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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

A Holistic Dermatologist’s Tips for Staying Acne-Free: Your Secret Habits That Keep You from Having Beautiful Skin

Apr 29, 2015 12:06PM ● By Alan M. Dattner, MD

These secret habits have to do with the condition that plagues so many women, especially young women: acne. They know that sugar is likely to aggravate their condition, so they sneak their candy or chocolate, or gorge on cake, cookies, and junk food on special occasions or extra-stressful workdays. Or, since it’s natural, they eat a lot of fruit on a regular basis. Or maybe they can’t stay away from pasta and other refined starches.

Some women can’t stand to have a new bump on their face, so they’re constantly checking for bumps with their fingers when no one is around, until they finally discover (or cause) one. Then, when they do find a pimple or cyst, they squeeze it to make it flatter, only to find later that their strategy has backfired. Squeezing a cyst can make it burst under the skin and grow even bigger, leading to more inflammation and resulting in a dark spot that stays far longer than the acne would have if it had been left alone—glaring evidence of their secret habit.

Obviously, that habit needs to stop to prevent or improve acne. But there is another, far more socially acceptable, bad habit that needs to stop, too: sugar consumption.

Sugar needs to be at a minimum for at least two reasons.

First, it causes insulin levels to spike repeatedly, so that the cells become less responsive to insulin and the insulin levels keep getting higher. This causes the release of a protein called “insulin-like growth factor,” which is a known cause of acne.

Second, sugar feeds yeast and unfriendly bacteria in the intestinal tract, causing inflammation and a leaky gut, increasing autoimmunity and inflammation, and inhibiting the normal removal of unwanted hormones and toxins through the gut.

The years when a woman’s hormones are most active do not have to lead to a legacy of scarring. Let go of your bad habits, and your face will show the difference. Beauty is within your grasp.

Alan M. Dattner, MD, practices at Integrative Medicine and Dermatology, 17 Rodman Oval, New Rochelle, NY, and Central Park West, NYC. For info, visit To make an appointment, call 914.637.0908.