I've moved to Japan where sugar-based and simple-carb diets are not nearly so common as in the US. My 25 years of mild acne problems cleared up within four weeks after avoiding all sugar, chocolate, fruit juice, sugar coated cereal, and bread.
I can turn my acne back on again after about three weeks of a diet rich in simple-carbs and sugar, but I tend not to. (Though if there's chocolate lying around too often, I'll get a few red bumps around my hairline.)
Saying "sugar does not cause acne," is like saying "gasoline does not cause mobility." True, by itself sugar does not cause acne, nor does gasoline cause mobility.
But put sugar into your body, where it interacts with and disrupts your hormones, causes chemical imbalances and stress, and you definitely get acne. But sugar alone doesn't cause it.
In the same way, put gas in a car, where it interacts with a spark plug and pistons and gears, the drive train and you get mobility. But gas alone doesn't carry you anywhere.
The other problem is doctors and patients both like someone else to blame - specifically the pharmaceutical salesman. And he's more than happy to take the blame, provided you buy his drugs.
If a doctor were to say, "Just change your diet, change your behavior and your acne will improve," but you try and your acne doesn't go away, you can only blame yourself or your doctor. That's not going to help your relationship with your doctor. But if you take pills and your acne doesn't go away, you and your doctor both get to blame the drug company!
Someday the medical world will admit the very strong correlation between simple carbohydrates and acne, but it will take another generation or two of frustration and emotional debates.
By the way, the young Japanese kids eating in McDonalds and eating "western stye," tend to have acne. The older Japanese, Koreans, and Chinese still have that clear, smooth "China-doll" skin.
Sugar has only been around about two hundred years. Acne goes back thousands of years, the egyptians and romans had it.
Don't be daft. Do you mean sugar in a bag with a barcode!! Ahh, that made me laugh. "Sugar" is in fruit for a start, my friend. What Zenfish is talking about it refined sugar; the kind we get addicted to.
Zenfish, I am amazed that, in just four weeks of not eating junk food, my skin is gradually returning to the way it was before acne (seven hard years ago). A big part of me is angry that everyone has always told me that diet has no effect on skin, but mostly I feel liberated. Not to mention handsome! I wish it weren't so, but people look at me differently now my skin is better. Every time a girl checks me out it's worth a trillion bars of chocolate!!
scorpian, if you REALLY want to get rid of acne, then I emplore you to try cutting out ALL sugary foods (even fruit) for just three days. On the morning of day four you will know what I know
How old the two posters who said their acne cleared from changing their diets?
I'm a 16 year old male. Therefore, I probably have hormonal acne. Do you think changing my diet will clear my acne? Or will I just have to stick it out until my hormones feel like balancing?
Your acne could clear up when your hormones normalize. The thing is, for most hormones normalize when puberty ceases (as late as your early 20s), but for others like myself, our hormones never balance because the foods we eat or ate continued to create an internal environment that favors the imbalance. So you can do 1 of 2 things, actually 3:
You can find out your family history and see if there are any health problems (cancer, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc) that exist and if so you can try the diet as it will more likely help you in the future, if not currently for your skin.
You can try the diet anyway, since its based around the principle of managing one's Insulin Resistance which happens to occur temporarily during puberty and happens to induce Hyperandrogenism (acne, alopecia, hirsutism, certain cancers, obesity, etc) so that we can grow & develop our secondary sex characteristics, especially males.
Or you can wait it out and hope that you are one of the regular folks and that it goes away when puberty does.
I thought a bit more about my first posting, and it would be good to clarify: yes, by sugar I mean simple-carbohydrates which immediately become glucose inside me -- candy, chocolate, soda pop, refined bread, refined pasta, refined grains -- almost anything that began its life as a white powder. Fruits I eat all the time, but not fruit juice. Vegetables are good sources of complex sugars. Whole rice seems better for me than potatoes and certainly better than bread. If I eat the diet of a diabetic, I'll do fine.
There are always a few severe cases of acne where diet alone might not work, for example the ancient Egyptian type mentioned above. But then, were the Egyptians the first to cultivate wheat and grains and grind them up into very simple carbohydrates?
Stone ground grain is not the same as refined bleached white flour. The fact is the people way back had 100 percent organic diets, yet they still had acne. I know the facts do not fit your theory. High schools students eat lots of junk food. But I bet there is no higher percentage of teenagers with acne than there was in the 1950,s. Must be some reason it runs in families other than food.
