'Little evidence' acne treatments are effective
Widely used acne treatments, which are publicised as cures, can be ineffective warns a report by the experts at the University of Nottingham, often at considerable expense to the sufferer or the NHS.
As a result, the study, published online in The Lancet, says there is an increasingly urgent need to test treatments as well as to develop more effective non-antibiotic therapies, including looking at diet - a cause disregarded by GPs.
The findings come as no surprise to one acne expert who has for years, been calling for the way the NHS treats acne to be changed to consider diet as a cause.
Elaine Mummery suffered terrible acne for over 10 years, which no amount of prescription medication would clear. Instead, she found herself suffering from such poor health that her GP told her she was most likely suffering from M.E. at just 23 years old.
Fed up of suffering, Elaine began looking for a solution herself. She uncovered scientific research proving a link between nutrition and acne. This provided her with a starting point and after a week of cutting out cow's milk from her diet, Elaine's acne began clearing up. She now has perfect skin but it took until the age of 35 for her to achieve clear skin and good health.
Elaine is now campaigning for a change in the way the NHS treats acne and has given up a highly successful career in the export industry to do so.
Elaine said: "For me, an intolerance to cow's milk was the sole reason for my acne, but not one health professional picked up on this. Up to 70% of the world's population cannot tolerate lactose, the sugar found in milk, in adulthood without even knowing it.
"We are constantly told that milk is a 'superdrink' that has all kinds of health benefits. But this simply isn't true. The human digestive system struggles to digest milk. Scientists have noted that lactose tolerance dips greatly after weaning and for some people it can continue to dip during childhood until a lactose intolerance problem shows itself. Lactose tolerance in some countries is more unusual than lactose intolerance but the majority of people do not know this and continue to have milk, often suffering with skin conditions such as acne."
Elaine has over 20 years of experience in researching the causes and in treating acne. She has helped high-profile stars, such as Premiership footballers, successfully deal with the problem. She believes the link between acne and nutrition is often wrongly discounted by GPs across the UK.
She said: "The lactase enzyme is produced by the good bacteria in the digestive tract therefore for some people, lactose intolerance can often indicate a lack of good bacteria. However, our doctors are failing to understand the direct link between dairy and acne so they continue to prescribe antibiotics to treat the acne thus increasing the problem by wiping out any remaining good bacteria. Acne cannot possibly be resolved if doctors continue to treat the condition in this way."
Her experience follows years of independent research, conducted due to her own GPs, and numerous alternative health practitioners', inability to clear her skin. The research proved that a clear link between acne and food existed.
She said: "It's no coincidence that the people who deny the link between acne and diet are selling acne lotions, pills and medication.
"The dairy board and all companies that produce cheese, yoghurt and chocolate all stand to lose considerable amounts of money if the public were to be made aware just how many health problems, including acne, can be caused by dairy. This should not deter those that know the health problems attached to dairy from making the public aware of this potential cause. Acne can ruin teenage lives and can cause some teenagers to take their own lives. Any steps that can improve the lives of our young people must be taken."
This is a view shared by one of the industry's top researchers. Professor T. Colin Campbell is a retired professor of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, New York. For over 40 years Professor Campbell has been at the forefront of nutrition research. His book, The China Study, is the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted.
He said: "The dairy industry invests millions in milk advertising and promotion. It could be argued that they present a biased view motivated by financial interest. An increasing amount of scientific evidence now shows that cow's milk is not the wonder food the dairy industry would have us believe.
"This research goes further in linking the consumption of cow's milk to a wide range of health problems. Many people, even health professionals, may find it hard to be objective about the detrimental impact of dairy products on health described in [this]".
Elaine Mummery runs the Elaine Mummery Acne Clinic and is the author of the UK's best selling acne book, Spotless - The Essential Guide to Getting rid of Spots and Acne.
For more information, visit elainemummeryacneclinic.com