Mediterranean diet and familial dysmetabolism as factors influencing the development of acne

Scand J Public Health. 2012 Jul;40(5):466-74. doi: 10.1177/1403494812454235. Epub 2012 Jul 24.


Aim: To investigate the effects of adherence to the Mediterranean diet and familial dysmetabolisms on acne development.

Methods: A community-based case-control study was carried out in Italy enrolling cases as acneic outpatients of a dermatological ambulatory service and controls as clinically healthy acne-free subjects. Food consumption were evaluated with a validated food-frequency questionnaire, exploring the consumption of pasta, meat, cheese, fish, fruit, vegetables, and olive oil. Adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet was assessed by a 10-point Mediterranean diet scale that incorporated the main characteristics of this diet. A logistic regression analysis estimated the variables who predicted the odds of being case, using those variables that at the univariate analysis yielded a p-value <0.25. Results are presented as odds ratio (OR) or adjusted OR (AOR).

Results: The study included 93 cases (36.6% males, median age 17 years) and 200 controls (32% males, median age 16 years). The Mediterranean diet score ≥6 revealed a protective effect towards acne (crude OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.08-0.64). Logistic regression analysis showed that familial hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, and hypertension are strong risk factors for acne (AOR 8.79, 95% CI 1.67-46.22; 3.32, 95% CI 1.27-8.63; and 2.73, 95% CI 1.07-6.96, respectively), while the Mediterranean diet represents a protective factor (score ≥6, AOR 0.31, 95% CI 0.11-0.89).

Conclusions: The odds for familial dysmetabolisms was higher in cases than in controls, confirming their role in determining or maintaining acne. Moreover, this is the first study demonstrating a protective role of the Mediterranean diet in the pathogenesis of acne.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / genetics*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet, Mediterranean / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / genetics*
  • Hypertension / genetics*
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Risk Factors