called “miracle cures” for acne following recent publicity about a new gut health supplement.

Public health experts All About Acne say while buying acne treatments online after seeing a story about a “miracle cure” might seem like a good idea – it’s not.

Dr Philip Tong, a spokesperson for All About Acne, said while there was some research underway looking at the connection between gut and skin health, this was early stage research, and it was far from being a “miracle cure”.

“We already know the gut plays a role in acne – as foods high in processed sugar and some high glycemic index (high-GI) foods can trigger adult acne,” said Dr Tong, who is also Deputy Director of Research at The Skin Hospital in Sydney.

He said that additional research was also underway looking at broader gut health impacts, including the role of probiotics on our skin. People with acne tend to have a distinct gut microbiome “signature”, Dr Tong said. “This could potentially be influenced by diet and sometimes other factors,” he said. 

Probiotics are living organisms that can help improve the microbiome, or return the microbiome to its normal state, Dr Tong said.

“This is a fascinating area of research, and there has been early evidence to suggest that probiotics may have a role to play in improving skin health.” 

“However, the scientific basis is still being established, so we’ll have to wait and see,” he said. “The evidence isn’t quite there yet,” Dr Tong said.

Dr Tong said before spending money buying an advertised “quick fix” – be it a gut health supplement or an expensive skincare product – talk to your pharmacist, GP or dermatologist about proven, evidence-based treatments,” he said. “It could save you money and your skin.”

“Less is more when it comes to skincare,” he said. “Keep it simple. Use a simple cleanser and a fragrance-free moisturiser to improve skin health and reduce the risk of breakouts.” The wrong products can aggravate your skin and even make your acne worse, he said.

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The All About Acne team – the authors of this site – are a group of medically-trained skin experts from across Australia who have an interest in acne management. Our experienced team of leading dermatologists guarantees the information on this website is independent and based on the highest quality research available.

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