Does Diet Really Affect Acne?

Woman eating tacoFor ages there’s been an exception to ‘you are what you eat’ saying, acne. Doctors scoff at the idea and the web is littered with diet acne myth articles. But is it really so?

Research in the past 10 years is forcing doctors to swallow their words, because it’s becoming increasingly clear that diet indeed affects acne.

This page helps you to get to the bottom of this confusing question. I’ve organized my best diet-related posts here, each dealing with a specific part of the question. After going through these posts, you should have a good idea of not only how diet affects acne but also which foods are likely to make a mess on your face.

Debunking the real myth

Let’s start by clearing out a big myth. You’ve probably read online that it’s just a myth that diet causes acne. Or that chocolate or greasy foods have nothing to do with acne. But did you know that this was never based on good science? The whole thing was based on two really, really bad studies. Based on those studies dermatology text books were rewritten, and the whole thing turned into a dogma. The fact that newer, better quality studies show a connection between diet and acne has done little to budge this myth.

Read the whole story here: Debunking The REAL Diet Acne Myth

It swings both ways

There’s equal amount of bad information on the other side of the diet-acne fence. Reading natural health and alternative medicine websites it’s easy to conclude that diet is all there is. Unfortunately that’s equally wrong and leaves people frustrated when they don’t get results – despite sticking to a super-healthy diet.

This post clears the confusion: I Break Out Every Day? Why My Diet Isn’t Working?

Acne and specific foods

I often get questions like does [food X] cause acne. In most cases it’s hard to pin acne down to specific foods, because it’s more about your overall diet. That said, there are some foods that can cause acne. In the posts below I cover some of these foods in more detail.

Posts about what causes acne

Here are a few posts dealing with what causes acne. These don’t directly relate to diet, but diet often affects these ‘causes’, so it’s good that you understand them.

  • Hormones – All acne is to some degree hormonal. This post covers how certain hormones increase sebum production and skin cell growth. Diet affects insulin and IGF-1 levels, the two cornerstone hormones behind acne.
  • Inflammation – The other major factor behind acne. Covers how inflammation causes acne. I also talk about studies on treating acne with antioxidants.
  • The Gut-Skin Axis – Covers how gut problems can cause acne. Also, see the larger gut-acne section.

Misc diet and acne posts

Here are a few miscellaneous posts that didn’t fit under the other sections.

  • Ditch Your Fish Oil, Here Come Omega-3 Eggs – Omega-3 fatty acids are important for healthy skin. Eggs can be a surprising good source.
  • Is Organic Food Really Better For You – Many people believe they have to eat organic food to really be healthy, but is it really worth the higher price? In this post I look at studies comparing the nutritional quality and health effects of organic and conventionally grown produce. Current scientific evidence shows organic isn’t really what it’s cracked up to be.

Did I miss something? Do you have diet-related acne questions? Leave a comment to one of the posts here and I’ll get back to you.

Note that this page contains what I believe are my best posts on the topic. The diet category page has even more posts.