Acne vulgaris is one of the most common dermatological conditions worldwide. Multiple factors are known to affect its emergence, including genetic, hormonal, inflammatory, and environmental influences. Because of its implications for many of these factors, the diet has been part of the discussion about acne for decades and here you will better understand what the relationship between them is.
Influence of Diet on Acne
The development of acne in some populations is more evident after the adoption of a Western-standard diet, because of the high consumption of processed foods, dairy and refined sugars. However, they develop acne when an activation cascade occurs in inflammatory proteins and sex hormones that will increase the production of sebum and oiliness in the skin. What should you take into consideration in food?
Food Glycemic Index: Diets with a low glycemic load reduced acne lesions compared to individuals with high glycemic load diets.
Milk and dairy products: Whey proteins, responsible for the insulinotropic effects of milk, may contribute more to the development of acne.
Fat: Individuals with acne benefit from diets composed of fish and healthy oils, thereby increasing their intake of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Probiotics: Recent research on the effects of probiotic administration in individuals with acne has shown promising results.
Vegetarian and Vegan: Vegetarian and vegan diets include reduced or no intake of all types of meat (including fish) and dairy. Thus, because of the amount of leucine, individuals with high consumption of these foods can activate pro-inflammatory signaling and aggravate the inflammation implicated in acne.
Effects of Food on the Treatment of Acne
For an oral drug to be effective, it must be absorbed, enter the circulation and be delivered and absorbed by the target tissue. Thus, the absorption characteristics of drugs include solubility in the gastrointestinal tract and permeability in enterocytes.
Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and aluminum can chelate with the substances present in medications., resulting in malabsorption and loss of efficacy. Therefore, it is recommended that supplements and antacids be avoided 4 to 6 hours before and 2 hours after the administration of the drug.
However, many minerals and vitamins are important for healthy skin, and so should be administered. at times that do not compromise the absorption of medications. Also, while antibiotics are more effective when taken without food, they are less likely to result in gastrointestinal disorders when taken with food.
Based on this, food is related to acne, as a Western dietary pattern rich in foods with a high glycemic index, dairy, meat and low-quality fats promotes alteration in the intestinal microbiota, increased signaling of inflammatory proteins and change of sex hormones. In this way, individuals suffering with acne benefit from omega 3 supplementation and probiotics.
Did you know that your gut health can influence acne?
Watch the video on Science Play with Luana Landeiro: Axis intestine and skin
Article: Baldwin H, Tan J. Effects of Diet on Acne and Its Response to Treatment [published correction appears in Am J Clin Dermatol. 2020, December 26;:]. Am J Clin Dermatol . 2021;22(1):55-65. doi:10.1007/s40257-020-00542-y