Diet can affect skin conditions including acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea. In a review that focuses on these four conditions, plus aging, Rajani Katta, M.D., and Mary Jo Kramer, B.S., writing in Skin Therapy Letter, highlight trigger foods that should be avoided.
Clinical trials have established an association between high-glycemic-load diets and acne. One randomized clinical trial showed that after 12 weeks on a low glycemic load diet, patients experienced a significant improvement after 12 weeks. Researchers say that the diet may have lowered androgen bioavailability, altered skin sebum production, decreased skin inflammation and reduced sebaceous gland size.
The authors write that a diet high in advanced glycation end products (known as AGEs), which are found in deep-fried foods, can promote the loss of elasticity in skin.
The consumption of six common foods are milk, eggs, wheat, soy, seafood, and nuts may trigger a flare within minutes to hours.
Gluten-containing foods may act as a trigger for some patients. Gluten-containing foods may trigger flares in some patients, but not all. Celiac disease testing is recommended for psoriasis patients with gastrointestinal symptoms. While estimates vary, one large study found a 2.2 fold higher risk of celiac disease in psoriasis patients. The is little evidence that connects certain food types with psoriasis flares, but one observational study suggested benefits from consuming the Mediterranean diet.
The evidence is sparse in this area, but surveys of patients suggest that some spices and hot sauce can trigger foods as well as tomatoes (30%), chocolate (23%), and citrus (22%). Alcohol was another frequent trigger, including wine (52%) and hard liquor (42%), as well as hot beverages such as coffee (33%) and tea (30%).
Katta R, Kramer MJ. “Skin and Diet: An Update on the Role of Dietary Change as a Treatment Strategy for Skin Disease.” Skin Therapy Letter. 2018 Jan;23(1):1-5.