Interesting or significant studies about acne, skin health, and related issues.

Find more studies at NIH’s

3 studies each showing a 50% reduction in acne legions from taking oral antioxidants Selenium, N-Acetylcysteine, and Silymarin. Perhaps combining the 3 would lead to an even greater improvement. lets you read the majority of paywalled studies

C reactive protein (a common inflammation marker) was nearly triple in patients with severe acne compared to patients with moderate acne.

Study by Assisted Living Magazine of assisted living and nursing homes shows seniors taking a probiotic and daily zinc experience less eczema

Skin inflammation induced by ambient particulate matter in China

Fasting insulin levels were significantly higher in acne patients.

This study shows that patients with acne have higher levels of depression, anxiety, social anxiety, self-reported stress, anxiety sensitivity, and disability, and a greater prevalence of type D personality, than healthy controls

PRP improves the results of subcision acne treatments

All types of milk (whole, skim, low-fat, etc) associated with acne, but yogurt and cheese not linked to acne

Quality of life (QoL) was significantly reduced among acne patients with facial hyperpigmentation

Acne and Rosacea

Latest research on acne scarring treatments

Prevlance of acne in China

Genetic study of 812 person Chinese population. Those with a specific variation of NLRP3 were 10% more likely to have acne. Not a very convincing study.

High treatment failure rates. 80% of adult women fail multiple courses of antibiotic medications and 40% fail after a course of isotretinoin.

Acne is associated with increased risks of depression and suicide

A randomized, single-blind, active controlled study to compare the efficacy of salicylic acid and mandelic acid chemical peel in the treatment of mild to moderately severe acne vulgaris

Measuring acne using Coproporphyrin III, Protoporphyrin IX, and lesion-specific inflammation: an exploratory study

Efficacy of a twice-daily, 3-step, over-the-counter skincare regimen for the treatment of acne vulgaris

Knowledge, attitude and practice towards acne vulgaris among acne patients

‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Development and characterization of polymeric nanoparticle-based formulation of adapalene for topical acne therapy‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Oral Spironolactone for Acne Vulgaris in Adult Females: A Hybrid Systematic Review

The psychosocial impact of acne, vitiligo, and psoriasis: a review

Research published in 2016

European guidelines for treatment of acne (updated for 2016) do not mention the words sugar or diet. Recommendations include systemic and topical antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, light therapies, isotretinoin, zinc, and others.

In a study of Nigerian women, acne sufferers had significantly higher blood levels of lead and copper

Vitamin D deficiency was more frequent in patients with acne, and serum 25(OH)D levels were inversely correlated with acne severity

The following lifestyle factors were associated with the appearance of acne: working an office job (versus unemployment or being a housewife), stress, low intake of fruits & vegetables, low intake of fresh fish

This article presents the latest findings on a potential impact that diet can have on pathogenesis of acne vulgaris.

Consumption of low fat milk, but not full-fat milk, is positively associated with acne

Strong evidence that carbohydrates are a primary cause of acne

This article presents the latest findings on a potential impact that diet can have on pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. The association between diet and acne can no longer be dismissed.

The results of this study show that fractional laser treatment in these patients is fast and practical. Depending on the scar condition it could be made 6 treatments, and even if the scar is not completely disappeared after the treatment, it significantly improves the look. In 35% of cases there is a complete reduction of scarring, and in 40% a significant reduction of scars with more than 50%.

Consumption of low-fat/skim milk, but not full-fat milk, was positively associated with acne.

Overall, there is early evidence that turmeric/curcumin products and supplements, both oral and topical, may provide therapeutic benefits for skin health.

Must Reads

Our findings suggest that a history of teenage acne might be a novel risk factor for melanoma [cancer] independent from the known factors.

A Zinc-less Zinc Regimen for Adults: A brilliant theory by user databased

Cordain: Acne Vulgaris – A Disease of Western Civilization

Recent Acne Studies

“We used to think that comedones preceded inflammation, but we now know that inflammation is involved in the development of comedones”

Teenage acne correlated to melanoma.

