You Are What You Eat: Gossip Trumps Truth about the Connection between Diet and Acne

Any acne sufferer can tell you that he or she would have tried just about anything to rid themselves of the troublesome and oftentimes embarrassing skin condition. For generations, everyday conversations have perpetuated the myth that what you eat is a major contributing factor to acne. Teens across the nation have probably sworn off pizza and chocolate, French fries and dairy products in hopes of clearing their complexions.

While it’s always a good idea to maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet, studies have yet to determine a link between our diets and acne. In an effort to determine the popularity of the idea that acne and eating habits are interlinked, a group of researchers went to a place where common misconceptions are always rampant: the internet.

Using YouTube  to survey the views of the public, researchers from the SUNY Health and Science Center searched the video site for the terms “acne,” “acne diet,” and “acne food” to determine the layperson’s notion of the correlation between food and acne. Eighty-seven videos searched between July and August 2009 were included in the study that was used to show that, though research does not support it, many people still believe in the connection between diet and acne.

Of the 87 YouTube videos, over 85% suggested a moderate to strong correlation between acne and what people eat. The three most popular videos, each viewed over 100,000 times, all fell into the “strong correlation” category, suggesting that nutrition and acne were most definitely linked.

While studies regarding the connection between diet and acne are still ongoing, current evidence shows that other treatments are more effective in helping acne sufferers achieve clearer complexions and fewer acne symptoms including scarring, blackheads, and more. Each person’s case of acne is different, allowing Dermatology Associates of Atlanta’s physicians to tailor treatments to your skin and lifestyle. Acne treatment methods can include photodynamic therapy like Allumera®, laser treatments like IsoLaz™, topical treatments and customized prescription compounds containing benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, oral medications such as antibiotics, cosmetic treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels, laser treatments, and more. Make sure to visit out acne treatments page for details.

The public’s prevailing views regarding the correlation between acne and diet are important to dermatologists because patient satisfaction is directly tied to perceived results. If patients believe that going to see a dermatologist about acne is a waste of time, then they will be less likely to adhere to the treatment plan devised specifically for them, and therefore they will not achieve the complexion-clearing results they desire. No treatment gives patients immediate results, especially since acne begins in the sebaceous glands of the deeper layers of the skin. Instead, patients must maintain a regular treatment schedule to see results. Your dermatologist can tell you when to expect results based on your specific treatment plan.

This study shows the importance of both patient and doctor cooperation in helping each patient achieve his or her cosmetic goals. To stay updated on all of the latest dermatology news make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We also recommend you check out our blog for explanations of studies on acne and other skin conditions.