Many studies and anecdotal reports in the past have shown associations between dietary intake and various skin conditions. I have written in the recent past about a correlation between acne and dairy products in particular.
However, it is important to note that a correlation, by definition, does not prove that one trend directly causes another. In other words, a correlation and a relation are not quite the same thing.
Like a theory, a correlation supports the idea that two trends are related, but does not prove an actual relationship exists. More research still needs to be done to, in this case, prove that one particular diet causes more acne than another.
As you’re about to see, however, the evidence of a relationship between acne and diet is building up. A recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Diet showed a significant correlation between dietary carbohydrate intake and acne.
The basis of this study was reports showing a low incidence of acne in non-developed (a.k.a. third world) countries. These reports alone suggest that environmental factors (such as diet) could play a role in the development of acne.
The study participants included equal numbers of individuals that had no acne and those with moderate to severe acne. These participants kept a daily record of food intake and had multiple blood measurements drawn and analyzed throughout the study.
As expected, the moderate to severe acne group reported significantly greater total carbohydrate consumption, percentage of energy from carbohydrates, and total glycemic load compared to those who did not have acne. The acne group also had greater insulin levels and greater insulin resistance than those without acne.
Although the authors of this study did point out that the study did not determine the cause of acne, the preliminary results did show a definite correlation between dietary carbohydrates (including sugar intake) and degree of acne severity. Future research will be needed to break down the mechanisms linking diet and acne.
As I frequently point out to patients who come to Maine Laser Skin Care for advice about and treatment for their acne, there does appear to be a definite connection between nutrition and the biological factors that cause acne. Elimination of dairy products and significant reduction of carbohydrate and sugar intake certainly appear to be prudent measures to try to reduce acne breakouts.
If you are 13 or older and find yourself with acne breakouts that have not been responding to over-the-counter therapies very well, please do not hesitate to call us at (207) 873–2158. We can schedule you for a free consultation, and then consider more definitive treatments from there.