Foods for a Clear Complexion

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Foods for a Clear Complexion

March 28, 2012

According to Commack based Dermatologist Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, what you eat not only goes straight to your hips, it’s also mirrored in your complexion. Proper nutrition can have a major impact on the way your skin looks and feels. Current research suggests that processed foods and high-fat dairy products can exacerbate acne, promote inflammation, and cloud a clear complexion. Other evidence indicates that foods high in protein and antioxidants (fruits and vegetables in particular) can have anti-aging effects.

The Latest Dietary Guidelines and Your Skin
In 2010, the United States Department of Agriculture released its latest Dietary Guidelines (, while this year it released a new icon for healthy eating called MyPlate ( Both recommend that Americans eat more healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood. The guidelines also encourage people to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains such as white flour. No foods are off-limits, but the guidelines encourage portion control and calorie modification.
The data suggest that dairy products can be problematic for people with acne and other inflammatory skin conditions, so encourage our patients to limit milk and milk products to one or two services a day. These products may prompt the body to produce more of the male hormones, called androgens, which cause more oil and sebum that can clog pores. Additionally, dairy produced in non-organic farms may contain external hormones and pesticides, which can exacerbate skin conditions. We recommend eating calcium-rich vegetables such as spinach and collard greens to compensate for eating less dairy.
It also appears that following a low-glycemic diet is a key to clear skin. This is a diet that is low in refined carbohydrates and processed foods and high in produce and lean protein, which helps to keep the blood sugar stable. It’s been theorized that a high-glycemic diet can lead to insulin resistance, where the body needs to produce ever-increasing amounts of the hormone insulin in order to clear glucose (sugar) from the blood. Insulin resistance has been definitively linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, and there is evidence that it also leads to acne and more skin inflammation. Further research is needed, but a few studies suggest a benefit for acne in following a low-glycemic diet.
Following are recommendations for following the latest Dietary Guidelines and selecting foods that feed a clear complexion:

  • Whole grains. These products contain a wealth of skin-healthy nutrients such as antioxidants and fiber, which can stabilize your blood sugar and prompt skin repair. Expand beyond wheat to other grains such as quinoa, oatmeal, bulgur, whole-grain barley and brown rice.
  • Fruits and vegetables. Leafy green vegetables contain many antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory nutrients, as well as fiber, which again can regulate blood sugar.
  • Healthy fats. Fatty, ocean-sourced fish such as salmon, albacore tuna, herring, anchovies, and sardines, as well as walnuts, flaxseed, and canola oil are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which may reduce inflammation in your body that could be exacerbating skin conditions. These essential fatty acids also help to keep your skin healthy, maintain its natural oil barrier, and make it look younger (less wrinkly) and clearer. Other sources of “good fats” are olive oil and avocados.
  • Plant protein is a good alternative to red meat. Contrary to popular belief, most plants are very rich in protein. It is best to eat plants in salad form, or lightly steamed, as cooking them destroys many of their vital nutrients.
  • Tea. Green, black and other teas are a good source of antioxidants, in contrast to coffee, which has a lot of acid that can increase insulin production and inflammation, and ultimately cause wrinkling. Limit coffee to one cup a day, or switch to tea.
  • Water. Staying hydrated with plain-old water is essential to good health and good skin. It is best to drink filtered water, stored in a glass bottle, throughout the day!

Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, is a dermatologist with New York & New Jersey-based Advanced Dermatology and the Center for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery.

Dr. Joshua Fox Offers Tips on Treating Contact Dermatitis


Dr. Joshua Fox Offers Tips on Treating Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed after coming into contact with certain substances. The good news is that the condition is fairly easy to treat, at least once you’ve done some detective work to figure out what’s causing the reaction,” says Dr. Joshua Fox, a New York-based dermatologist and founder of Advanced Dermatology, P.C.

Roslyn, NY (PRWEB) March 21, 2012

Have you ever had a skin reaction—red bumps, itching, swelling—that you can’t readily explain? Most people have. It may be contact dermatitis, and it can be pretty uncomfortable, lasting for days to weeks. “Luckily, the condition is fairly easy to treat, at least once you’ve done some detective work to figure out what’s causing the reaction,” says Dr. Joshua Fox, a New York-based dermatologist and founder of Advanced Dermatology, P.C. “And don’t worry: It’s neither contagious, nor life-threatening.”

What Is Contact Dermatitis? Contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed after coming into contact with certain substances. Usually, the irritation occurs at the site of contact: For instance, you might develop red, itchy bumps on the side of your face if you’re allergic to the cover of your cellphone. But you might also have itching everywhere if you’ve used a detergent that your skin doesn’t agree with.

