DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of my teenage daughter has a lot of acne on her face. She seems to be in pain sometimes. We can tell because she picks at her face. My daughter told me that her mother complained that she is not using the acne cleanser that was prescribed for her. On top of that, my daughter says she thinks the real reason the acne is so bad is that her friend eats terribly. I have seen that she eats a lot of fried foods. Generally, I think her preferences are for white foods, like French fries and fried chicken nuggets and stuff like that. My daughter is worried about her friend and asked me if I could say anything to her or her mom about the effect that fried food has on the skin. I am reluctant to do that. Getting into people's business about their health and appearance can be tricky. How can I support my daughter without crossing that family's personal boundaries? -- Zit Phobia, Charlotte, North Carolina
DEAR ZIT PHOBIA: What you can do is talk to your daughter about healthy choices that she should make for her own body and skin. Encourage her to continue to eat healthy, clean food and to drink lots of water. Point out, too, that some people get acne even when they do eat well, because acne is in part a result of hormonal changes in the body that occur regardless of diet.
As far as her friend goes, tell her that you appreciate how much she wants to help her friend, but that this is not your business. Instead of looking at her friend in judgment, what she can do is subtly invite her to get some broccoli when they are getting food instead of going for the fries. Otherwise, encourage her to mind her own business. Perhaps her example of being a conscientious eater will rub off on her friend.