Diet and Acne
University of Osnabrück researcher Bodo Melnik has published more evidence linking diet to the development of acne.
Melnik calls into question the pivotal role of androgens in acne development, calling insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) the main culprit. He supports his argument with the fact that while androgen levels remain high after puberty, IGF-1 levels drop off about the same time acne usually does.
Or at least, they should. The problem is that our Western diet, high in saturated fats, dairy and refined carbohydrates, can exacerbate and sustain IGF-1 levels such that acne comes on stronger and lasts longer than it should, even into adulthood. Melnik cites several populations that eat paleo-style diets who also happen to be acne free.
The irony is that while most of us grew up being told that a poor diet causes acne, scientists have spent the past decade or so refuting this. While the old wives tales weren’t exactly on the mark (I recall fatty foods and chocolate as being no-nos),they weren’t entirely wrong either. Rather than specific foods, dairy and foods high in saturated and/or trans fats should be avoided in general. Instead, the paleo-style diet recommended by Melnik includes lots of vegetables and low-glycemic fruits with plenty of fish, rich in anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Reservatrol, a compound found in wines also helps, but then again that’s not particularly helpful for acne sufferers not old enough to drink.
So for now, it does make sense for anyone with acne to cut out dairy and fatty foods, which is good for the waistline as well as your skin.
If you want to learn more about the Paleo diet, chef Pete Evans is a great advocate and his website is https://www.thepaleoway.com.