Mediterranean Diet Adherence Not a Factor in Diagnosis or Severity of Acne: Study

March 15, 2024

Family history played a significant role in the diagnosis and severity of acne, researchers found.

Results from a new analysis in the Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition failed to show a link between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and an impact on acne severity or diagnosis. 

"Western diets, characterized by a high glycemic index and dairy content, can be risk factors for acne vulgaris," the authors wrote in the study. "A few studies have suggested that adherence to non-Western diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, may be protective against acne. This study aimed to explore the relationships between adherence to the MD and acne diagnosis and severity.

The matched case‒control study included 121 cases and 121 controls, individually matched for age, gender, and body mass index (BMI). The researchers assessed adherence to the Mediterranean diet using the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS). Acne severity was evaluated using the Global Acne Grading System (GAGS).

According to the results, both cases and controls displayed a predominantly low adherence to the Mediterranean diet. While family history of acne showed a significant difference between the two groups, adherence to the Mediterranean diet did not reach statistical significance in the bivariate analysis. Regression analysis confirmed that family history remained significant, while adherence to the Mediterranean diet did not show a significant association with acne diagnosis or severity. In the case group, adherence to the Mediterranean diet or its components (with the exception of vegetables), did not show significant associations with acne severity.

"More research on the association between acne and adherence to the Mediterranean diet is needed, as earlier studies are few, were conducted in specific settings, and used variable methodologies," the authors concluded. "To improve the validity and reliability of the research methodology, the development of detailed and culturally adapted MD definitions and practical guides is recommended."

Source: Taha S, Muna Shakhshir, Zyoud SH. Acne Vulgaris and adherence to the Mediterranean diet among university students: a case‒control study. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition. 2024;43(1). doi:

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