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Your family's health... with Dr Sarah Brewer.

Byline: Dr Sarah Brewer

Q MY teenage daughter is using an antibiotic solution for acne. Should she be taking any particular vitamins and minerals?

A DIET should always come first, so try to get her to eat at least five servings of vegetables or fruit per day. These contain anti- oxidants such as carotenoids, vitamin E and the minerals zinc, copper and selenium, which are thought to help acne. If her diet is not ideal, she would benefit from taking a supplement containing 100 per cent of the RDA of as many vitamins and minerals as possible. While using antibiotics, it's a good idea to eat live yoghurt or to take a probiotic supplement supplying friendly digestive bacteria to reduce the risk of side effects such as loose bowels and thrush, although these are less likely with topical antibiotics.

Evening primrose oil contains essential fatty acids that help to improve skin structure and reduce formation of pimples, too.

If the topical antibiotic does not work, ask your doctor whether a opical agent containing both benzoyl peroxide and the antibiotic erythromycin would suit her.

Only available on prescription, it usually give good results within two to three weeks.

Q MY 10-year-old son has a mildly ingrowing toenail. I'm worried that I am cutting his nails badly. What can I do to improve it or stop it getting worse?

A IN-GROWING toenails are usually easy to sort out. Bathe the foot in a warm, diluted antiseptic solution for 15 to 20 minutes.

After softening the flesh, carefully tuck a small wisp of cotton wool under the corner of the nail that is ingrowing, or threatening to, using a blunt pair of scissors.

Every day, remove the old piece of cotton wool and tuck in another wisp, slightly larger if necessary. This helps lift the nail edge away from the flesh it is digging into and encourages it to grow properly.

To help prevent ingrowing toenails, trim the nails straight across. Some people cut a small V in the centre of the nail's leading edge, but I've never found this very helpful as it tends to catch on socks, etc.

Make sure he doesn't pick at his toenails and wears comfortable shoes. If the toe becomes infected, or if your son is diabetic, seek medical advice.

Sarah Brewer is a GP and health writer. Send your problems to Vital, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA or e-mail vital@dailyrecord.co.uk. Sorry, Sarah cannot reply personally.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 31, 2001
Words:413
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