In the early 1800s and 1900s, most doctors used diet regulation as a form of acne control. Acne patients were warned against eating chocolate and greasy foods. In the late 1900s, the relationship between acne and diet became less prescribed. Recently however, dermatologists and nutritionists are back to recommending some dietary changes for those suffering from difficult-to-treat acne.
Data from studies in the past few years now points the finger to high glycemic index foods as being to blame for acne flares. The glycemic index measures the way a carbohydrate affects our blood sugar levels. High glycemic load foods include those with processed white flour, sodas, juices, and potatoes. Vegetables, beans, poultry, meats, fish, and nuts have low glycemic indices. Dairy ingestion may also be weakly related to exacerbation of acne.
The single most important factor was heredity, with an 80% chance of a person having acne if a first-degree relative also had acne.
Dietary changes alone are unlikely to cure severe acne, but they may be helpful in conjunction with a traditional topical regimen. Our dermatology practice in Miami offers laser- and light-based therapies in addition to traditional acne therapies. Frequently, it is a combination approach that proves to be most effective.