Diet and Acne

“It is no longer dermatologic dogma to state that any association between diet and acne is mere myth.”


Is there a connection between Acne and Diet?

It is clear through ongoing research, that there is an association between diet and acne. The studies support a high association between a high carbohydrate diet and acne. The link between dairy products and acne is weaker.

However, given the level of evidence available, it is appropriate for dermatologists to counsel their patients, that dairy products may incrementally aggravate their acne. Calcium is an essential part of the healthy diet of a growing adolescent. Therefore supplementation of calcium and vitamin D is important in patients who choose to avoid dairy products.


In which subgroup of patients does carbohydrate restriction make the biggest impact?

Carbohydrate restriction makes the most sense for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome since they have insulin resistance, hyperandrogenism, and acne. A low carbohydrate diet has shown to improve androgen profiles in these patients.

The general recommendation for carbohydrate restriction as an adjunct to medical therapy in acne patients:

It is appropriate for dermatologists to recommend a low carbohydrate diet to patients with acne in addition to their medical therapy.


What is the role of dietary supplements in the therapy of acne?

The level of evidence currently available for patients to supplement their diets with Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, zinc, vitamin A, and dietary fiber in acne vulgaris remains to be defined. Dermatologists currently advise their patients to supplement their diet based on personal preferences and experiences. Patients should constantly watch out for signs of intolerance or toxicity.

Patients should keep a food diary. This allows making a connection between acne flares or improvement, thereby supplementing or restricting a particular food or supplement, when treating their acne.

If you would like to learn more about the role of your diet and how it relates to acne, contact the Total Skin Center of the Kansas City area today.