Toothpaste to treat spots? Honey for acne? Lemon juice on acne scars? Forums also mention acne treatments using green clay or vinegar to get rid of spots. Although teenagers talk a lot about these miracle acne solutions, the experts rarely give an opinion. We asked Dr Sandra Ly, Dermatologist at Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux University Hospital (France) and Joël Pacoret, Psychologist, Paris (France). Here’s what they had to say.

  • Joël Pacoret - Psychologist
    Joël Pacoret, Psychologist - Paris (France).

    I’m not against these kinds of techniques, as long as they are compatible with classic treatments.

    Joël Pacoret, Psychologist - Paris (France).

Using household remedies doesn’t have any scientific foundation, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be helpful…

When I’m asked if these tips help speed recovery, I generally reply that their efficacy hasn’t been proven. I can’t recommend them when we have treatments and cosmetic products that have been clinically tested. I always point out that if the person needs to consult a dermatologist, this suggests the other treatments haven’t been very effective. What’s more, you need to be careful. For example, citrus peel and some essential oils can provoke photosensitivity or allergies. Basically, I don’t say that they don’t work, only that there are no studies and I can’t recommend using these remedies.


  • visuels_sebium_sensitive_expert_quote_sandra-ly
    Dr Sandra Ly, Dermatologist - Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux University Hospital, and Dermatology Clinic in Gradignan (France).

    There is no miracle acne treatment.

    But there are some very effective treatments and my role is to advise patients on the most adapted therapy based on their individual situation. We have first-, second-and third-line treatments and it is important that the patient is monitored over a period of time to adapt to the treatment depending on how the acne evolves.

    Dr Sandra Ly, Dermatologist - Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux University Hospital, and Dermatology Clinic in Gradignan (France).

  Believing that something has an effect can help, just like all beliefs…

It is better to believe if this keeps you motivated. The problem isn’t the belief itself - this is a defence mechanism that is harmless and adapted to the situation. The problem occurs if this stops you from following a “real” treatment that is medically proven. This applies to all dermatological conditions and, more generally, health. These approaches can be complementary. But if the skin is very inflamed and requires isotretinoin, then that is what you need to take.“

For me, there is no reason to eliminate miracle treatments that you believe in

"Some patients think that certain products are going to do them good. If there is no dermatological counter-indication, why not?  So much the better if it helps, provided that the patient also follows the doctor’s recommendations. I am not opposed to these remedies as long as they are compatible with a classic treatment, if it is required."

Joël Pacoret, Psychologist, Paris (France)

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