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Food isn’t cause of bad complexion

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Updated: February 23, 2013 6:17AM



Dr. Wallace: My mother seldom allows me to eat junk food, such as french fries or sweets of any kind, including scrumptious chocolate, carbonated beverages and ice cream.

This is because she wants me to continue having a clear complexion. When my mom was a teen, she wasn’t allowed to eat junk foods by her mother and my mom never had a complexion problem. Mom is convinced that you are what you eat and if you eat junk foods, you will have complexion problems.

I’ve been reading your column for more than a year and you have said many times that pimples, acne, whiteheads and blackheads are not caused by foods you eat, including junk foods. If that’s the case, what does cause facial blemishes? I need a reliable answer because my mom will not agree with you.

Nameless, Jackson, Miss.

Nameless: I have been in contact with several leading dermatologists (Dr. Jeffery Lauber in Southern California for one) and all agree that the dreaded teen complexion problems you mention are not caused by food intake.

Dr. Alan Shalita, professor of dermatology at the State University of New York at Brooklyn, teaches that acne and other complexion problems are a natural part of maturing physically. He says that as teens mature, they start producing additional hormones that, in turn, increase the production of oil in the pores of the skin. This oil has nothing to do with the oil consumed on greasy french fries.

Complexion problems occur when the oil and dead skin cells turn into a plug that blocks the pore and pushes up the skin surface, creating a whitehead. A blackhead forms when the oil in a plug dries and mixes with pigment in the skin. A pimple or acne cyst occurs when bacteria normally present in the skin start multiplying and inflame the inside of the plugged pore.

At the onset of a complexion problem, a visit to a dermatologist is paramount. Modern treatment can do wonders to improve or eliminate this problem. The earlier the treatment begins, the better.

Write to Dr. Wallace
at rwallace@galesburg.net



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