What do you think – is there any relation between your diet and acne? Do you believe that eating lots of greasy food, chocolate and sugar will cause acne? Dermatologists certainly believe otherwise, and have gone on public record with their opinion. If you visit the websites run by dermatological associations, they firmly say that there is no link between diet and acne. Their opinion is mainly based on studies published in the 1980s and 1990s. In general, modern dermatologists (unlike some of the older generation of family GPs) are 100% behind acne care treatment using medication like Accutane and antibiotics.
However, in recent years, newer research has thrown doubts on those old experiments. In 2004, a group of doctors (Parker Magina, Dimity Ponda, Wayne Smithb and Alan Watson) published a study in Oxford Journal on the link between acne and diet. They re-examined the old experiments, and discovered serious flaws. Some experiments used too few patients (only 20 or 30 patients) or were ended too quickly (the experiments ended after 2 weeks when most modern treatments last at least 2 months). Other experiments did not have a proper control group, or used flawed placebos.
Modern studies (by Dr Adebamowo and Dr Spiegelman done in 2004, 2005, 2006) have found a correlation between milk consumption and acne in teenagers. In laymen’s terms, this means that teenagers who drank more milk also had more acne, although they do not really know why.
So what should you do if you have very bad acne? Well, you could listen to your dermatologist and continue to eat lots of greasy food at MacDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken, or you could test it out for yourself. Try eating a plain, healthy diet for 2 months:
- Only drink plain water or fresh fruit juice. Do not add sugar to your fruit juice. Don’t laugh – this should be common sense, but there are people who still do this.
- Avoid chocolate.
- Avoid dairy products. If you need extra calcium, try a supplement.
- Avoid fried foods. This includes both french fries and potato chips.
- Avoid fatty/greasy foods. This includes coleslaw and salads with oily dressings. Salads with light olive oil dressings are fine.
- Avoid spicy foods. In other words, your favorite Indian curry, spicy Thai takeout and Mexican Enchilada are out.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. No, coleslaw doesn’t count. Neither do rice, wheat, corn, maize or potatoes even though they come from plants.
Unless their doctor recommends a particular diet, eating meals following the good old food pyramid will benefit most people. Many of you will find that your skin condition improves and you won’t need more intense acne care treatment.