Diet plays an important role in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases. Recently, there has been an increasing interest in the role of diet in the development of common skin conditions such as acne and rosacea. The association of diet and acne has been controversial and unclear. Historically, it was thought that diet did not cause acne; however, recent studies reveal a potential role of diet in the pathogenesis of acne.

Individuals that have a diet with a high glycemic load or increased milk consumption are reported to have a greater likelihood of having acne. This effect may be mediated by insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) since IGF-1 levels increase with milk consumption and with a high glycemic load and are known to contribute to the formation of acne.

In contrast to acne, the association of diet and rosacea is much more accepted and established. There are a variety of foods that aggravate rosacea, including spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, and hot, caffeinated drinks. Patients are advised to avoid these triggers.

Interestingly, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids may be beneficial in the treatment of rosacea, although further investigation is necessary. Understanding the etiologic role of diet in acne and rosacea may help in the prevention and treatment of these conditions.

PMID: 21203358

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