In the last few years there have been numerous studies which underline how at least some types of food influence the development and origin of acne, the problem seems to derive from the ability of some foods to stimulate proliferative activity which in turn stimulates acne development, such as foods with high glycaemic load (high in glucose) or milk. Furthermore, several studies show that the prevalence of acne varies significantly between different populations and is substantially lower in unwesternised populations that follow a traditional diet, and that low glycaemic load is a common factor in traditional diets. Various studies have shown how diets with a high glycaemic load play a part in the aetiology, or causes, of acne due to its ability to stimulate insulin, androgenic bioavailability and IGF-1 activity, while the beneficial effect of diets with low glycaemic load have been shown to improve the skin condition. In this regard, the ketogenic diet seems to be a very good solution provided that milk is limited (since as well as containing sugars which would mean you come out of ketosis, it contains substances that stimulate production of growth factors).

Essential bibliography:

Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, Berkey CS, et al. Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls. Dermatology online journal. 2006;12(4):1.

Berra B, Rizzo AM. Glycaemic index, glycaemic load: new evidence for a link with acne. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2009;28 Suppl:450S-454S.

Bowe WP, Joshi SS, Shalita AR. Diet and acne. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2010;63(1):124-141.

Cordain L, Eades MR, Eades MD. Hyperinsulinemic diseases of civilization: more than just Syndrome X. Comparative biochemistry and physiology.Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology. 2003;136(1):95-112.

Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Acne vulgaris: a disease of Western civilization. Archives of Dermatology. 2002;138(12):1584-1590.

Danby FW. Nutrition and acne. Clinics in dermatology. 2010;28(6):598-604.

Melnik BC. Evidence for acne-promoting effects of milk and other insulinotropic dairy products. Nestle Nutrition workshop series.Paediatric programme. 2011;67:131-145.

Paoli A, Grimaldi K, Toniolo L, Canato M, Bianco A, Fratter A. Nutrition and Acne: Therapeutic Potential of Ketogenic Diets. Skin pharmacology and physiology. 2012;25(3):111-117.

Smith RN, Mann NJ, Braue A, Makelainen H, Varigos GA. A low-glycaemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: a randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;86(1):107-115.

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