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Acne and diet.

Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, 76100 Rechovot, Israel.
Clinics in Dermatology (Impact Factor: 1.93). 09/2004; 22(5):387-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2004.03.007
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Forbidden foods? "The first law of dietetics seems to be: If it tastes good, it's bad for you" (Isaac Asimov, Russian-born biochemist and science fiction writer). This was essentially the Magna Carta for dermatologists of the 1950s: anything coveted by the teenage palate was suspect for morning after acne. Today, half a century later, although the slant has shifted away for this line of thinking in our dermatologic textbooks, several articles on the beliefs and perceptions of acne patients showed that nothing much has changed and that they expect us to give them detailed instructions of what "acne-related" foods they should avoid. In one such study(1), diet was the third most frequently implicated factor (after hormones and genetics) as the cause of the disease, with 32% of the respondents selecting diet as the main cause, and 44% thinking that foods aggravate acne. In another study that analyzed knowledge about causes of acne among English teenagers, 11% of the responders blamed greasy food as the main cause of the disease(2), whereas in another study found that 41% of final-year medical students of the University of Melbourne chose diet as an important factor of acne exacerbation on a final examination.(3)

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    ABSTRACT: A cross-sectional, community-based study was performed to determine the prevalence and severity of acne vulgaris in adolescents and of factors influencing the acne severity risk. The presence of acne was clinically determined and the secondary outcome measures of family acne history and the relation of acne to nutrition habits, emotional stress, menstruation, and smoking were recorded in a questionnaire. A representative sample of 1,002 pupils aged 16+/-0.9 years was enrolled. The overall acne prevalence was 93.3, 94.4% for boys and 92.0% for girls. Moderate to severe acne was observed in 14%. The prevalence of moderate to severe acne was 19.9% in pupils with and 9.8% in those without a family history of acne (P<0.0005; OR: 2.3). Acne severity risk increased with the number of family members with acne history. A mother with acne history influenced the severity of acne the most. Increasing pubertal age, seborrhea, the premenstrual phase, mental stress, and sweet and oily foods were recognized as risk factors for moderate to severe acne. In contrast, gender, spicy foods, and smoking were not associated with acne severity. In conclusion, acne is a common disorder in Iranian adolescents, with a low rate of moderate to severe acne. A genetic background is suggested, with mother's acne history being the most important prognostic factor. Skin quality and certain nutrition habits may affect acne severity.
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