• Heart Failure
  • Cardiovascular Clinical Consult
  • Adult Immunization
  • Hepatic Disease
  • Rare Disorders
  • Pediatric Immunization
  • Implementing The Topcon Ocular Telehealth Platform
  • Weight Management
  • Monkeypox
  • Guidelines
  • Men's Health
  • Psychiatry
  • Allergy
  • Nutrition
  • Women's Health
  • Cardiology
  • Substance Use
  • Pediatrics
  • Kidney Disease
  • Genetics
  • Complimentary & Alternative Medicine
  • Dermatology
  • Endocrinology
  • Oral Medicine
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Diseases
  • Pain
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
  • Geriatrics
  • Infection
  • Musculoskeletal Disorders
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatology
  • Technology
  • Cancer
  • Nephrology
  • Anemia
  • Neurology
  • Pulmonology

Does Obesity Cause Acne? New Study, Surprising Results


In a new study of >600 000 Israeli adolescents, researchers found an inverse relationship between body mass index and acne. 

Severely obese adolescents have 50% decreased odds of acne vs adolescents who are normal weight, according to a recent study published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Acne vulgaris affects >85% of adolescents and young adults in the Western world, but the association between body mass index (BMI) and acne is unclear.

“Studies evaluating the risk of acne in overweight and obese adolescents have yielded conflicting results,” wrote Igor Snast, MD, Department of Dermatology, Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Hospital, Petach Tikva, Israel, and colleagues. “In some studies, overweight and obesity conferred an increased risk of childhood and adult acne, and in others, it had a protective effect.”

Developing countries have also seen a rising interest in the BMI-acne association due to dramatic increases in adolescent obesity rates.

RELATED: Obesity May Be Associated with Abnormal Bowel Habits

To determine the nature of this association, researchers in Israel conducted a nationwide, population-based, cross-sectional study based on medical data for >600 000 Israeli youths on compulsory army service between 2002 and 2015.

A total of 299 163 men and 301 241 women were enrolled in the study with a mean age of 18.9 years and 18.7 years, respectively at recruitment. Acne was diagnosed by a dermatologist in approximately 18% of men and 16% of women.

The majority of participants completed full military service (>88%), were born in Israel (>82%), and completed high school (>95%).

Stay in touch with Patient Care® Online:
→Subscribe to ourNewsletter →Like us on Facebook →Follow us on Twitter →Write or Blog for Patient Care® Online

In the male cohort, 13.9% were overweight (BMI, 22-27.49 kg/m2) and 5.1% were obese (BMI, 27.5-32.49 kg/m2) or severely obese (BMI ≥35 kg/m2). In the female cohort, 12.6% were overweight and 4.3% were obese or severely obese.

Inverse relationship between acne and BMI

The results showed, “in youths, overweight and obesity are inversely associated with acne in a dose-dependent manner,” authors wrote.

Adolescents of both sexes who were overweight, obese, and severely obese had 20%, 35%, and 50% decreased odds, respectively, of having acne vs those with a normal BMI.

The proportion of adolescents with acne decreased as BMI increased, starting with approximately 20% of men in the underweight group having acne vs ~14% of men who were severely obese and ~17% of women in the low-normal group having acne vs ~11% of severely obese women.

For each 1-unit increase in BMI, the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) of acne decreased by 3.2% (95% CI, 2.9%-3.5%) in men and 2.6% (95% CI, 2.3%-3%) in women.

The results were similar to the unadjusted analysis findings, which showed the lowest odds of acne in severely obese adolescents (aOR for men, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.42-0.64; aOR for women, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.37-0.62).

Authors noted that the study lacked information on acne severity and on factors potentially confounding the BMI-acne relationship. 

The inverse relationship between BMI and acne implies, “that metabolically active adipose tissue plays a protective role in acne,” researchers concluded.

To validate these results, further studies are needed that examine key variables in the BMI-acne association.

Related Videos
New Research Amplifies Impact of Social Determinants of Health on Cardiometabolic Measures Over Time
Overweight and Obesity: One Expert's 3 Wishes for the Future of Patient Care
Donna H Ryan, MD Obesity Expert Highlights 2021 Research Success and Looks to 2022 and Beyond
"Obesity is a Medically Approachable Problem" and Other Lessons with Lee Kaplan, MD, PhD
Related Content
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.