Patients frequently ask me “Does eating chocolate or fast food cause acne?” My answer and that of other dermatologists has always been “No” based on studies of diet and acne done in the 1960’s. Recently a review in the respected Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has shown evidence that there IS a link. The most compelling evidence shows an association between acne and a high glycemic diet (a diet high in carbohydrates). In a recent internet survey, patients on the South Beach Diet (which emphasizes fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish) exhibited an 86% improvement in acne lesions. Of those survey participants who were on acne treatment, 91% were able to decrease the dose or amount of treatments they were using. Based on this information, I now counsel acne patients, especially those who are overweight, to consider this type of dietary change.
There is also consistent data showing a link between dairy intake and acne. It is still unknown whether this is due to hormones in milk products or increased activity of certain hormones in the body stimulated by dairy intake. I now advise patients to consider a switch to organic milk products, as well as decreasing the number of dairy servings per day.
This is an exciting breakthrough which will be helpful to those with chronic or treatment resistant acne