(NaturalNews) According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), over-the-counter, topically-applied acne products that list benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid as its active ingredient may cause users to develop dangerous, potentially life-threatening, reactions (1). Consumers have had reactions such as hives, throat tightness and fainting for decades, many of which been known to exist since 1969. It wasn't until 2007 that these companies were required to report adverse reactions; up to that point, there were many instances where reactions were unreported.
Increase in reports of adverse reactions leads to FDA warning
However, the FDA explains that their warning comes only now due to the fact that there has been an eye-opening spike in detrimental heath issues in recent years, most notably in 2012. Deputy director of the Food and Drug Administration's office of new drugs, Dr. Sandra Kweder, says, "We have 131 reports from consumers and manufacturers; 44 percent of them were people who required hospitalization. That's a lot. That's when the patient had a serious systemic, probably allergic, reaction (1)." She also explains that in some cases, there were also severe burns where the medication had been applied.
Additionally, the FDA is making this announcement because OTC acne products do not have warnings on their products. At most, some recommend testing the product on a small area of skin. Furthermore, the products do not offer advice for consumers in the event a reaction occurs. "There is currently no mention of the possibility of these very severe allergic reactions on the product labels," says Mona Khurana, M.D., a medical officer at FDA. "It's important that consumers know about them, and that they know what to do if they occur (2)."
The FDA says that people who develop a reaction should no longer use the product and if swelling in areas like the tongue or face occur, that medical attention should be sought.
While it's thought that the ingredients benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are the culprits, the FDA explains that it could possibly be something else in the products. "Anything that you put on the skin can irritate the skin," says Dr. Kweder. "And there's always going to be the occasional person who reacts for reasons we don't understand (1)." She explains, "Caution is the name of the game. Don't assume they're innocuous. They're medicines. They're drugs. They deserve to be taken seriously (1)."
Changes in dietary habits can fight acne
Many people have improved their skin's condition by no longer using OTC acne products and instead, eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. For example, Chris Gibson had acne since the age of 11, saying that he tried a host of skin-clearing products without success (3). However, when he discovered the food-body connection and decided to try a three-day fast where he ate nothing but apples, he got his system back on track and became acne-free.
Eliminating processed foods, enjoying foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as chia or flax seeds and drinking more water are excellent ways to help combat acne (4).
Furthermore, managing stress can help. Getting adequate sleep and engaging in relaxing activities such as meditation are also thought to help skin's condition.
About the author: A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well.