Q: I’ve struggled with acne for years. I go to the dermatologist, but I don’t use the medicine very much. Do you have any tips on simple ways to improve my acne? Like certain foods I should eat and not eat, or stuff I should do and not do?

I can give you my two cents, but if you’re already seeing a dermatologist, I’m going to go out on a limb here and wager that he or she knows much more than I do on the subject!

Foods: the more natural the better. As much as we all love ice cream (dairy), pizza and chocolate chip cookies, they’re are a sure-fire way to wake up with a constellation of red pimples the next day. (Not to mention all the other bad things they do to our bodies! lol) Excess salt, sugar and oils have all been shown to aggravate blemishes. Make sure you’re drinking enough clear liquids (e.g., water), too, and getting at least moderate exercise.

Try not to over-process your skin. Sometimes we make acne worse by trying too hard to get rid of it, by using too many products containing harsh chemicals and skin-drying agents.

Lastly, make sure you’re giving your skin room to breathe. Check your cosmetics to make sure they’re formulated for sensitive skin, and then only use what’s absolutely necessary (no caking allowed!).

Those are my “simple” solutions. But if you’re already following this advice without any improvement, I defer to whatever regimen your dermatologist recommends.

Love,