acne cures

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Spot Check: I wish there were a cure for acne.

Until now, the main treatments for dealing with acne have been topical and oral antibiotics (which clear the skin of acne-causing bacteria), retinoids (which prevent dead skin cells from clogging pores), and benzoyl peroxide (an antibacterial ingredient that eliminates acne-causing bacteria). But each has drawbacks: Antibiotics may contribute to antibiotic resistance; retinoids and benzoyl peroxide can cause irritation. As an alternative, the biopharmaceutical company Dermira has developed a gel called DRM01 that has an entirely new attack strategy. What makes it different, and likely more effective, is that it's preventive. One central cause of acne is excessive oil secreted by the sebaceous glands. DRM01 inhibits oil production by targeting an enzyme essential to the creation of the fatty acids that are a key component of sebum, says Eugene Bauer, MD, cofounder and chief medical officer of Dermira. It would be the first topical to stop the condition at the source. If phase 3 testing is successful and the FDA approves DRM01, it could become available in 18 to 24 months.

Also in the works: Using a technology similar to laser hair removal, researchers have begun experimenting with a laser that destroys oil glands without affecting the attached hair follicles—which could ultimately mean a cure for acne, says R. Rox Anderson, MD, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

In the meantime: Research suggests that dairy products, particularly skim milk, and refined carbs may worsen acne, so reducing your intake of them may give you a clearer complexion.