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At some point in your lifetime you or someone you know has suffered through the embarrassment from having acne. In fact, approximately 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 have experienced acne. Acne vulgaris is a chronic skin disease caused by the inflammation and blockage of pilosebaceous glands (hair follicles with oil producing units) in the face, back, chest, and other areas of the body, and it is often characterized by small, lightly colored protruding bumps (whiteheads) or dark colored spots (blackheads). During these times when your face begins to resemble a bowl of cottage cheese, you have most likely heard about several topical remedies to treat the small, inflamed pimples on your face, such as using honey, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, lemon juice, and toothpaste. People also often tell those with acne to change their pillow cases more often and avoid excessive face touching. Most importantly, those with acne are informed to change their diet by drinking more water, removing dairy products, highly processed foods, high glycemic foods, and fried foods from the diet while consuming more fruits, vegetables, and low glycemic foods. I have read several success stories from people who have improved the clarity of their skin by changing their diet. But I often wondered if the diet significantly affects the risk of attaining acne, how certain foods cause acne, and whether there is scientific evidence to support the claims of dietary changes improving acne. So, I decided to dedicate my next five blog posts, including this post, to analyzing some of the available research on the diet and acne in order to eventually draw a conclusion about whether there is any merit in the claims about the associations between the diet and acne. While this post is only an introduction into this topic, my later post will focus on three common dietary interventions that are supposed to improve acne, including avoiding dairy products, decreasing the consumption of high glycemic foods, and increasing the intake of certain fatty acids to improve acne severity. My current position on this topic is the diet may promote some people to have a higher risk of acne, but there will not be significant results for most of the research conducted on the diet and acne. However, there is a possibility that I could be wrong, so stay tuned for my upcoming post. Until then, remember to conduct your own research from primary articles before believing dietary health claims.

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