Simple carbs may be giving you zits

Acne vulgaris has been found to be associated with high glycemic index. Research has long suggested a connection between diet and acne. Though some people assume that a pizza fanatic may have a lot of acne because of the junk food’s grease, that’s not necessarily the culprit. Think simple– simple carbs.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, acne vulgaris is associated with a high glycemic index and high glycemic load levels. The study also found an inverse correlation between serum adiponectin concentration and glycemic index.

Acne vulgaris is a common skin condition that occurs when hair follicles plug with oil and dead skin cells. Although most people experience some form of acne in their lives, the severity of acne varies greatly. The most severe form of acne can cause infections larger than five millimeters and produce lifelong scarring.

To conduct the study, researchers from the Marmara University Faculty of Medicine in Istanbul, Turkey examined 50 people with acne vulgaris. The research team compared the acne patients’ glycemic indexes and glycemic loads with 36 healthy control participants and looked at possible acne associations with milk consumption, insulin resistance and adiponectin levels. None of the patients were obese.

The glycemic index is a system of assigning carbohydrate-containing foods with a number according to how much that food increases blood sugar, according to the Mayo Clinic. In this system foods like carrots are assigned a low number while foods like white bread are assigned a high number.

“A high glycemic index/load diet was positively associated with acne vulgaris”, the authors said in the study. “Adiponectin may be a pathogenetic cofactor contributing to the development of the disease. Further research on adiponectin levels in patients with acne in terms of development of insulin resistance might be important in this possible relationship.”

The study was led by Asli Aksu Çerman, MD, who works at the Marmara University Faculty of Medicine in Istanbul. The study was published in the July 2016 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The authors disclosed no financial information or conflicts of interest.

Written by: Emma Fortel | Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Carlson, M.D.