Acne and diet

Dermatology Unit, Kaplan Medical Center, 76100 Rechovot, Israel.
Clinics in Dermatology (Impact Factor: 2.47). 09/2004; 22(5):387-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2004.03.007
Source: PubMed


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: Inconsistent data are available on the various types of skin, their prevalence and characterization, particularly regarding Asian skins. This observation prompted to conduct a large study in China to assess the prevalence of oily skin and identify the specific factors related to that type of skin. The multicentre trial involved 1787 Chinese women in Shenyang, Harbin, Beijing, Chengdu and Suzhou, between 18 and 65 years of age. Data on history of acne, the presence of environmental factors and a detailed self-evaluation of the skin were collected using a standardized questionnaire. A clinical evaluation of facial skin oiliness was carried-out by a dermatologist at each centre. Sebum secretion was measured on the forehead using Sebumeter SM810. Statistical analysis (multiple correspondence analysis) of typology was conducted based on self-evaluation data. According to self-evaluation data, oily skin prevalence in the overall Chinese population of the study was 25.6%. Self-evaluation results were quite consistent with sebum measurements and with clinical assessment by dermatologist. Parameters associated with oily skin were (i) shiny skin and a past history of acne, (ii) irregular menstruation, and (iii) highly reactive or sensitive skin. Moreover, a clear and significant link was noted between oily skin and the ingestion of spicy or sweet food. Lastly, sebum levels were found to be twice as high in Beijing as in the other cities and were correlated to higher oily skin prevalence. The study demonstrated the capacity of women for proper self-evaluation of their skin type. It also suggests a potential link between nutritional factors such as spicy and/or sweet diets and oily skin as well as between sensitive and oily skin in this population.
    Skin Research and Technology 03/2007; 13(1):43-8. DOI:10.1111/j.1600-0846.2006.00185.x · 1.31 Impact Factor
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