- High consumption of milk chocolate, dairy products, high-sugar or fatty foods can increase the occurrence of adult acne.
- Diets high in sugar can disrupt hormonal dynamics, leading to increased acne due to higher insulin levels.
- Dairy, fatty and sugary foods are potential culprits in causing acne outbreaks. Drinking one glass of milk or a sugary drink daily increases the risk of an acne breakout by 12% and 18% respectively.
- Adopting a healthy dietary pattern, with regular consumption of vegetables, fish, and other plant-based items, can potentially decrease adult acne.
- Acne – alongside the physical discomfort – often results in an emotional toll, leading to low self-esteem and depression. Understanding the impact of diet on hormonal levels and acne is crucial for overall health.
Acne is not only synonymous with puberty – adults can struggle with it, too. New insights reveal that certain foods, particularly the delights of milk chocolate, sweet beverages, dairy stuff, and high-sugar or fatty foods, could increase the chances of experiencing acne breakouts.
A Diet Rich in Animal Products and Junk Food Could Be The Culprit
These new findings highlight the potential relationship between the typical Western diet, characterized by its high animal product and junk food consumption, and the prevalence of adult acne, according to a team spearheaded by Dr. Emilie Sbidian, a dermatologist at Mondor Hospital in Paris who looked into the dietary habits of more than 24,000 French adults.
High-Sugar Diets and Hormonal Changes Leading to Acne
On reviewing the report, Dr. Michele Green, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, wasn’t taken by surprise. “This study reinforces what I have always considered – dietary habits play a substantial role in acne treatment,” Green responded.
“One reason that diets high in sugar – known as ‘glycemic’ diets – are linked with acne is because they can disrupt normal hormonal dynamics,” Green elaborated. “Consuming a high amount of sugar leads to increased insulin levels, affecting other hormones and promoting acne.”
Additionally, ongoing studies are currently investigating the hormones fed to cows that might also influence the causation of acne.
Quality and Quantity Matters
In the study, participants meticulously documented all their consumed food and drink items over a two-week duration, while also recording any acne outbreaks during this period. After adjusting for several factors, dairy, fatty, and sugary foods emerged as potential troublemakers for acne.
Surprisingly, the quantity of these food items mattered. For example, drinking one glass of milk every day increased the risk of an acne breakout by 12%, meanwhile, a glass of a sugary beverage daily indexed at 18%. However, the risk escalated dramatically with increased consumption – five glasses of either milk or a sugary drink hiked the chances of acne by over 76%.
Neither were fatty foods immune from this correlation: consuming one portion of a particularly fatty item, such as a burger or French fries, increased the likelihood of an acne outbreak by 54%.
Impact for Those on a Healthy Dietary Track
Those who regularly consume foods that qualify under “a healthy dietary pattern” were found less likely to suffer from acne, according to the French research team.
Interestingly, the study findings also underlined a relationship between milk chocolate consumption and increased risk of acne, elevating the odds by 28%, a shift not reflected in the consumption of dark chocolate. Consuming less fatty dark chocolate actually revealed a 10% lower risk for adult acne.
The study also suggested that healthier foods – including vegetables, fish, and more plant-based items, are associated with a decrease in adult acne.
The Emotional Toll of Acne
But there’s more than just the physical blemish. Acne often results in a significant emotional toll, leading to low self-esteem and depression among patients. Many may even carry physical scars of acne into adulthood, according to Dr. Green.
“Comprehending the impact of diet, nutrition, and chemicals on hormonal levels, acne, and overall health, warrants further research. Despite often disregarded, acne is an incredibly pivotal and emotional issue,” Green noted.
This study was featured in JAMA Dermatology on June 10.
Please refer to the American Academy of Family Physicians for more insights on