Acne Vulgaris and Its Association With Dietary Intake: A Malaysian Perspective

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2018;27(5):1141-1145. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.072018.01.


Background and objectives: Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition among adolescents and young adults. Its relationship with the dietary intake is highly debatable and equivocal. This study aimed to identify the association between acne vulgaris and dietary intake among Malaysians.

Methods and study design: A case-control study was conducted involving 57 acne vulgaris patients and 57 age-, gender- and ethnicity-matched controls. All participants were aged 14 and above. The Comprehensive Acne Severity Scale (CASS) was used to categorise patients (grades 2 to 5) and controls (grades 0 to 1). Information such as the demographics, family history, smoking habits and dietary intake were collected using a self-administered questionnaire.

Results: In the patient arm, the gender ratio of male to female was 1.5:1. 43 patients (75.4%) had a family history of acne vulgaris. No significant association was found for acne in patients with a history of smoking. Milk consumption was significantly higher in patients (63.2%, n=36) versus controls (43.9%, n=25), (OR=2.19, p<0.05). In addition, chocolate consumption was also significantly higher in patients (43.9%, n=25) versus controls (24.6%, n=14), (OR=2.4, p<0.05). No significant association was found with the intakes of sweets, potatoes, chips, nuts, yoghurt, ice-cream or carbonated drinks.

Conclusions: Dietary intake of milk and chocolate may play a role in acne vulgaris. Prospective cohort and intervention studies are recommended to explore whether a causal relationship might obtain.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / epidemiology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chocolate / adverse effects*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Diet / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaysia / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Milk / adverse effects*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult