Diet causes pimples

Acne sufferers will soon be able to clear away their pimple creams, thanks to ground-breaking research by an Australian research team.

The researchers have found that what we put in our mouths can either cause or cure pimples.

The research team, led by Associate Professor Neil Mann from RMIT University’s School of Applied Sciences, has discovered a solid link between acne and diet. Findings of the study were presented at the 15th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology in Greece in October. The meeting attracted more than 7,000 dermatologists from around the globe.

"We think we've come across a way to alter your diet in a very healthy way that will alleviate the symptoms of acne and at the same time will make you a lot healthier," Associate Professor Mann said.

The study is expected to most benefit adolescents, of whom about 90 per cent suffer from acne.

The diet study was based on observations in non-industrial societies where no acne exists until the teenagers start eating western foods.

Associate Professor Mann and his team spent more than two years studying metabolic changes resulting from altered glucose and insulin levels due to diet and related these to changes observed in the skin and known to cause acne.

Eventually a hypothetical metabolic pathway was between diet and acne was established and a dietary study designed to test the theory.

Associate Professor Mann and PhD researcher Robyn Smith, in conjunction with staff from the Department of Dermatology at Royal Melbourne Hospital, recruited 50 boys and divided them into two groups.

One group consumed a typical teen diet of sugary snacks and processed foods, while the other followed a more natural diet higher in protein and with low-GI foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta and legumes replacing the normal high-GI foods such as potatoes, rice, white bread, cakes, biscuits, soft-drinks and sugary snacks that elevate blood glucose levels and insulin levels so dramatically.

Head of Royal Melbourne Hospital Dermatology, Dr George Varigos, who is working alongside Associate Professor Mann, has been using the skin-friendly diet within his own practice in recent times with good results.

"You have to have that lifestyle change and not expect the magic bullet," Dr Varigos said.

There are hundreds of acne products on the market, but Dr Varigos says this study proves the best medicine for your face and your hip-pocket is food.

"Acne is a condition that can be treated totally,” Dr Varigos said. “Teenagers don't have to wait to grow out of it -that is a wrong conception."

The study showed impressive results in just 12 weeks.

"The acne of the boys on the higher protein-low GI diet improved dramatically, by more than 50 per cent, which is more than what you see with topical acne solutions," said Associate Professor Mann.

“A diet high in processed foods pushes glucose and insulin levels higher, exacerbating the problem, but low-GI foods do the opposite. The mechanism and the results are as clear as day.”

Editor's Note: Original news release can be found here.