The purpose of the four previous blog post was to introduce the topic about the role diet plays in acne production and acne severity and to provide an analysis on three popular health myths surrounding the diet and acne. From my analysis of the studies from my previous post and my further research into the topic of diet and acne, I believe that a person’s diet is a factor in the severity of their acne, but there is limited research for me to conclude on whether or not a person’s diet causes acne. I have provided my conclusions for my three previous blog post below as well as a few tips on how to improve acne severity.
Based on my research on high glycemic index carbohydrates and acne severity, there is a weak correlation between high glycemic index food consumption and acne severity, and people who have acne should mainly consume low glycemic index foods in order to reduce their risk of having hyperinsulemia (a condition diagnosed from having excess levels of serum insulin levels over an extended period of time and insulin resistance; it may also play a role in the acne pathogenesis pathway) and improve their acne severity. Results from one study supporting this conclusion showed that participants who consumed low glycemic index diets for twelve weeks had statistically significant decreases in acne severity, decreases in weight, decreases in BMI, and improved insulin sensitivity compared to participants with high glycemic load diets.
Based on the studies from my milk blog post, I believe all dairy products do not result in increases in acne severity or cause acne, but high frequencies of milk consumption enhance acne severity in people who have acne. This is possibly due to milk increasing serum levels of insulin and IGF I levels, which promote increases in sebaceous lipogenesis. This lipogenesis causes sebaceous glands to produce larger amounts of oil and can lead to clogged pores. Milk also contains a variety of steroids and androgen hormone precursors that could also increase human hormone levels, and irregular hormone levels is one step in the acne pathogenesis pathway. While milk consumption may not be a factor for every person’s acne severity, cutting out milk and possibly other dairy products may be a way to decrease acne severity.
My research on omega 3 fatty acids and gamma-linoleic acid has persuaded me to believe omega-3 fatty acids and GLA are supplements that can improve acne severity due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Results from one study supporting this claim showed significant decreases in inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesion counts in the omega-3 group and the GLA group compared to the control group. However, instead of consuming pill supplements of omega 3 fatty acids, people should consume foods with high levels of omega 3 fatty acids, such as fish, fish oil, flax seed, and canola oil. While Omega 3 fatty acids improve acne, omega 6 fatty acids may be the reason why the sunflower seed study resulted in increased acne severity among the intervention group because omega 6 fatty acids can be pro-inflammatory when there are higher ratios of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids.
Because the diet does affect acne severity, there are most likely other food items affecting acne severity besides the ones listed above, and I may continue this series to explore the topic further. As I have stated in previous blogs, make sure to read moderate to high quality scientific, peer reviewed articles before forming an opinion on a health related topic.