Q: I have been fighting acne since high school. Now I’m 44 years old and still have acne. When I read in the newspaper that Listerine can clear up blemishes and acne, I decided to give it a try. I have been using it for the past three weeks, and my skin is clearer.

A: Acne appears to result from a complex interaction among the hair follicles, the microbes that live on the skin, the oil glands, the immune system and the diet. Dermatologists have treated acne with antibiotics for decades, but many microbes are developing resistance (American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, June 2019).

The essential oils in Listerine, such as thymol, eucalyptol and menthol, have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory activity. Perhaps one of these herbal ingredients accounts for the benefits you and many other readers have noted.

To learn more about home remedies as well as medications to treat this skin condition, you may want to read our eGuide to Acne Solutions. This online resource is available in the Health eGuides section at www.PeoplesPharmacy.com.

Q: I read your column and came across a question from a woman who asked about nonhormonal treatments for vaginal dryness.

I’ve been using a product called Sylk for over a year now. For me, it does a great job in lubricating and relieving the pain associated with vaginal dryness during sexual intercourse. I read that it comes from New Zealand. Do you know what is in it?


A: According to the manufacturer, Sylk is made from kiwi vine gum extract. The vines in the region of Pukekohe, New Zealand, are trimmed during the process of harvesting kiwi fruit. The compound is extracted from these prunings and used to make this water-based lubricant. Having a water-based product is an advantage where latex is involved, since oils such as coconut oil or cocoa butter can weaken latex. Sylk is available online.

Q: Can you settle a dispute? One friend insists that you need to juice vegetables to get enough nutrients and I have started doing that for my husband. I eat salad for lunch almost every day, as I appreciate the fiber.

Then my husband said something about the juice was irritating his throat and he wants to stop. Another friend said that drinking your greens could lead to kidney stones.

I have already had a stone in my only kidney. Passing it was a horror I do not wish to repeat, nor do I wish it on him. Does juicing really increase the amount of oxalates you are getting?

A: Juicing with dark green leafy vegetables could lead to an overdose of oxalates. These natural compounds are excreted by the kidneys. When the diet is especially high in oxalate-containing foods, crystals can accumulate in the kidneys and form stones.

Several cases of kidney stones or injury have been reported in the medical literature linked to juicing. One 65-year-old woman had been drinking a green smoothie juice cleanse rich in oxalates. Her kidney function was normal before the cleanse, but she developed acute kidney injury afterward (American Journal of Kidney Disease, February 2018).

In another case, a man who had been juicing oxalate-rich fruits and vegetables developed kidney damage as a result (American Journal of Medicine, September 2013).