Diet and acne

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2010 Jul;63(1):124-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.07.043. Epub 2010 Mar 24.


Historically, the relationship between diet and acne has been highly controversial. Before the 1960s, certain foods were thought to exacerbate acne. However, subsequent studies dispelled these alleged associations as myth for almost half a century. Several studies during the last decade have prompted dermatologists to revisit the potential link between diet and acne. This article critically reviews the literature and discusses how dermatologists might address diet when counseling patients with acne. Dermatologists can no longer dismiss the association between diet and acne. Compelling evidence exists that high glycemic load diets may exacerbate acne. Dairy ingestion appears to be weakly associated with acne, and the roles of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, zinc, vitamin A, and dietary fiber remain to be elucidated. This study was limited by the lack of randomized controlled trials in the literature. We hope that this review will encourage others to explore the effects of diet on acne.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / physiopathology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Dairy Products / adverse effects
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Zinc / therapeutic use


  • Antioxidants
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Zinc