Salty and spicy food; are they involved in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris? A case controlled study

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2016 Jun;15(2):145-9. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12200. Epub 2015 Dec 9.


Background: Many studies have suggested a strong relation between diet and acne. Many patients with acne believe that spicy and salty foods exacerbate acne.

Aim: To assess the relationship between the dietary intake of salty and spicy food and the onset, severity, duration of acne.

Methods: Two hundred patients with acne vulgaris and 200 age- and gender-matched controls were subjected to a detailed questionnaire taking, clinical examination and dietary assessment through using "24 h recall" method. Sodium content of the 24-h food intake was computed by a computer program connecting participants' dietary information to the food composition table of National Nutrition Institute data base.

Results: Patients with acne consumed significantly higher daily amounts of sodium chloride (NaCl) (median 3367.54 mg) compared to the controls (median 2271.8 mg) (P < 0.001). A negative correlation between the amount of NaCl in the diet of patients with acne and the age of onset of acne lesions was detected (r = -0.216, P = 0.031). However, neither salty nor spicy food correlated with duration or severity of the disease.

Conclusion: Consumption of salty foods was significantly higher among patients with acne compared to acne free subjects, making the consumption of salty food a possible participating factor in the development of acne.

Keywords: acne; diet; sodium chloride; spicy food.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / etiology*
  • Acne Vulgaris / physiopathology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sodium Chloride / adverse effects*
  • Spices / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Sodium Chloride