Plagued by Acne?

Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from  acne vulgaris, the most common form of the skin condition, and they spend more than $1.2 billion each year on acne treatments.

Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by the foods we eat. In fact, numerous studies have failed to find a causal link between diet and acne.

Emerging research, however, suggests there may be a link between a low-glycemic diet and a decrease in acne severity. The study, which appeared in the July issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, examined whether male acne patients ages 15 to 25 who followed a low-glycemic diet (25% of energy from protein and 45% from low-glycemic-index carbohydrates) had a reduction in acne lesions, compared with a control group that consumed a carbohydrate-rich diet.

“The study found that at 12 weeks, acne lesions had decreased more in the young men in the low-glycemic group than their counterparts in the control group, whose diet had no consideration for the glycemic index,” says dermatologist Susan C. Taylor, MD, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New York City and a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia. “This suggests that there could be a relationship between limiting carbohydrate-rich foods in acne patients’ diets and an improvement in their acne, but more studies need to be done to confirm this finding before we consider any future dietary modifications for our patients.”

On the other hand, some acne patients have noticed that certain foods worsen their symptoms—particularly chocolate, greasy foods, soft drinks, peanuts or foods high in fat.

“Patients who notice a cause-effect relationship between eating certain foods and acne flare-ups should avoid those foods,” Dr. Taylor says. “However, following a strict diet will not clear acne either. The best advice is to eat a well-balanced diet and follow the treatment plan recommended by your dermatologist.”

For more health-related articles, please visit our Health Articles Archive and the Health Section of our Organic Blog.

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  • Marcy Ganz  February 12, 2008 at 9:47 pm

    I am glad you wrote this article on acne. Too many children are getting acne from not eating an organic diet. It is great you are educating the public on organic dieting and eating.

    Marcy Ganz

  • Control Acne Naturally  March 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    So, wait, I’m not sure I agree. You say that acne isn’t caused by food, but food can help or hurt it. How is that not causal? By continuing to eat a toxin-rich diet, aren’t people affecting their skin via what they eat?

  • Acne Solution  March 17, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Food can cause acne. You eat good food, you’ll free from acne suffer

  • Proactive Acne Cream  May 21, 2008 at 2:45 am

    My mother always told me that my friends acne was caused by the foods they ate. An old wives tale? Maybe, but neither my sister or I suffered so we believed her. Whether she was right or wrong, we always ate ‘healthy’ food and that can’t be a bad thing.

  • Sergio  July 14, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    I don´t quite understand. You indicate that ACNE is not caused by foods, yet you cite research that indicates that ACNE improves with a low glycemic index meals. Low Glycemic Index is a rating on certain characteristics of foods and how fast the carbs turn into sugar. Doesn´t this article imply then that ACNE does come from High Glycemic Index foods ?

    Best regards,


  • Sergio  July 14, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I am confused. You mention that medical research has linked improvement of ACNE with Low Glycemic Index Diets. Well, the Glycemic Index is a characteristic of the food we eat. Thus – the food we eat is related to ACNE – no ?

  • John  August 18, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    In your Post you have tell that food can cause acne.but if we eat good food It stop it also.

  • Jimma James  August 27, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Diet is a major contributor to the severity of acne. That does not make food a cause of acne. Just as smoking can increase the severity of bronchitis without causing it.


  • Acne Detox  April 25, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Okay, that makes sense, separating out things that cause it vs things that make it worse. But I’d argue that the cause of acne (blocked pores, oily skin, etc) is your diet. The toxins you take in are trying to flee your body any way possible, including out through the holes in your skin. Eating less of them will improve the “cause.”

  • Shannon Perkins  May 18, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    So you pretty much gotta watch what you eat lest you get breakouts.

    Fascinating, as Spock would say.

  • csglobal  June 15, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Thanks for the good informatision

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