Sunday, August 23, 2020

Tetracycline—does it help with problem skin or is it just a temporary fix?

Linda is a client of mine. Her son, Michael, has had problem skin his whole teenage life and has been on tetracycline* for years. Now, at age nineteen, his skin is a mess. The antibiotics have long-since stopped working and his dermatologist is suggesting Accutane. His mother is, to say the least, disappointed and unsure of what to do.
*Tetracycline is a grade of antibiotics under the heading of tetracyclines.
Linda has told me Michael eats a diet rich in poor-quality foods. She insists he doesn’t drink sodas and juice at home, but I told her I bet he does at his friend’s houses. Teenagers and soda pop pretty much go hand in hand. And you can best bet if his friends drink cokes, so does he. So although she makes sure to keep her own house as sugarfree as possible, the world is a huge candy store just waiting for a teenager’s sometimes questionable judgment to come partake.

I told Linda that her son can go on and stay on drugs his whole life, but until he stops feeding the problem—literally—his skin troubles will continue. Due to his age, his hormones may still be surging and will settle down with time, but in the meantime it would be great if he could learn to change his eating habits.  
The challenge with teens especially is not only are their hormones kicking in, but they haven’t for the most part learned the relationship between action and consequence. They don’t have the responsibility thing down—at least not when it comes to diet. For those of you who are responsible or who have responsible kids, please don’t be offended. I’m not saying all kids are irresponsible in all ways. But even adults have a hard time with understanding that what they are eating may be affecting their bodies, their health, their skin. And in my experience (plus I was a teenager once), I find teens haven’t made that connection yet.
One positive thing about Michael is he is coming to Linda and expressing disgust with his skin. That’s actually a good sign because it means he will be open to some degree to changing his ways and listening to helpful advice. Here is a fact that has repeated itself to me over and over again: If someone sees improvement after making a change (like cutting back or quitting sugar), they are more prone to continuing to change. If no improvement is seen (like after buying expensive products, for instance), then they are less likely to continue doing the new change.

The point to this story is to say that taking antibiotics won’t necessarily clear up your skin. It may be a temporary fix, but unless you change your eating habits (or just grow out of the teenage hormonal years), antibiotics definitely are not a cure-all. And they can actually affect your body’s immune system by weakening it. Start at the source and see what positive changes you can make that will surely result in positive changes in your skin’s health—and of course for the health of your entire body.

As far as Michael going down the Accutane road, I have many articles on the ills (and sometimes positives) of taking Accutane. Like any and all of these skin care remedy medications, they are serious drugs and they can and do have consequences. If taking a drug seems an easier fix than changing your diet and being careful about what you put into your body, then I guess that is the road youll choose. But without taking stock of your diet and other incidentals that could also be affecting your skins condition, in my opinion that is a road I dont recommend taking.

For more information on Accutane specifically, see:
For other helpful information, see: