Acne Q&A: Your Skin Stumpers, Solved!
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Acne Q&A: Your Skin Stumpers, Solved!

Acne ranks numero uno among your beauty queries. Here, beauty editor Leah Wyar clears things up.
Can Lip Balm Cause Pimples?

-- Gina Kushynski, Los Angeles

Answer: Applying one with your finger could deposit bacteria on your skin. Switch to sticks. If you moisturize your lips before bed, cleanse the area around your mouth the next morning. "Residue from the balm's wax can clog pores and migrate to the chin and sides of your mouth, causing a breakout," spa owner Jillian Wright says.

Can you spread acne by sharing towels or makeup?

-- Leann Sabato, River Vale, New Jersey

Answer: Yes. Innocent-seeming swaps can transfer sebum, dead skin cells, and dirt to you. In fact, research shows that people with severe, antibiotic-resistant acne are likely to spread the condition this way, says Jeffrey Dover, MD, president-elect of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Keep your stuff to yourself.

Are there certain foods that prevent breakouts?

-- Elyse Cannon, Greenville, North Carolina

Answer: Absolutely! Pile your plate with orange-colored goodies like sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, carrots, and apricots. "They're high in vitamin A, which keeps skin cells healthy and may even reduce oil production," Dr. Howard Murad says. Also, be sure to eat foods such as nuts and salmon, which contain healthy fats that help your body absorb a variety of vitamins, including A.

Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2009.