Dr. Eric Schweiger - MD

Acne and Diet

Navigating the tricky business of diet and acne can be downright confusing. It has long been chalked up as a myth that what you eat can affect your skin, but new research shows that a healthy diet may in fact be beneficial to clearing up acne breakouts.


Myths About Diet and Acne

There are a lot of myths surrounding acne and diet. People who suffer from acne sometimes blame their breakouts on greasy French fries and candy bars. While there is not yet enough medical evidence definitively linking guilty pleasure foods to acne breakouts, there are new studies showing that nutrition may indeed be an important part of the whole picture when it comes to maintaining a clear, acne free complexion. Following a low carbohydrate South Beach type diet may also have a positive effect on acne. This is potentially great news for acne sufferers, who often feel helpless when it comes to controlling their acne.


Body Weight and Acne

While an unhealthy diet may not be the overall reason for acne breakouts, it turns out that weight may play a role in clear skin. In a recent study in The Archives of Dermatology*, researchers looked at 3,600 adolescents and found that the overweight or obese teens had more potential to develop acne than the teens of normal weight. This was especially true for the young women. Researchers say that androgens might be to blame for the link between being overweight and acne, as androgen production is brought on by obesity.


The South Beach Diet and Acne

More evidence that diet may play into acne management is a report from the American Academy of Dermatology that found a low-carbohydrate, low-glycemic diet, like the South Beach Diet, may in fact help reduce acne. In the study, 80% of South Beach Diet followers noticed a marked improvement in their skin within three months of beginning the diet, while 91% of them said they decreased the acne medication they were taking after starting the diet.


Milk and Acne

Milk is very beneficial for the youngest members in our families, as it aids in growth. But healthy may not receive many benefits from drinking milk, as it happens to be full of hormones, which may contribute to acne breakouts. In a notable Nurse’s Health Study, that examined the eating habits of 47,000 nurses, it was found that the women who consumed more milk as teens had significantly higher incidents of severe acne than those who drank little or no milk as adolescents. Additional studies of 10,000 of young girls and boys, ages 9 to 15 years old, drew a direct link between how much milk they drank and acne breakouts.

The bottom line is that good nutrition may indeed play a role in clear, acne free skin. This is breaking news to many in the medical and skincare fields who have long held the belief that diet and acne have no relation. For those who do suffer for acne, practicing healthy eating habits may indeed be an important piece of the acne-fighting puzzle.