There are two main categories: irritant contact dermatitis and allergic contact dermatitis. Irritant contact dermatitis is more common. It occurs when a substance damages the outer layer of the skin. Allergic contact dermatitis is triggered when you touch a substance that you’re allergic to, which leads to an immune reaction in the skin, often getting worse with repeated exposures.

Either way, typical symptoms include a red rash or bumps, itching, blisters, dry patches, and pain or tenderness in the area of exposure. “The reaction can be restricted to a small area or it can be extensive, depending on the nature of the exposure, meaning how strong the irritant is and how long you were exposed to it for,” explains Dr. Fox.

Although the causes of contact dermatitis can vary widely, some of the more common substances implicated are:

  • Nickel (often found in jewelry, clothing fasteners, and coins)
  • Poison ivy, oak, and sumac
  • Cashew nuts
  • Citrus fruit
  • Topical medicines that are applied to the skin, such as antibiotics, antihistamines, and antiseptics
  • Fragrances and flavorings
  • Strong soaps and detergents
  • Skin cleansers, cosmetics, hair dyes and straighteners, and deodorants
  • Cleaning products and other chemicals
  • Clothing and shoes
  • Latex

“Almost anything can cause a reaction,” Dr. Fox notes. “The medical literature highlights examples of people with contact dermatitis as a result of exposure to eye makeup, hair dye, kitty litter, sanitary napkins, diapers, and all sorts of other things. Even organic or natural products can be problematic, since they may contain essential oils and fragrances, or they may be made from ingredients such as chamomile, feverfew, and calendula that are common allergens.”

How Is Contact Dermatitis Treated? The first step in dealing with contact dermatitis is determining the source of the skin irritation and then avoiding any additional exposure to it. If you do have contact with it, wash your skin as soon as possible, which may prevent the reaction if you wash it quickly enough after touching it. You might also consider wearing protective gloves while doing certain chores if you suspect household products are causing the rash. The same applies to substances you come into contact with on the job, such as chemicals: “Wear gloves if you think they may be too harsh for your skin,” Dr. Fox suggests.

When you have symptoms and a rash, you can apply a non-prescription anti-itch cream with 1% hydrocortisone, calamine lotion, or compresses to the area for relief or take an over-the-counter oral antihistamine such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine). You also might want to take a cool bath with colloidal oatmeal or baking soda, as that can help heal the bumps and soothe the dry patches, followed by an application of moisturizer. “It’s important not to scratch the area, as difficult as that sounds,” Dr. Fox advises, “because that will make the problem worse, not better, and can cause an infection and possible scarring. .”

When to See a Dermatologist The cause of contact dermatitis can be unclear, in which case you should see a dermatologist for assessment and testing. “If I suspect allergic contact dermatitis, I can do patch testing to narrow down to a specific allergen of interest,” says Dr. Fox. This entails placing adhesive patches containing traces of possible allergens on your skin and leaving them on for 48 hours. If a reaction occurs, the allergen(s) of interest has been found and can then be avoided. Perhaps most important is to see a member of the American Contact Dermatitis Association. They can tell you which product you can safely use without the offending allergen.

Seeing a dermatologist is a good idea since he can treat both the condition and its complications. Neurodermatitis is a condition that can develop when contact dermatitis persists for a long time or is unusually severe; it’s characterized by chronic itching and scaly patches of skin. You can also develop a bacterial or fungal skin infection if you scratch too much, leading to open wounds, scarring and skin discoloration. In these cases, your dermatologist can provide necessary treatments which are not available over the counter.

Teen Acne – Tips for Selecting the Best Treatment


Teen Acne – Tips for Selecting the Best Treatment

By Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD
Mar 1, 2012 – 2:03:25 PM

( – NY, NY, March 2012 – While there have been big advances in the way we treat teenage acne in the past few years, there is no single approach that works for every patient. For the best results, dermatologists need to match the treatment to the teen. According to Dr. Valerie Goldburt, a leading expert on teen acne and dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology and its Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, there’s more to finding the best treatment than just examining the patient’s pimples: “If you want to see results, you need to consider a teen’s active lifestyle,” she says. Despite the fact that today’s therapies can effectively treat the problem, patient compliance is often as important as the therapies themselves.

Acne often causes serious social, emotional, and psychological problems, she adds, and its symptoms can vary dramatically with age, heredity, habits, and beliefs. “Lots of teens have misconceptions about the causes of acne and unrealistic treatment expectations. They often have trouble incorporating the treatment into their daily lives or sticking with it long-term after they start to see results.” Doctors and patients need to discuss the patient’s lifestyle, family history, and habits—as well as his or her expectations—and then decide together which medicines are best, she explains.

