Can a Book Help Cure Your Acne?
Writers of acne books often promise overnight cures of skin care issues you have had for weeks, months, or years. No acne book can tell you how to cure acne in 24 hours or less, but some acne books are better than others. Let’s take a look at the bestsellers.
- Some acne books offer useful information. Others are only hype.
- The Acne Cure describes a complicated skin care regimen that may result in immediate skin clearing for people with oily, chemical-resistant skin, but that can make some kinds of acne much worse.
- Written by a kindly dermatologist, Acne for Dummies offers useful information without product marketing.
- Acne Free in Three Days works for no one and is potentially dangerous for health.
- The Acne Prescription provides information on antioxidants that can be very helpful for getting rid of acne scars.
- The Clear Skin Diet offers an in-depth explanation of the relationship of diet and acne, and then makes contradictory recommendations.
- Unblemished is an outdated treasure trove of acne information.
- No acne book offers as much information or newer information than this site.
The Acne Cure: The Nonprescription Plan That Shows Dramatic Results in as Little as 24 Hours, by Terry Dubrown and Brenda Adderly
This perennial bestseller promises immediate relief from acne—but only if readers follow an exact skin treatment protocol. Every morning readers are asked to use a salicylic acid skin peel followed by a glycolic acid skin peel followed by moisturizer and sun screen. Every evening they are asked to use the salicylic acid skin peel and then the glycolic acid skin peel1 again, When the exfoliants are washed off, then you apply a benzoyl peroxide gel that you “freeze” into your skin with the application of an ice pack. Then you repeat all these steps again the next day, and the next day, and so on until your blemishes have gone away for good2.
This program is most likely to work for you if you have oily skin that is not easily “excited” by chemical treatments. If you have sensitive skin, you may wind up making your blemishes more noticeable, not less, and this program will not work for cystic acne or rosacea. There will be many people who literally notice a difference overnight. But that could be good or bad.
Acne for Dummies by Dr. Herbert Goodheart
Dermatologist Herbert Goodheart has written a book about acne that won’t insult anyone’s intelligence but that is easy for anyone to understand. Discussing acne in teens, acne in adults, over the counter products, antibiotics, Accutane and similar medications, and “weapons of zit destruction,” Goodheart explains complex concepts in a compassionate and engaging style without promoting any particular acne device or skin care product.
Acne Free in 3 Days: How I Cured My Acne Condition in 3 Days by Chris Gibson
Available over the Internet and from Amazon.com, This book recommends fasting3 and enemas—and if your skin really is clearer in three days, it is because you have become emaciated from lack of food and disruption to your electrolyte levels. Don’t buy this book.
The Acne Prescription: The Perricone Program for Clear and Healthy Skin at Every Age by Nicholas Perricone
Dr. Nicholas Perricone became famous in the 1990’s for The Perricone Prescription for treating wrinkles. Perricone was a regular guest on almost all US network television shows appealing to women, from Oprah to Dr. Oz. The Acne Prescription was a follow-up to his much more successful book on aging skin care.
Dr. Perricone does not offer a lot of ideas for acne care, but he offers some very good ones. Using his experience with antioxidants for treating wrinkles, he explains how alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE4 can be used to repair indented and outward-facing acne scars, and how to use diet to reduce inflammation. There are no miracle cures in Perricone’s acne book, and you will find the same basic recommendations in his other books, but the recommendations on antioxidants5 alone are worth the price of the book if you have not looked through the pages on this site.
Breaking Out: A Woman’s Guide to Coping with Acne at Any Age by Lydia Preston and Tina Alster
During their reproductive years, many women tend to break out with acne in odd places in sync with their menstrual periods. Usually starting just before menstruation and resolving just before ovulation, acne can break out on the face, around the breasts, and on the back and shoulders only to heal as estrogen levels rise6 during the first 10 days of the next menstrual period. This book tells women what they need to know to about premenstrual acne7—and answers common questions about why many women’s acne actually gets worse in their adult years.
Breaking Out discusses treatments ranging from alpha-hydroxy acids to zinc and everything in between. Even men may find the discussion of acne treatments useful.
The Clear Skin Diet by Alan C. Logan and Valerie Treloar
The Clear Skin Diet offers a carefully documented and scientifically grounded explanation of an anti-acne diet8 that works. The problem with this book is that the discussion of insulin reactions, hormone modulations, and sebum production is so technical that even acne experts have trouble following it. In fact, even if you ignore the science, you may have trouble following the book.
In the first half of the book, Dr. Logan describes milk and dairy products as enemies of clear skin9. The he recommends cheese as an acne-fighting food, with the note that it “may worsen acne in some people.” Logan condemns omega-6 fatty acids as a primary cause of inflammation, and then fails to explain why he recommends olive, sesame, and canola oil (all of which are high in omega-6 fats) for fighting acne later in the book. The book recommends relatively exotic (for most American readers) plant foods such as hummus and quinoa, and urges the consumption of organic food.
Most readers will find this book heavy on theory and light on practical applications. It’s a great source of information for a term paper, however.
Unblemished: Stop Breakouts! Fight Acne! Transform Your Life! Reclaim Your Self-Esteem with the Proven 3-Step Program Using Over-the-Counter Medications by Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy Fields, with a foreword by American celebrity Vanessa Williams
This book is very useful! It describes products that work that you can buy at Target and Walmart! Written in a hyped and high-pressure sales style by the creators of the ProActiv product line, Unblemished is a treasure trove of actionable information for treating acne. It discusses acne on people of color and makes great suggestions regarding the use of makeup. Some parents will object, however, to the suggestion that girls as young as 14 start taking the Pill to counteract the effects of hormones on acne.
Some acne books are helpful, other acne books are hype. But no acne book contains as much information as this website.
- Chen X, Wang S, Yang M, Li L. Chemical peels for acne vulgaris: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. BMJ Open. 2018 Apr 28;8(4):e019607.
- Al-Talib H, Al-Khateeb A, Hameed A, Murugaiah C. Efficacy and safety of superficial chemical peeling in treatment of active acne vulgaris. An Bras Dermatol. 2017 Mar-Apr;92(2):212-216.
- Bragazzi NL, Sellami M, Salem I, Conic R, Kimak M, Pigatto PDM, Damiani G. Fasting and Its Impact on Skin Anatomy, Physiology, and Physiopathology: A Comprehensive Review of the Literature. Nutrients. 2019 Jan 23;11(2):249.
- Addor FAS. Antioxidants in dermatology. An Bras Dermatol. 2017 May-Jun;92(3):356-362.
- Al-Shobaili HA. Oxidants and anti-oxidants status in acne vulgaris patients with varying severity. Ann Clin Lab Sci. 2014 Spring;44(2):202-7.
- Trivedi MK, Shinkai K, Murase JE. A Review of hormone-based therapies to treat adult acne vulgaris in women. Int J Womens Dermatol. 2017 Mar 30;3(1):44-52.
- Saint-Jean M, Khammari A, Seite S, Moyal D, Dreno B. Characteristics of premenstrual acne flare-up and benefits of a dermocosmetic treatment: a double-blind randomised trial. Eur J Dermatol. 2017 Apr 1;27(2):144-149. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2016.2952.
- Kucharska A, Szmurło A, Sińska B. Significance of diet in treated and untreated acne vulgaris. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2016 Apr;33(2):81-6.
- Juhl CR, Bergholdt HKM, Miller IM, Jemec GBE, Kanters JK, Ellervik C. Dairy Intake and Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of 78,529 Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults. Nutrients. 2018 Aug 9;10(8):1049.
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