Acne: risk indicator for increased body mass index and insulin resistance

Acta Derm Venereol. 2013 Nov;93(6):644-9. doi: 10.2340/00015555-1677.


Acne appears to represent a visible indicator disease of over-activated mTORC1 signalling, an unfavour-able metabolic deviation on the road to serious common Western diseases of civilisation associated with increased body mass index and insulin resistance. Exaggerated mTORC1 signalling by Western diet explains the association of acne with increased body mass index, insulin resistance, and early onset of menarche. Both, a high glycaemic load and increased consumption of milk and milk products, staples of Western diet, aggravate mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 signalling. This review of the literature summarises present evidence for an association between acne, increased body mass index, insulin resistance and Western diet. By dietary intervention with a Palaeolithic-type diet, the dermatologist has the chance to attenuate patients' increased mTORC1 signalling by reducing glycaemic load and milk consumption, which may not only improve acne but may delay the march to more serious mTORC1-driven diseases of civilisation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / diet therapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / metabolism
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Milk / adverse effects
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases