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Why Dermatologists Still Deny the Link Between Acne and Diet

Thursday, July 10, 2008 by: Seppo Puusa
Tags: acne, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Almost every dermatologist will tell you that diet has nothing to do with acne. With fervor, many of them argue this and you know they really believe it. In a world of 'evidence based medicine' you would think dermatologists would have strong scientific evidence backing it up.

It turns out that the notion 'diet has nothing to do with acne' is just about as scientific as the notion 'the world is flat'. In other words, it's pure dogma with no credible scientific backing.

Let's take a look at how and why this started.

The two flawed studies that started it all

In the fifties and sixties, dermatologists advised their patients about diet and its role in acne. Two studies conducted in the late sixties and early seventies changed that.

Later those two studies came under heavy fire. They were so flawed that they would earn a high school science student an F.

For example, one study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine looked into the link between chocolate and acne. First, the study was funded by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. Second, the study compared two candy bars; both equally high in sugar, calories and trans fats, but the other had some chocolate in it. This is comparing sugar to sugar. The sugar and trans fats have much more of an effect on acne than the small quantity of chocolate in the other bar. No wonder the study concluded chocolate does not cause acne.

The other one was an equally flawed study about sugar and acne. The sample size was small, and it didn't consider the glycemic effect of processed carbohydrates. Again this study proved nothing.

Despite the flaws and scientific invalidity, the results of these two studies stuck. Since then medical students have been taught there's no scientific link between diet and acne.

In Western society, we hold doctors in high-esteem. We trust them to know and give us advice that is based on scientific evidence. After all, Western medicine goes all hoopla about science and how it's evidence based.

Doctors and patients are equally ignorant about nutrition

But when it comes to diet and nutrition this is almost never the case. Here's a quote from a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

"Patients may rely on physicians to provide them with nutrition information. And physicians should be more knowledgeable about nutrition than their patients, but these results suggest that this is not necessarily true."

K Lazarus, RL Weinsier, and JR Boker

Nutrition knowledge and practices of physicians in a family-practice residency program: the effect of an education program provided by a physician nutrition specialist

The study found you are not much better off getting nutritional guidance from a doctor than you are from the average McDonald's patron.

Until 2002 those two were the only published studies on diet and acne.

The acne diet dogma - just one among many

As you can see, the notion diet has nothing to do with acne is not based on science. It's a dogma.
Unfortunately the medical community is almost as dogmatic as the Catholic Church was in the middle ages.

"Dover tells the story of an early 1970s paper stating ultraviolet light doesn't improve acne, a belief that held for decades." "It turns out that the paper was wrong," he says. "This is an example of dogma getting in the way of progress in science and medicine. It happens all the time. Someone really important proves something and says this is the way it is, and everybody else stops thinking. It takes about 30 years, usually a generation, until someone says, 'Wait, this can't be true.'"

A Clear Connection? Most dermatologists tell their patients diet plays no role in acne. New research suggests that's wrong.

New studies link diet and acne

Luckily for acne victims the tide is turning. In recent years, a few well controlled studies have pointed towards a link between diet and acne.

One study found a correlation between dairy and acne. Another one looked into and found that foods high on the glycemic index increase acne. Finally one population-based study found acne is mainly a disease of the Western civilization. The study concluded the most likely explanation is a Western diet high in sugar, fat and processed foods.

Still, don't expect your dermatologist to start giving you dietary advice anytime soon. The official party line remains -- there is no link between diet and acne.

Dermatologists play it safe when they say food doesn't cause acne

"Dr. Jack Krushell, chief of dermatology at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, says the food hypothesis is intriguing but "I still kind of follow the party line, which is that food doesn't seem to be a cause of acne.""

A Clear Connection? Most dermatologists tell their patients diet plays no role in acne. New research suggests that's wrong.

For most dermatologists, who are swamped with patients and can't keep up with the latest journals, following the party line is a safe and easy solution. For better or worse the medical community is conservative and slow to change. Going against the grain can kill your career.

Health is a holistic system

To make things worse the medical community likes simple and linear solutions. Such as, bacteria cause acne; kill the bacteria and you can cure acne.

Unfortunately things work differently in nature.

Health, and by extension clear skin, is a holistic system. Meaning one part (such as diet or sleep) affects and is affected by every other part. In such a system, you cannot pull out one part and say "this is it. This is the cause".

In a weird way dermatologists are right in some regards. Diet is a big part of the equation that leads to acne (or clear skin), but it's not the only part. And to say diet causes acne is wrong.

Your skin is a part of your body. Anything that affects the health of your body also affects the health of your skin. Therefore to find the cause (or cure) for acne, you have to take a holistic perspective and look at your entire lifestyle.

So the next time a dermatologist tells you that you can eat whatever you want, or that acne cannot be cured, don't take it to the bank. Those two notions are not based on science. They are dogmas that the dermatologists have been taught at medical school.

Get a second opinion. Preferably from someone outside the traditional medical community.

Curing acne is simple

Acne can be cured with diet and lifestyle changes. Millions of people have done it. You can do it too.

There's nothing strange or mysterious about curing acne. It is as simple and straightforward as losing weight.

One of the first things you probably 'learned' about acne is that it cannot be cured. You bought into that belief and it has kept you from finding solutions that can really help.

Get rid of that belief and open your eyes. You'll see the road to clear skin is both simple and painfully obvious.

About the author

Seppo Puusa is the author of the best-selling acne book Clear for Life: Lifestyle for Health, Happiness and Clear Skin. The book gives a whole new perspective on acne, so it will finally make sense.
Clear for Life shows how the small, everyday choices you make today affect the way your skin looks tomorrow. By consistently making the right choices you engage the body's self-healing powers that can reverse the conditions behind acne. And overtime, acne just fades away.
Clear for Life is not a quick fix, or even a 30-day miracle, but for people who are willing to take responsibility for their own future it offers a simple, clear and makes-sense-in-your-gut solution to permanently clear skin.
To learn more about Clear for Life, please visit: http://www.clear-for-life.com.
Seppo also has other websites, such as Proactiv Solution Info Center with hype free reviews and information about Proactiv, and Exposed Acne Treatment site at ExposedAcneTreatmentInfo.com.

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