Acne is a treatable disorder however it is generally slow to respond so your treatment will require persistence on your part. It can take a least a month for changes to your skin to become visible.
A multi-disciplinary approach is required for positive treatment outcomes.
Treatment revolves around the known causative factors of acne namely;
- The treatment of genetic and endocrine disorders such as:
polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Rebalancing hormones (reducing sebum promoting androgens)
- Reducing stress and excessive cortisol or DHEA levels
- Reducing insulin resistance via dietary changes and/or supplementation
- Reducing dietary factors that result in hyperglycaemia
- Avoiding foods that stimulate Insulin Growth Like Factor 1
- Reducing abnormal bacteria
- Reducing inflammation and promoting a healthy immune response
- Providing nutritional factors necessary for wound healing and immunity
- Avoiding lifestyle factors that contribute to acne.
You will be recommended specific topical and oral supplements to help you address the above factors.
Go to the Acne Store to reorder your recommended products.
Diet and Acne Links
Study findings related to dietary glycaemic load
- “improvement in acne and insulin sensitivity after a low glycaemic load diet suggest that nutrition related lifestyle factors may play a role in the pathogenesis of acne. “1
- “…glycaemic load plays a substantial role in the pathogenesis and treatment of acne. ” 2
- “subjects within the low glycaemic group demonstrated significant clinical improvement in the number of both non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne lesions”. 2
- “… a low glycaemic load diet reduced the size of sebaceous glands, decreased inflammation and diminished the expression of pro-inflammatory interleukin-8 and sterol regulatory element binding protein-1 (SREBP-1), the key transcription factor of lipid biosynthesis.” 2
- “Compelling evidence exists that high glycaemic load diets exacerbate acne by increasing the levels of IGF1. Smith et al. demonstrated that low glycaemic load diet for 12 weeks decreased IGF-1 levels and significantly improved acne.” 3
- “Dietary intervention increases the nuclear content of Fox 01 thereby normalizing increased transcription of genes involved in acne.”3
- Because free IGF-1 is a potent mitogen for virtually all body tissues, it promotes acne via hyperkeratinization.” 3
- “hyperinsulinaemia resulting from high glycaemic load diet would also increase circulating androgens and decrease sex hormone binding protein, leading to increased sebum synthesis, which was crucial in acne development”. 4
Study findings related to dairy consumption
“… milk consumption has an acne-promoting or acne aggravating effect.” 4
” This study found that frequency of milk and ice cream intake was positively associated with acne vulgaris occurrence.” 4
” Milk consumption and hyperglycaemic diets can induce insulin and IGF-1 mediated P13K/Aktivation inducing sebaceous liogenesis, sebocyte and keratinocyte proliferation which can aggravate acne.”
“Our study found that yoghurt consumption was not correlated with acne vulgaris occurrence and is consistent with the findings by several studies. When added to milk during the fermentation process, probiotic bacteria (specifically Lactobacilli) utilize IGF-1 and lowered IGF-1 level in fermented milk by four-fold compared to skim milk.” 3
Summary of Dietary Studies
A high glycaemic diet (generally high sugar, highly processed foods);
- promotes inflammation
- promotes the production of Insulin Like Growth Factor (IGF-1) and leads to greater sebum production
- decreases Sex Hormone Binding Globulin which means more testosterone is available
- milk increases (IGF-1) and promotes oily skin
which leads to increased acne.
A low glycaemic load diet reduces;
- the size of sebaceous glands
- insulin resistance
which leads to a clinical improvement of acne.
- Milk and icecream contribute to acne
- yoghurt, because of its fermentation with Lactobacilli, helps decrease IGF-1 and therefore does not contribute to acne
Go to Acne and Diet Recommendations for your specific dietary advise.
Nutrition and Acne
Acne patients of both genders have been found to have serum zinc levels on average 28.3% lower than control subjects. Hair levels were 24.3% lower and nail levels were 26.7% lower than controls. 5
See Acne and Lifestyle for further recommendations
Remember that management of severe acne, especially where infection is involved, may require management with medication via your medical practitioner.
Always consult with your doctor.
1. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol .86, No 1, 107-115, July 2007
2. Diet in acne; further evidence for the role of nutrient signalling in acne pathogenesis.Meinik, BC. Acta Derm Venereik.2012 May (92) 3:228-31
3. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2-13 May-Jun. 79 (3) 291-9. Role of insulin resistance and diet in acne. Kumari, R, Thappa, DM.
4. BMC Dermatol, 2012 Aug 16.12-13.High glycaemic load diet, milk and ice cream consumption are related to acne vulgaris in Malaysian young adults: a case control study. Ismail, NH, Manaf, ZA, Azizan, NZ.
5, Pohit J, et al. Zinc status of acne vulgaris patients. J App Nutr 1985; 37(1):18-25.