There is some low-quality evidence from single trials that LGLD, tea tree oil, and bee venom may reduce total skin lesions in acne vulgaris, but there is a lack of evidence from the current review to support the use of other CAMs, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, or wet-cupping therapy, for the treatment of this condition

Body mass index is negatively associated with acne lesion counts in Taiwanese women with post-adolescent acne. I can’t get access to the full text of this study, but it appears that researchers found evidence that heavier people have less acne than thin people.

Perimenstrual flare of adult acne.. 56% of women with acne report that the condition worsens before their period.

Diet and Acne

Stress, lack of sleep, smoking, alcohol consumption, and menstruation aggravate acne.

A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: a randomized controlled trial.

Double-blind, Placebo-controlled Study Assessing the Effect of Chocolate Consumption in Subjects with a History of Acne Vulgaris.. Conclusion: Eating chocolate makes acne worse in acne-prone men.

The Relationship of Diet and Acne

Does Diet Really Affect Acne?

In this study of Chinese students, desserts and fruit juices were linked to increased acne, and dairy and soy linked to decreased acne

A high glycemic load diet, dairy food intake, high fat diet, and iodine in Korean foods appear to play a role in acne exacerbation

Glycemic index, glycemic load: new evidence for a link with acne

High glycemic load diet, milk and ice cream consumption are related to acne vulgaris in Malaysian young adults: a case control study

2009 acne study. Milk and high glycemic load diets increased acne prevalence and severity

Acne Research Paper: Skim milk associated with Acne in teenagers

“Positive association between intake of milk and acne” in a study of 6000 teenage girls

Role of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, hyperglycaemic food and milk consumption in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris

Human skin condition and its associations with nutrient concentrations in serum and diet

Organic crops had significantly higher antioxidants than conventional crops, including 19% higher levels of phenolic acids, 69% higher levels of flavanones, 28% higher levels of stilbenes, 26% higher levels of flavones, 50% higher levels of flavonols, and 51% higher levels of anthocyanins.

Genetics and Acne

Family history linked to acne in teens

Stress and Acne

Stress is associated with increased acne, but not with increased sebum production.

Link Found Between Teens’ Stress Levels And Acne Severity

The Response of Skin Disease to Stress


Yoga reduces stress.

Blood tests showed that, after three months of yoga practice, three markers for inflammation were reduced by 10 to 15 percent.

Superoxide Dismutase and Acne

Superoxide Anions mixed with P. acnes triggers skin inflammation. — everyone has p. acnes bacteria, so the real culprit behind acne may be superoxide anions (O2-).

Superoxide Dismutase levels unusually low in 32 out of 34 individuals suffering from acne.

Taking melatonin for 30 days can increase ZnSOD (superoxide dismutase) by 31%.

Acne Rosacea linked to high levels of superoxide anions.

Acne Rosacea

Consensus recommendations from the American Acne & Rosacea Society on the management of rosacea, part 5: a guide on the management of rosacea.

The quality of life impact of acne and rosacea compared to other major medical conditions.

Mast Cells Are Key Mediators of Cathelicidin-Initiated Skin Inflammation in Rosacea.

Therapeutic Update on Rosacea.

Psychology of Acne

Understanding the Burden of Adult Female Acne

The impact of acne vulgaris on quality of life and psychic health in young adolescents in Greece.

Evaluating of Life Quality in Patients with Acne Vulgaris

Acne vulgaris significantly affects patients’ quality of life. Regardless of the severity of acne, older adults were more affected by their acne.

Acne linked to suicide thoughts in students

Quality of Life and Emotional State in Chronic Skin Disease. Chronic skin disease is associated with depression, insomnia and anxiety. Patients with chronic skin diseases had low emotional well-being and general health ratings.

Medications / Topical Products

Cleanser with glycolic acid improved mild acne after 6 weeks of use

Skin Care and Acne

Topical epidermal growth factor reduces acne by 33.5%

The Use of Isotretinoin in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris

Accutane might work because it suppresses the retina’s ability to see light at night.

