Ance - "Risk Indicator" for Obesity & Diabetes?



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Is Acne a "Risk Indicator" for Obesity and Diabetes?
By Alec Thomson

Research into the link between acne and diet is not new but this paper goes further and suggests that acne is a long-term Risk Indicator of certain diseases: It does not suggest, however, that acne causes these diseases in later life. Instead, this research suggests that the Western diet, which plays a big role in the development of acne in early life, if left unchecked, the ongoing consumption of these same foods, would ultimately cause more serious diseases in the future.

The researchers suggest that acne is a "visible indicator" of an overactive metabolic state where the body is trying to respond and process an overload of calories; in particular sugar. The study concluded (and there is good evidence) that this overworked metabolic condition leads to serious long term conditions and diseases of metabolism such as overweight as determined by Body Mass Index (BMI), obesity, arterial hypertension, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and potentially Alzheimer's disease, according to the researchers.

Dr Melnik and his colleagues advised that removing all high glycemic foods (high sugar foods) or any other foods known to cause a spike in insulin from the diet at the same time as treating the acne with topical skincare products. They concluded that puberty and adolescence is a time of significant metabolic change. During this period, the body produces many growth factors and hormones, but the high sugar foods of the western diet, combined with an adolescent's need for more energy and calories, that causes great metabolic stress and inflammation within the body. Acne is, therefore, a potential visible indicator that this metabolic process is out of balance.

Finally, the researchers recommendation is that the family doctor or dermatologist, who is frequently involved in the treatment of adolescents during this vulnerable phase of metabolic transformation and programming, should not just focus on treating the appearance of acne on the skin, but should also consider the value of dietary change or modification. These changes to diet may have a long term benefit to an individual's health.

The researchers examined other acne studies which have been recently published that included one which looked at how acne risk was reduced in Italian adolescents and young adults who had lower Body Mass Index. Additionally, another study reported a lower BMI has been associated with lower acne prevalence in Taiwanese boys and girls. While observed an association between increased BMI and acne in female Norwegian adolescents.

Furthermore, British male soldiers, older than 20 years with acne, have been reported to be heavier than those with-out acne. Other researchers recently provided evidence that young Italian males affected with acne had a high BMI and also exhibited insulin resistance, which an early sign of Type 2 diabetes. Therefore is substantial and growing body of worldwide evidence, which appears to support the positive correlation between acne and the body mass index.

It has been well recognised that a high BMI is a major factor of the metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is associated with insulin resistance and represents the symptoms of the metabolic diseases, which are prevalent in the Western World. This German research concludes, by suggesting that acne too, belongs to the family of diseases of Western civilisation like obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

REFERENCE: Melnik, Bodo C. (2013). Acne: risk indicator for increased body mass index and insulin resistance. Acta Derm Venereol, 93(6), 644-9

Alec Thomson is a nutritional physiologist and health writer with more than 15 years experience. He is a contributing editor at, a website dedicated to acne prevention, and a consultant spokesman for IDP, a unique bio-protein complex from New Zealand dairy proteins. For More Information: Go to for general information and applications of IDP in managing acne.

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