acne diet

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Acne Diet and Nutrition

Can my diet affect acne or make it worse?
  • Diet does not cause acne, but an unbalanced diet can make things worse. A study in the journal Dermatologia concluded that diet prescriptions for acne are not helpful as a rule, but they can be useful in certain individual cases.
  • It makes sense to support the immune system that is saddled with fending off the inflammation. This means focusing on a plant-based diet with a minimum of five servings of vegetables and fruits every day.
  • Certain foods might make acne worse in some individuals; in others, they may not. Keep a journal, but avoid jumping to conclusions. You can have acne flare-ups and clear periods that follow no discernable pattern.
  • A study in the journal Acta Dermato Venereolica found that 30 milligrams per day of zinc gluconate reduced the inflammation often found in acne.
  • It's important to get enough vitamin A since it plays a part in the health of your skin. If, however, you are taking the prescription drug isotretinoin (Accutane) for acne, consult with your doctor first before taking vitamin A, or any multivitamin containing vitamin A. There is a risk of a vitamin A overdose, because isotretinoin is a vitamin A-like compound.
  • The risk of vitamin A toxicity applies only to pre-formed vitamin A, not beta carotene, which is converted to the vitamin by the body as needed. It is not possible to consume a toxic amount of beta carotene. Read the label to see what form you are taking.
  • In the Annals of Clinical Research, Swedish scientists discuss how lower levels of selenium are associated with various skin disorders, including acne.
  • Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that plays a key role in the immune system. As reported in two separate studies in the dermatology journal Cutis, there is a synergy between vitamin A and vitamin E in dermatological applications. Vitamin E can also prevent irritating lipid (fat) peroxidation of sebum, which may play a role in the inflammatory aspects of acne.
  • Consult with your physician before adding any supplements to your diet.

References and Sources: Medline, Pubmed, National Institutes of Health.

last update: December 2008

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this material to diagnose or treat a health condition or disease without consulting with your healthcare provider.
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