About 2 years ago I started to get REALLY bad acne - on the face, back and chest. I went on antibiotics for a few months and it cleared a bit but I hate pills so I stopped taking them and decided to try the food route instead.
After a few months of (gradually) getting into an eating regime where 90% of what I put into my mouth was fresh, organic, with no simple carbs and few complex carbs and my skin cleared up. My back and chest was clear enough to wear a low back and low front dress to a special event.
And then, 2 weeks ago, I went away for a few days vacation and didn't have access to my normal food so ate pretty much what was available. Also, because we were 'away' my boyfirend wanted us to go out a lot and eat and drink.
Well, I get back and my face is SO bad - its like I have the plague!! hah. I have bumps and lumps and pimples - its disgusting!! I haven't had skin like this for months.
It absolutely HAS to be the sugar from the bread, pasta, rice, alcohol, desserts that caused it. There are no other things that I did different other than eating differently.
If 2 weeks from now - after a detox regime - my skin is better, I'll be assured 100% that food causes my acne.
Though food doesn't cause acne in everyone, I think some of us are unlucky that it DOES affect our skin.
Let us know how your recovery goes the next couple weeks. You ran a good experiment that we could all learn from.
If you recover completely with the no-simple-carb diet, count yourself among the lucky ones -- the ones who know what causes their acne and who can do something simple and effective for it.
The unfortunate sufferers are the ones who have mysterious, undefined causes of acne. They're doomed to endless searching, medicines, pills, scrubbing, massaging, and all forms of quackery and frustration. I'm sympathetic to their plight, but I certainly recommend a strict diet for a couple months just to rule that out as the simpler cause...
A note to any ancient historians: potatoes and honey have been around for tens of thousands of years - they're very simple carbohydrates. Watch out for those, too.
If I wasn't so selfish I would gorge on rubbish for fortnight and take photos of the disaster area that would be my face. And then I would resuce the situation through diet and take photos to show how quickly things turned around. But I am selfish
Potatos and honey are high glycemic foods. They are not refined sugar. Refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup are new additions to the human diet. If you go on a strict diet and your acne clears up then you are lucky. No one has ever been able to prove diet causes acne. Someone will make a fortune if they can prove it.
Ahh, how sad it is that the acne/diet debate has such an emotional and nasty tone.
Many acne-sufferers have proven scientifically to themselves that one diet triggers their acne while another diet eliminates their acne. They can turn it on, they can turn it off. And you can even watch them do it. That is called a "controlled experiment", and it's the way science is done. These people have scientifically proven it to themselves, and frankly they just smile when you accuse them by saying "No. Diet does not effect your acne. You're deluded."
Unfortunately, as it often is within the profitable medical and drug industry, things become emotional and distorted. Afterall, who wants to lose a helpless life-time pill customer to a free behavioral change that actually works?
To say that "No scientific study has proven that diet causes acne," is simply foolish. The correct statement is, "No scientific study has proven that diet alone causes ALL cases of acne." That is true. There are some types of acne that are not triggered or caused by diet. But some types certainly are.
Read that again slowly. It's the same flawed logic as saying "No scientific study has proven that teenagers enjoy rock and roll." That's a foolish statement. The proper statement is "No scientific study has proven that ALL teenagers enjoy ALL rock and roll."
Have you ever seen those clever weight loss food and supplement plans? The ones where in the fine print it says it's very effective when "used as part of a regular excercise program." That's like saying, "Our supplement guarantees you'll lose weight ... as you run 10 miles a day." Yes, they sneak in the true, best method that actually causes you to lose weight.
Now go and read closely the scientific and pharmaceutical acne studies on the internet and you'll be quite surprised at how many slip in the advice: "Though the American Medical Industry has agreed that diet is not proven to be the cause of acne, it is recommended that patients minimize their intake of sugars, simple-carbohydrates, peanut butter, and dairy products and meats that may contain artificial growth hormones, which can aggravate the acne." There you have it - the actual truthful and useful advice is slipped in with the useless or marginally effective remedy.
My friend above says, if someone proves that diet causes acne, "they'll make a fortune." On the contrary, if someone proves that diet causes acne, particularly if that someone is in the medical industry, they'll lose a fortune.
You'll be happier and richer if after a month-long controlled study of your own diet you discover your skin greatly improves. Good luck, and take a pass on the pizza, coke and chocolate...