Acne and milk, the diet myth, and beyond

      Is acne related to the ingestion of dairy products? It is not a new idea. It goes back to the early days of the last century and beyond. The counterclaim, that there is no relationship between diet and acne, has reached mythic proportions. It has never been substantiated, but it is repeated as gospel in all major dermatology textbooks. Epstein,
      • Epstein E.E.
      Acne.
      commenting on contributions on the subject by Waisman, Bickers, and Rosenberg, trod the middle road. Inexplicably asserting that “Controlled studies indicate that foods have no effect on acne,” he nonetheless allowed, “the patient should receive any assistance that dietary control may impart.”
      • Epstein E.E.
      Acne.
      In a review of 274 clinical trials of acne, the massive 2001 Evidence Report on the Management of Acne
      • Lehmann H.P.
      • Andrews J.S.
      • Robinson K.A.
      • et al.
      Management of acne (evidence report/technology assessment no. 17 (prepared by Johns Hopkins Evidence-based practice center under contract no. 290-97-006). AHRQ Publication No. 01-E019.
      found one solitary paper that mentioned diet, but no trial reported specifically on patients' diets.
      • Lehmann H.P.
      • Robinson K.A.
      • Andrews J.S.
      • Holloway V.
      • Goodman S.N.
      Acne therapy: a methodologic review.
      Cordain's work in two isolated communities with minimal processed carbohydrate and no dairy intake suggests a mechanism that involves insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).
      • Cordain L.
      • Lindeberg S.
      • Hurtado M.
      • Hill K.
      • Eaton S.B.
      • Brand-Miller J.
      Acne vulgaris: a disease of Western civilization.
      Closer to home, Perricone's acne-free program is almost entirely dairy-free.
      • Perricone N.
      The acne prescription: The Perricone program for clear and healthy skin at every age.
      The entire subject has recently been beautifully reviewed by Wolf et al.
      • Wolf R.
      • Matz H.
      • Orion E.
      Acne and diet.
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      Linked Article

      • High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne
        Journal of the American Academy of DermatologyVol. 52Issue 2
        • In Brief
          Previous studies suggest possible associations between Western diet and acne. We examined data from the Nurses Health Study II to retrospectively evaluate whether intakes of dairy foods during high school were associated with physician-diagnosed severe teenage acne.
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