Nutrition and acne

Clin Dermatol. 2010 Nov-Dec;28(6):598-604. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.017.


There are significant data supporting the role of diet in acne. Our Western diet includes many dairy sources containing hormones.. The natural function of milk being to stimulate growth, it contains anabolic steroids as well as true growth hormones and other growth factors. The presence of 5α-pregnanedione, 5α-androstanedione, and other precursors of 5α-dihydrotestosterone add to the potency of milk as a stimulant of acne. In addition, foods with significant sugar content and other carbohydrates yielding high glycemic loads affect serum insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels, both of which promote increased production of available androgens and the subsequent development of acne.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Androgens / biosynthesis
  • Animals
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index
  • Hormones / adverse effects
  • Hormones / analysis
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Male
  • Milk / adverse effects*
  • Milk / chemistry


  • Androgens
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Hormones
  • Insulin
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I