Dietary interventions for acne

Acne is a Western disease.  You ever see someone living in a non-Westernized country with acne?  Although the association between diet and acne has seemed at best controversial in scientific circles, since 2007 there have been consistent observations that several dietary factors do in fact affect the incidence of acne.

THE QUICK TAKE:  Western diets have high calorie uptake, high glycemic load, high fat and meat intake, as well as increased consumption of insulin- and IGF-1-level elevating dairy proteins, all of which lead to hormonal changes that can cause acne.    In a large study done in South Korea, intake of instant noodles, junk food, carbonated drinks, snacks, processed cheeses, pork, chicken, nuts and seaweed were significantly higher in acne patients than in the controls. Conversely, the frequency of vegetables and fish intake was significantly higher in the control group than in the acne group. The best diets to cure acne?  Any with lots of fruits and vegetables, and no dairy products:  A vegan or paleolithic diet.


Dietary intervention in acne:  Attenuation of increased mTORC1 signaling promoted by Western diet.  Bodo Melnik.  Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 January 1; 4(1): 20–32. doi:  10.4161/derm.19828  PMCID: PMC3408989

The influence of dietary patterns on acne vulgaris in Koreans. Jung JY, Yoon MY, Min SU, Hong JS, Choi YS, Suh DH. Eur J Dermatol. 2010 Nov-Dec;20(6):768-72. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2010.1053. Epub 2010 Sep 7.

Acne vulgaris: a disease of Western civilization. Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Arch Dermatol. 2002 Dec;138(12):1584-90.

Diet and acne: a review of the evidence. (or full article here) Spencer EH, Ferdowsian HR, Barnard ND. Int J Dermatol. 2009 Apr;48(4):339-47. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2009.04002.x.