Diet and acne – Musings of an NYC Dermatologist

Can what we eat make our skin breakout with acne?

Acne is a complex disease which affects both genders and people of all ages, and ethnic backgrounds. It is the most common skin disease.  Most people are familiar with the onset associated with the hormonal changes of adolescence, and the menstrual cycle in women, but there is some evidence that diet may also play a role in breakouts.

Dairy consumption is associated with an increase in acne flares. Interestingly, not all types of dairy products equally affect the disease. Skim milk has been associated with more acne flares v. whole milk. Interestingly, probiotics, the “good bacteria” found in foods like yogurt with life active cultures, are also being evaluated for potentially acne-preventing properties.

Sugar consumption now has some data supporting the long-held belief that eating sweets causes acne. There are some reports that a high glycemic diet may be associated with acne flares. Many times vegetarian and vegans are surprised that they, too, have acne. There are data that girls who have more leafy green vegetables in their diets are less prone to acne flares–this did not seem to be the case with boys in these studies. Sometimes, however, non-meat eaters consume a lot of carbohydrates, or sugars, which cause acne. As indicated above, however, some of the foods associated with acne flares are not meat-based.

Many factors, including genetic, stress, hormonal changes and diet seem to contribute to acne.  Soon research will better reveal how what we eat determines how clear our faces are.  Changes in diet alone, however, may not be enough to take care of the problem.

Are you suffering with acne? Dr. Dina Strachan, is an internationally-recognized, Harvard and Yale educated, board-certified dermatologist who directs Aglow Dermatology and has helped thousands of patients with acne. Let her and her team advise you on how diet affects acne, and other options.  Make an appointment today at 212-627-1004 x 1 for healthy, beautiful skin.

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Posted in: General Dermatology