Women who suffer from severe acne problems may benefit from a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and fish, a new study suggests.
Researchers from the Group for Epidemiologic Research in Dermatology (GISED) in Italy sought out to discover the contributing factors behind the development of acne in women over 25 years old.
Acne In Adult Women
A vast majority of teenagers go on to develop acne on their skin. This is because their sebaceous glands produce more amounts of oil during this stage, causing their pores to be clogged more often.
Acne isn't considered a serious problem, though it could lead to permanent scarring of the skin.
Dr. Luigi Naldi, a skin expert from the GISED's Study Center and lead author of the study, said that the good news for acne sufferers is that they could see their skin begin to clear up by the time they reached 20 years old.
However, about 20 to 40 percent of adults still tend to have breakouts on their skin.
Women are believed to be more susceptible to this than men because they often experience hormonal imbalances. They may develop acne just before their menstrual period, or when they start or stop taking birth control pills.
Skin experts are still trying to determine why some women still get acne, while others seem unaffected by this problem.
To find out the underlying factors behind adult acne in women, Naldi and his colleagues surveyed more than 500 women from 12 different Italian cities: 248 of the participants were diagnosed with acne, while 270 of them had other conditions. The latter group served as the study's control.
The researchers found that several lifestyle factors can contribute to the development of acne in adult women.
Participants who tend to eat fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables on more than four days of the week are less likely to develop acne on their skin compared to those who seldom eat these types of food.
Dermatologists are still uncertain whether eating fruits and vegetables can prevent the formation of acne. Some believe women who have diets that lack these healthy options tend to consume food that can easily increase their blood sugar levels instead.
Acne development was also seen in women who had high stress levels. Participants who experienced "high" or "very high" levels of stress during the study had a threefold greater susceptibility to the skin condition compared to those who were less stressed out.
The researchers also found that women, who have parents or siblings that had adult acne before, had a higher likelihood to develop the skin condition as well.
Participants who had never been pregnant or those who have hirsutism, or hair growth on their face or body similar to that of men, also had a similarly high risk to acne.
Dr. Debra Jaliman, a dermatology professor at Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine, explained that those latter observations may be connected to the polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal condition known to cause acne, hirsutism, and problems with fertility among women.
While the study doesn't prove that eating more fish, fruits, and vegetables, or lowering stress levels can help clear people's acne, experts believe having a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet can still help.
The findings of the GISED study are featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.