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Diet and acne: eat fish and avoid breakouts?


MAUI, HAWAII--The relationship between diet and acne risk has grown more intriguing as a consequence of an Italian study linking milk to an increased risk, while fish had a protective effect.

"This was a well-done, very large, multicenter case-control study," Dr. Lawrence F. Eichenfield said at the seminar, sponsored by Global Academy for Medical Education/Skin Disease Education Foundation.

A diet-acne link has been a topic of debate for many years among dermatologists and dieticians. Conventional wisdom formerly held that chocolate and greasy foods exacerbated acne, a notion later dispelled. A literature review of 27 studies implicated high-glycemic-index foods and milk (J. Acad. Nutr. Diet. 2013;113:416-30).

The Italian study Dr. Eichenfield spotlighted involved 205 consecutive patients aged 10-24 years newly diagnosed with moderate to severe acne. The control group comprised 358 patients with no acne or mild acne who consulted a dermatologist for a concern other than acne. Researchers inquired about family history diet, personal habits, and menstrual history.

Family history of acne emerged as a strong risk factor. A history of acne in a first-degree relative was associated with a 3.4-fold increased risk of moderate to severe acne.

Drinking milk more than three times per week was linked with a 1.8-fold increased risk of significant acne. The risk was more pronounced in skim-milk drinkers than in whole-milk drinkers. Consumption of more than three servings per week of nonfat milk was associated with a 2.2-fold increased risk of moderate to severe acne (J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 2012;67:1129-35).

In contrast, regular consumption of fish was associated with a 32% reduction in the likelihood of having moderate to severe acne.

Body mass index was directly associated with acne: Adolescents and young adults with a BMI greater than 18.5 kg/[m.sup.2] were at 1.9-fold greater risk of significant acne than those with a smaller BMI. This protective effect of a low BMI was stronger in male than female subjects.

Neither menstrual factors nor smoking showed any relationship with acne risk in the Italian study, noted Dr. Eichenfield, professor of clinical pediatrics and medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

"How do I take this new information and use it in the clinic? The answer is, I don't, because I really don't know what the impact will be of dietary changes in my actual care of individuals with acne who come to me. But this whole issue of diet and acne is a really fascinating one," he said.

SDEF and this news organization are owned by the same parent company.

Dr. Eichenfield reported receiving research grants for clinical investigations from half a dozen pharmaceutical companies.
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Title Annotation:DERMATOLOGY
Author:Jancin, Bruce
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Date:May 1, 2013
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