Diet and adult acne: New study shows how they’re connected and which food to avoid

A new study published in JAMA Dermatology in June 2020 indicates that consuming certain foods has a higher likelihood of causing adult acne.

Myupchar June 12, 2020 12:05:58 IST
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Diet and adult acne: New study shows how they’re connected and which food to avoid

It’s painful, leaves marks, cannot be hidden with makeup and you think you’re too old to get it. Adult acne can be quite a hassle, and most people who do get it, immediately assume that it’s because of something they ate. Now, most doctors usually don’t agree with this assumption and are more likely to ask you to get complete blood work done to find out the underlying cause behind adult acne.

This is because medical opinion and most researches, like a study published in Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology in 2018, indicate that adult acne has a higher prevalence among women above 25 years than men in that age group -- and that the primary cause is endocrine disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In other cases, adults with a history of dermatological disorders and skin diseases since adolescence continue to be more prone to acne even when they’re middle-aged.

Does diet have anything to do with acne?

A new study published in JAMA Dermatology in June 2020 indicates that consuming certain foods has a higher likelihood of causing adult acne. The study involved the observation of 24,542 French adults between November 2018 and July 2019. The participants were given a questionnaire at the beginning of the study where they were categorised into three groups: people who had never had acne, those who had past acne (but not at present) and those who had acne currently.

A 24-hour dietary record of the participants was taken once every six months on a random basis. The participants reported everything they ate from midnight to the following midnight and were even asked to share portion by measuring exact grams and litres. Of the 31,539 individuals who completed the questionnaire, only 24,452 were finally included in the study because they had completed at least three dietary records, had a normal calorie intake, and had reported their acne status. About 75 percent of the participants were women.

Milk, sugar and fat is the enemy of glowing skin

The results of this one-of-a-kind nutritional survey of adult acne showed that participants who had acne currently consumed considerably more of the following foods compared to those who had never had any acne:

  • Milk
  • Sugary beverages
  • Milk chocolate
  • Snacks and fast foods
  • Fatty and sugary foods

The same people also consumed considerably fewer amounts of the following foods when compared with those who had never had acne:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Dark chocolate

Of course, single-day measurements need adjustments. And once the researchers made those adjustments, they found that three foods were independently associated with current acne: Milk, sugary beverages and fatty and sugary products. These three foods have something in common, and that’s the fact that they’re high in carbohydrates and saturated fatty acids.

The results of this study clearly indicate that adults with an unhealthy dietary pattern — who eat more carbs and saturated fats in the form of milk, sugary foods and drinks, and fatty foods — are at a much higher risk of suffering from adult acne. Now, if you’re in this group and have acne -- have it looked at by a dermatologist in case it is because of an underlying cause. But in the meantime, you know just what you should stop eating, right?

For more information, read our article on Acne: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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