Acne vulgaris is an inflammatory disorder of the pilosebaceous unit, which is comprised of the hair follicle and sebaceous gland. The pathogenesis of acne involves a complex interplay of host factors, such as androgen-mediated stimulation of sebaceous glands, dysbiosis within the microbiome of the pilosebaceous follicle, and innate and cellular immune responses, and may be influenced by factors such as genetics and, possibly, diet.
There are many factors that are thought to be the cause of acne development: the production of too much oil in the skin, clogged skin pores (from make-up and hair products), bacteria in the skin, hormonal changes (menstrual cycle and insulin resistance), medications, inflammation, genetic factors, pollution, smoking, and even stress. But what about diet? Most people who have suffered from acne have heard that their poor diet is a contributing factor to their skin health. Most are told to avoid oily/greasy foods and chocolate, as they are told that these foods can trigger breakouts and make existing acne worse. But is there really a diet-acne connection or is this all just a myth? A new study suggests that diet MIGHT contribute to acne – at least in adults.
The role of diet in acne is an evolving concept. We know that certain foods can promote inflammation throughout the body and that our diet can affect our hormones, and these are both possible triggers of acne outbreaks/development. For example, several studies suggest that milk and diets with a high glycemic load can cause a rise in insulin-like growth factor (IGF) levels, which in turn alters other hormones that can affect the skin. Despite these possible connections between diet and acne, there is no consensus that changing your diet is an effective way to deal with acne and prospective trials are necessary to clarify the relationship between diet and acne.
In summary, acne development is a complex process involving various factors, and while diet may play a role in its development, further research is necessary to fully understand the relationship between diet and acne.
- Acne is a complex inflammatory disorder of the hair follicle and sebaceous gland.
- The development of acne involves multiple factors, including hormonal changes, genetics, medication, inflammation, pollution, and stress.
- While there is no consensus on the relationship between diet and acne, research suggests that certain foods can trigger inflammation and affect hormone levels in the body, potentially leading to acne outbreaks.
- Milk and high glycemic load diets are associated with a rise in insulin-like growth factor (IGF) levels, which can affect the skin.
- Further research is needed to fully understand the relationship between diet and acne, and changing one’s diet is not necessarily an effective way to deal with acne.
- Consult with a medical professional for the most up-to-date and accurate information about acne and its treatment.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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April 8, 2023