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Oxsoralen (Methoxsalen)

With the increased awareness of the damaging effects of sunlight many teenagers are being encouraged to wear sunscreens. Unfortunately, most sunscreens have a moisturizing base and so tend to aggravate acne. People who suffer from acne should wear alcohol-based sunscreens, which are now available as either clear liquids or gels. Examples include Clinique Oil-Free Sun Block SPF 15, Ella Bache Great Sports Gel SPF 15+ and Koala Beach SPF 15 Gel. They may sting, however, and in this case an appropriate alternative would be a milky sunscreen such as Ego SunSense Toddler Milk, Ego Sunsensitive, Clinique City Block, Ella Bache Oil Free and Roche Aquababy.
Many vitamin preparations contain kelp which is known to aggravate acne. Kelp is an iodine-containing substance, which in high concentrations stimulates pus. It is best for people with acne to avoid all vitamin preparations as they are of no benefit and can actually be counterproductive. There is no scientific evidence that vitamin therapy or zinc tablets are useful for acne.
Stress is a common aggravating factor in acne, although the reason for this is poorly understood. It probably works through the stimulation of male hormones called androgens that are secreted from a gland called the adrenal gland during times of stress. It is, however, impossible to live without some stress and acne itself can produce more stress. Adequate treatment of acne will often relieve stress associated with lowered self-esteem. Lack of sleep may also be an aggravating factor here, and people with acne should always try to get enough sleep.
The oral contraceptive pill
As most people are aware, the oral contraceptive pill contains synthetic oestrogens and synthetic progestogens. The synthetic progestogens have a male hormone-like activity and so can aggravate acne. The pills that contain a higher ratio of progestogen to oestrogen will often make acne worse whereas those containing a higher concentration of oestrogen will tend to improve acne. Higher oestrogen-containing pills such as Biphasil and Sequilar are often useful in treating women with acne, particularly those with premenstrual flare ups. This can be discussed with your doctor.
Certain drugs can aggravate acne, particularly the anti-epileptic drugs and lithium. This issue should be discussed with your doctor.

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