Classification of benzoyl peroxide as safe and effective

Clindamycin gel + Benzoyl Peroxide wash appears safe and well-tolerated in participants with mild to moderate acne vulgaris.

Observational study of Arctium lappa in the treatment of acne vulgaris. The homeopathic medicine lappa was effective in treating acne.
Probiotics and prebiotics in dermatology.

The Melatonin Cycle and Acne

Antiinflammatory Activity of Melatonin in Central Nervous System

Melatonin and its relation to the immune system and inflammation.

Melatonin cycle and sunlight

UV-A is a powerful signal affecting the pineal melatonin-generating system

285 lux for an hour suppresses melatonin in humans

Lasers and Light Therapy

Evidence-based review of photodynamic therapy in the treatment of acne.

Light and laser therapy for acne: sham or science? facts and controversies.

Red/blue light therapy failed to help with acne.

Studies on Supplements & Nutrients

Individuals with severe acne had lower levels of vitamin E and zinc

Vitamin B / zinc tablets appear to be an effective oral therapy for the treatment of acne vulgaris and rosacea

Propionibacterium acnes Induces an IL-17 Response in Acne Vulgaris that Is Regulated by Vitamin A and Vitamin D.

Low vitamin A and E plasma levels have an important role in the pathogenesis of acne.

Vitamin D deficiency causes cancer and increased mortality rates.

Fructose malabsorption is associated with decreased plasma tryptophan.

Studies on Inflammation

Acne is an inflammatory disease and should be treated as such

Poor dental hygiene causes systemic inflammation

Studies on Heart Disease

A 99.4% effective way to reverse Coronary Heart Disease.

Soybean oil increased blood pressure and impaired endothelial function, compared to olive oil

Studies on Depression

Regular walking eases depression

Vitamin D Fights Depression and Alzheimer’s Disease

Acne patients 50% more likely to suffer from major depression

Young women are significantly more likely to die from heart disease if they suffer from depression. Depression is as powerful a risk factor for heart disease as diabetes and smoking.

NY Times summary of a study that found depressed adults were 65 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Misc Studies

Low stress levels ‘increase male attractiveness to women’

Epidemiology and extracutaneous comorbidities of severe acne in adolescence: a U.S. population-based study.. Summary: Severe acne was more common in whites, women, and the wealthy. [possibly the same groups who are more likely to drink coffee?]

Scottish scientists founds that Americans who ate just 3.1 more servings/day of fruit and vegetables were found more attractive.

Zinc may shorten the length of common colds

Fish oil suspected in low rates of bipolar disorders in Japan.

Gluten disorder 4 times as prevalent as it was in the 1950s (based on study of frozen blood samples from then).

No evidence that supplementing melatonin is effective in treating sleep disorders.

Scar Treatments

A series of needling treatments improves acne scars.

Acne in the media:

Bloomberg: Medicis in $160 million boron-related acne treatment deal

New York Times: The Claim: Sugar in the Diet Can Lead to Acne

Adult women battle acne

Washington Post: Acne, Accutane, and Suicide Risk

Teens, Adults Take Dim View of Kids with Acne

Washington Post: Acne deserves serious scrutiny, for it is a frequently trivialized source of human misery

New York Times: Proactiv Tries to Shed the Hard-Sell Approach

Forbes: Guthy Recker collects roughly $800 million in revenue from Proactiv sales in 2010

LA Times: Let others sell acne treatments via star power. founder Dan Kern takes another approach

How acne and depression feed each other

New York Times: For Top Medical Students, Dermatology an Attractive Field

Acne, the cause of her daughter’s angst was surprisingly hard to fight. Not all doctors were helpful

Washington Post: Paleolithic diet is so easy, cavemen actually did it

Less Sleep May Accelerate Brain Aging

Recommended Books
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
Dreamland: Adventures in the Strange Science of Sleep
The Clear Skin Diet