Does Diet Really Affect Acne?

I recently wrote about acne and discussed how there wasn’t much evidence linking diet choices with acne. Now I’ve discovered a recent literature review published last year, which does show some linking with acne flares and cow’s milk, as well as high glycemic-index foods. Their review continued to find no correlation with chocolate, fats or salt. Discussed in Medscape (Does Diet Really Affect Acne?: Abstract and Introduction), the article has a nice summary:

Population-based and migration studies have suggested a correlation between diet and acne. Large, well-controlled, observational studies have demonstrated that diets high in dairy products are associated with an increase in the risk for and severity of acne. Researchers have found significant associations between all varieties of cow’s milk and acne. The relationship between milk and acne severity may be explained by the presence in dairy of normal reproductive steroid hormones or the enhanced production of polypeptide hormones such as IGF-1, which can increase androgen exposure, and thus, acne risk. Recent findings also describe an association between a high-glycemic-index diet and longer acne duration. In addition, randomized clinical trials have demonstrated that a low-glycemic-load diet can influence hormonal levels and improve insulin sensitivity and acne. No study has established a positive association between acne and chocolate, saturated fat, or salt intake.


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One thought on “Does Diet Really Affect Acne?”

  1. I am very interested in the paper and its result. Growing in China, the doctors always told me, when I had acne breakout, to eat less sugar and oily food. And indeed these advices worked for me and my friends around me most of the time. I wonder how the study was carried out.

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