What's the scoop on diet and acne?

One of the most frequent questions I get in my practice as a dermatologist from my patients is about whether or not what someone eats is causing their acne.  Interestingly, the dermatologic community's thoughts on this issue have gone back and forth over the past few decades.  Today, there appears to be increasing scientific evidence that diet may play a role in exacerbating acne.

It was once thought that, because those with acne often have oily skin, eating oily, greasy foods might make acne worse.  This gave rise to the commonly-held belief that eating chocolate or pizza will cause acne to flare.  Flawed studies conducted decades ago seemed to support this, until better studies done more recently put this to rest; eating fat does not cause acne.

Acne is caused by genetic and hormonal factors. Usually, one’s diet does not cause acne, but may contribute to its severity. This is still somewhat controversial, and more research needs to be done to elucidate exactly which dietary factors make acne worse and how modifying one’s diet can be helpful.

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