Got Acne? Review Links Dairy to Skin Problems
People who want clearer skin may want to steer clear of milk and sugar. A new scientific review co-authored by PCRM director of research policy Hope Ferdowsian, M.D., M.P.H., and PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., finds that eating a typical Western diet, especially dairy products, may be associated with acne.
The paper, in April’s International Journal of Dermatology, reviewed 21 observational studies and six clinical trials examining the relationship between diet and acne vulgaris, a condition that affects more than 17 million Americans.
Chocolate and oily or fatty foods are commonly believed to cause the condition, but little evidence actually implicates them. Reviews prior to 2007 concluded that the cause is primarily genetic. Studies on twins, however, have found that environmental factors, such as dietary habits, may indeed play a role.
The new review found that dairy products and high-glycemic foods, such as sugar and white bread, were the only dietary factors clearly linked to acne in scientific studies. No differences were found between whole and skim milk, and some authors reported that the hormones in milk, not the fat content, might be responsible.