Thanks for voting for what you guys wanted me to concentrate my acne research on. The last I looked at the poll results diet and acne was winning. Now I see that scars have a few more votes. Well, scars will be next. But first, let’s delve into diet and acne. In fact, let’s get deep and dirty and nitty gritty with it shall we? Yes? Great, then we shall :) I’ve read every published trial and review of literature since 2008 regarding diet and acne there is good news and bad news.

Good news: Scientists are all over it! No longer is diet and acne relegated to a back seat. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2010), “…it is evident that dermatologists can no longer dismiss the association between diet and acne…In light of the last decade of research investigating the relationship between diet and acne, it is no longer dermatologic dogma to state that any association between diet and acne is mere myth.” In other words, researchers are conducting studies and we’re getting interesting data.

Bad news: The data is still spotty and almost all of the recent studies come with serious “design limitations” as they call them. An example of a design limitation is researchers relying on subjects’ personal recollection of their diet habits instead of actually watching what they eat. Another example of a design limitation is trusting subjects to define for themselves whether they have “acne” instead of employing a professional to count lesions across a study cohort. In other words, we can’t trust the data that’s coming out yet. We need more trials, and better trials, before we make conclusions.

Um, a little more bad news: Because pharmaceutical companies do not make money from educating the public on diet, funding for diet and acne studies is sparse. But hey, even without the pharmaceutical companies, we’re seeing a resurgence of interest in the topic of diet and acne.

My gut feeling on the subject: Regardless of whether some hunter/gatherer tribes do not have acne, it is literally impossible for us to go back to a hunter/gatherer way of living, and for real concrete answers to acne, we’ll have to include diet as only one piece of a much larger puzzle. As much as I would love for it to happen, I don’t think we’re going to find a magic bullet. I don’t think we’ll find a super bad food or food group which we’re all eating which is causing acne. I also don’t think educating people to “eat right” and “low glycemic” will clear people up to the degree any of us want.

I’ll keep updating the blog with specifics regarding some diet and acne subtopics like dairy, glycemic load, iodine, etc. for the next few updates. Hopefully with all of us wading deep into the muck of the latest research we can pool our minds and get food working for us as much as possible.

14 Responses to “Latest Greatest Research: Diet and Acne”

  • erik

    for me, it seems like any time i eat shrimp, i end up breaking out really bad after that. it’s happened too many times now and i don’t have shrimp all that often (and now trying to avoid it even tho i like the way it tastes).

  • Michael

    I can say, with close to 100% certainty, that the severity of my acne went down when I did three things:
    1. Cut out gluten.
    2. Cut out dairy.
    3. Cut out refined sugars.

    I did these individually, not simultaneously, so I can say that each of these were culprits. Gluten being by far the worst offender. Clearly I don’t mean to suggest that this would be the case with everyone. But I think it’s important that I say something because it might encourage someone to experiment with their diet. I know I was incredibly skeptical for the longest time. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say. As long as it’s dairy-free, that is :)

  • Jesse

    I have found that refined sugar makes a huge difference for me. I’ve tried cutting out all starches (i.e. wheat, corn, rice, etc.) and didn’t notice a difference for some reason. Dairy is the thing I haven’t tried. I guess I’m too attached to it right now. ;-)

    I’ve also noted improvement when taking a fish oil supplement. I take it three times a day, usaully, and notice it several days after I miss some.

  • Shane

    This acne puzzle is much bigger and complicated than we can imagine. spicy food may cause acne as it boost blood flow and can make congested pores to become inflamed lesions

  • vikas

    SECRET YOU’LL NEVER KNOW
    SEE, I AM NOT AGAINST ALLOPATHY AND THEIR TREATMENT METHODS,BUT I FIND NATURAL TREATMENT BETTER PERFORMING THAN THAT.ACNE SLOWLY TRIGGERS IN THE BODY SO AS THE REMEDY(NATURAL) ALSO WORKS SLOWLY(3 DAYS TO 4 WEEK).
    GENERALLY PEOPLES PH LEVEL IS B/W 4 -6.5.(WHICH IS ACIDIC)AND IN BABY,PH IS FOUND TO BE NEUTRAL (7.0) AND THAT IS ONLY THE HEALTHY STATE.I AM STRICTLY FOLLOWING ALKALINE DIET,I CAN SEE IMPROVEMENTS WITHIN MY 2ND DAY..I DRINK LEMON JUICE REGULARLY EMPTY STOMACH IN MORNING
    PEOPLE HAVING ULCERS SHOULD NOT TAKE THIS.HEY LEMONS ARE ALKALINE WHEN DIGESTED,AND ACIDIC WHEN APPLIED TROPICALLY

  • Colin

    I find that iodine breaks me out significantly. I was following this natural routine a bit ago that called for using sea salt as a cleanser(rubbing it on face in the shower). I didnt have sea salt at the time so i used un-iodized table salt for a few days until i got IODIZED sea salt. After starting to use the iodized salt, i broke out like crazy until i stopped using the salt. Then on a second occasion, i began to take a multi-vitamin, and began to break out. After about three days, i checked the list of nutrients in the multi again and low and behold, IODINE was in it. Stopped the multi, stopped the breakouts. Coincidence? i think not

  • Marcus

    Thank you for the great site. I have tried a hugh amount of creams, tablets etc and little has worked with the exception of oxytetrocycline. This tablet worked for about 12 months but then the acne came back and have been a little lost since.

    Thanks

    Marcus

    *link edited out*

  • Neptune

    Yeah I have the same issue, I tried changing my cooking oil from corn to olive, I tried drinking aloot of water, little bit exercise, eating beet, drinking coconut water,lemon water, green tea and what NOT but nothing is helping.. I also tried RETIN cream, Oh!! That made my acne WORST… then I stoppend using it..I haven’t tried oral antibiotics yet.. I am very depressed as what to do…

    Every day or next day I got new break outs.. and left black acne marks… Any suggestion??

  • HK

    I’m a Dietitian and have had acne for at least 20 years. I had the healthiest diet ever…and tried every possible ‘diet’ (low GI, vegetarian/vegan, raw, dairy-free, gluten-free, supplements etc etc) to cure my acne. The only thing that seemed to work was a very strict salicylate and amine free diet. Actually I noticed a major difference in a week. Now I’ve found The Regimen (thank God!!!) I can be less strict with the diet, but for those still looking for that ‘something’ else it might be worth a try?

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