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Alternatives for Treating Acne

Q. My mother, a retired nurse, encouraged me to write you regarding my son’s acne problem. He is 19 and has been through many rounds of antibiotics with limited success. I don’t like his taking antibiotics for such long periods of time. Any suggestions?

A. You will laugh at our suggestion and dermatologists will cringe. We have heard from readers that putting milk of magnesia on the skin can be helpful for acne. One mother recently shared the following story:

“I wrote you several months ago about my son who almost died back in October 2007 from vitamin A poisoning. The dermatologist taking care of him had prescribed Accutane, and that seems to have been the cause.

“He has been using milk of magnesia topically at bedtime for months now. Our pediatrician ran a test to make sure he wasn’t getting too much magnesium, and also retested the vitamin A level to see if it had come back to normal.

“The happy news is that both magnesium and vitamin A levels are normal. My son looks great and feels well.”

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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