Acne Explained

Although acne is hardly something new—the ancient Greeks and Egyptians were battling pimples, and practically every teenager today has them—the exact cause of acne remains unknown, Dr. Goldburt says. It is caused by several related factors, including the rise in male sex hormones that occurs in all adolescents, which sends the sebaceous (oil) glands into overdrive. Another important factor is heredity: Most pimply teens have one (or two) parents with their own history of acne. There are also several other factors that are typical for most teens: Psychological stress, cosmetics (too much or inappropriate makeup), pressure from a sports helmet or uniform, exposure to oil in the air (think of the fry vats at most fast-food places), and overly zealous scrubbing. Additionally, there is new evidence that suggests processed foods with a high glycemic index may promote break outs. Dairy foods have also been implicated as a cause of acne but further research to confirm this preliminary finding is required.

Treatment Options for Teens

Dermatologists most often recommend topical medications for teens with acne. The most common nonprescription options are benzoyl peroxide, mild acids like salicylic acid, and sulfur-based products. Prescription-strength topical medications include topical antibiotics, sulfer based products and retinoids (derivatives of Vitamin A) such as tretinoin (Retin-A), adapalene (Differin), and tazarotene (Tazorac). All of these medicines are available as gels, lotions, creams, soaps, liquids, and pads. They require compliance, meaning the teen needs to be consistent in using them. Dr. Goldburt says, “I always ask teenagers, if I prescribe a topical medicine, will you use it? Half the time, the answer is no.” She believes that, especially among the young male population, there is a stigma associated with cream use. “Liquid soaps are sometimes a better topical choice, because the soaps can be used in the shower, where there is already an activity (the shower) in progress.”

Additionally, many a teen has heard their dermatologist tell them that sometimes things get worse before they get better. “That’s because the medications speed up the life cycle of all the pimples, including the little baby pimples that would have taken a lot longer to come to a head without medicine.” Also, topical acne medicines can easily be over-used, especially by teenagers who follow the more-is-better mantra, because they are often desperate to get an instant clear complexion. Most acne medications need to be used in small amounts so this approach can cause side effects like dryness, irritation, burning, or redness. This will force patients to stop using the medications before they’ve had a chance to work. Some medications may interact with the sun. Dr. Goldburt says the dermatologist needs to talk with the patient about ways to minimize and manage the side effects.

Stronger options include prescription oral medications: antibiotics, isotretinoin (Sotret, Claravis, Amnesteem, formerly sold as Accutane), and hormonal therapy (birth control pills and spironolactone). These pills could interact with medication or birth control pills, so care must be taken. As with any pill, these drugs need to be taken as prescribed, meaning a teen who’s less-than-perfect at sticking to a schedule may not do very well on them. However, many teenagers prefer pills to creams, since there is a perception that they are easier to use. Frequently, the teen who won’t use topical medications will be extremely compliant with oral medicines. Occasionally, Dr. Goldburt comes across a teen who hasn’t learned how to swallow pills. “Most pills are smaller than the bites we take out of food, so there’s definitely a psychological barrier. You can get practice with tic tacs, and once you swallow those little pills, you realize the other pills are only slightly bigger and go down easily with some water.“ She recommends teenagers discuss how to take pills properly with their dermatologist.

In addition, dermatologists can use in-office procedures such as laser or light therapy, acne surgery and corticosteroid injections for large or painful pimples and to permanently fix the acne scarring. These procedures don’t require compliance (with the exception of making it to the appointments), and as a result are usually a good option for teen patients.

In many cases, adolescent acne goes hand-in-hand with psychological issues, says Dr. Goldburt. “Research shows that psychological stress can definitely exacerbate acne, and numerous other studies have shown that having acne can create or worsen depression and social anxiety.” Whichever way you look at it, she says, being depressed or anxious can significantly affect your compliance with a treatment plan. “It might be better to bite the bullet and pull out the ‘big guns’ to treat acne in these patients,” she explains. “The stronger medicines can lead to more dramatic results, which create big improvements in the patient’s emotional well-being and complexion.”

About Dr. Goldburt: Valerie Goldburt, MD, PhD, graduated Harvard University with honors. She continued to pursue her interest in science and medicine at Columbia University, where she earned a master’s degree studying the effects of ultraviolet light on cancer proteins, and then at Downstate Medical Center, where she completed her PhD in microbiology and immunology, and received her MD. Dr. Goldburt completed a dermatology residency. Dr. Goldburt is board-certified in dermatology and a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is an authority on dermatology, with expertise in cosmetic and surgical procedures. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor at NYU Langone Medical Center and practices with Advanced Dermatology, P.C., Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, cheap Abilify