Where does acne come from? Please tell me it's not from chocolate!

I don’t want to have acne and scars on my face like my father.

A teenager with acne (Illustrative) (photo credit: MARTIN GEE/TNS)
A teenager with acne (Illustrative)
(photo credit: MARTIN GEE/TNS)
I am a 13-year-old boy. My father, when he was my age, got severe acne. For some reason, he still has quite a lot of acne scars on his face. I don’t know if he was not treated right or in time or for what other reason he has scars. I don’t want to have acne and scars on my face like him. Does acne come from eating chocolate (I am a chocolate fan)? What can I do to prevent it?
R.N., Jerusalem
Veteran Jerusalem dermatologist Dr. Julian Shamroth answers: Deep-seated acne – also known as cystic acne – is often hereditary. It tends to be extensive and occurs not only on the face, but also on the chest and back. It usually causes scarring. Unlike ordinary acne, it can persist for years, even into one’s 50s. It is not caused by eating chocolate.
Fortunately, we have potent anti-acne drugs that result in a rapid clearing of the acne. The treatment usually lasts about six months and is very effective. I suggest you ask your parents to take you to a dermatologist (skin specialist). The sooner you start treatment, the better.
I am a 78-year-old woman. Before spending, possibly wasting, money could you ask a dermatologist if he/she thinks that a new product on the market which boasts that two drops twice a day added to a moisturizer with pure vitamin C will reduce the look of lines and wrinkles over time?
E.G., Netanya.
Dr. Schamroth answers this question, too:
I would like to know what ingredient is in these “two drops twice a day.” From my experience, these treatments are usually expensive, do not work and are merely a scam exploiting the ignorance of the user. Furthermore, they won’t tell you what it contains.
I am 81 years old and have been diagnosed with a rash named lichen planus, which may or may not be a side effect of Prolia injections that I’m given for treatment of osteoporosis.
The rash on my chest has subsided with the use of a steroid cream, but it is causing great pain in my mouth and gums. I have been given a prescription for Dermovate cream, which I am reluctant to use. Is there an alternative.
D.R., Rehovot
Dr. Schamroth answers this dermatological question as well:
Lichen planus (LP) is an autoimmune skin disorder characterized by pruritic (itchy) purple, planar (flat surface), polygonal, plaques and papules (note the Ps). The surface of the lesions often shows fine white lines known as Wickham’s striae.
The lesions can occur anywhere on the skin, but are most frequently found on the arms and legs. Nail and scalp lesions can sometimes be found. The skin lesions tend to be extremely itchy, but – unlike other itchy disorders such as eczema – scratch marks are often absent. Many patients with cutaneous LP also have lesions in the mouth. These are characterized by purple lesions on the inner sides of the cheek. Other mucosal surfaces can also be affected, including the tongue, esophagus and genitalia.
LP is believed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the body makes antibodies against some cell components in the skin. LP can also be triggered by various drugs, some forms of liver disease and after a bone-marrow transplant. Stress does not cause LP, but it might exacerbate the lesions. Sunlight might play a role. LP is not contagious, and it is not inherited.
In most patients, the lesions persist for a few years and then subside, but chronic cases do occur, especially if the LP involves the mouth.
The condition is, unfortunately, extremely difficult to treat, but cortisone creams would be a good initial treatment. If cortisone creams fail to improve the condition – which unfortunately often occurs – then other treatments such as retinoids and ultra-violet therapy can be tried. My advice would be to start with a strong cortisone cream for a few months. Dermovate is an excellent cream to use, but since long-term use might cause some thinning of the skin, one should change to a milder cortisone cream if and when the condition subsides.
Rx for Readers welcomes queries from readers about medical problems. Experts will answer those we find most interesting. Write Rx for Readers, The Jerusalem Post, POB 81, Jerusalem 9100002, fax your question to Judy Siegel-Itzkovich at (02) 538-9527, or email it to jsiegel@ jpost.com, giving your initials, age and place of residence.