Parents across the nation are worried by the seemingly rampant reports of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) infections in schools all over the United States. In recent weeks, a teenage boy has died and dozens of students have contracted the bacterial infection. Health experts say overuse of antibiotics has contributed to the rapid spread of MRSA, once a problem confined primarily to hospital settings. The public health concern of growing antimicrobial resistance is a prime reason 50 percent of dermatologists report cutting back on antibiotics to treat acne according to the Galderma Quality Report for Dermatology and Managed Care.
On the surface, acne sufferers might feel frustrated, believing that their treatment options have narrowed. But holistic health experts say curbing the reliance on antibiotics is a step in the right direction for the millions of Americans who suffer from acne –and to the general public in light of the prevalence of drug resistant bacteria.
Chris Gibson, a holistic health and lifestyle coach and author of the book, Acne Free in 3 Days, believes antibiotics are a problematic treatment choice for acne. He urges parents to be cautious when seeking an acne regimen that’s safe and effective for kids.
“You have your family doctor saying we don’t want to over-prescribe antibiotics,” says Gibson. “Then you take your teenager to a dermatologist and typically one of the first options has been antibiotics. With the drug-resistant ‘super-bugs’ in the news, no wonder parents are anxious. Just look at the numbers involved. An estimated 80 percent of teens have some acne, so imagine the volume of antibiotics being consumed if only a fraction of these teens get prescriptions.”
The growing problem of drug resistance isn’t the only drawback to antibiotics. Side effects are also a major concern. For example, antibiotics can upset the natural balance in your digestive track and stain your teeth.
“I can speak from experience about the side effects,” says Gibson, who once suffered from chronic acne. “The digestive issues alone can create a major disruption to the balance of good bacteria in your body- the bacteria that your immune system needs to stay healthy.”
Other medications such as Accutane have been the subject of lawsuits after being linked to heart, liver and bowel disease along with depression and suicide. Accutane, normally reserved as a drug of last resort for people with severe, cystic acne, is also known to cause birth defects. But many acne sufferers reach a point of desperation where they’d try just about anything to improve their skin.