Does being overweight increase the chances of having acne?


According to a study conducted in Norway, obese girls in their late teens are twice as likely to have moderate acne compared to healthy individuals.  What is interesting is that this link was only seen in females and not in males.  The study conducted involved around 3,500 teens between the ages of 18-19 taking a survey about their health, which included weight and acne.  BMI was then used to categorize the participants into different weight categories, in which 10% of females and 15% of males were categorized as obese.  When asked about their acne, 19% of obese females claimed to having to deal with a lot of acne recently, meanwhile, only 13% of normal weight females had the same claim. For males, 14% struggled of acne across the board, and there was no connection with weight.

Historically, researchers believe that 10-20% of teens experience at least moderate acne, which has always been a concern due to the negative social and emotional impact that it can have on a growing teenager.  The researchers that carried out the survey were involved with the Archives of Dermatology.  The findings are a concern for doctors, especially with the ever growing obesity rate.  The explanation for the link between obesity and acne are most likely related to the high blood pressure, changes in insulin and hormones that come with obesity, which also play a factor in acne. Although there is a correlation between weight and acne, it does not prove that one causes the other.

Since the link was only seen in females, it is possible that a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome may be responsible for some of the findings.  Not much is known about polycystic ovary syndrome, but some of the symptoms that may result from it include high levels of male hormones, obesity, and acne.  However, this is only a theory, as it is unknown how many of the participants suffered from the condition.  Another possibility explaining this link could be diet, since obese females reported having a poorer nutritional balance and had a higher rate of consuming junk food.  Although there is no solid evidence pointing to whether certain foods contribute to acne, there have been studies that suggest that diet and insulin levels may affect acne.  Insulin levels are largely affected by the amounts of sugary foods and carbohydrate one consumes and eating too much dessert or white grains, such as white bread and white rice, can cause a spike in these levels, which in turn, may possibly have an impact on acne.  In addition, a long term poor diet has a negative effect on acne and on the body, which is much more crucial for people in their teens.

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