Study Links Antioxidant-Rich Diets to Improved Quality of Life in Young Women Battling Acne

by Ella

Acne Vulgaris (AV), a persistent skin condition primarily affecting adolescents but often extending into adulthood, burdens approximately 9% of the global population. Characterized by pustules, papules, nodules, and scars, acne’s physical manifestation often undermines mental health and overall Quality of Life (QoL). Thus, a comprehensive approach to address acne’s physiological and psychological toll is imperative.


Research has pinpointed various factors contributing to acne, including age, sedentary lifestyle, gender, and diet. Hormonal imbalances, inflammation, environmental influences, and genetic predispositions further exacerbate the condition’s complexity. Studies have shown that diets rich in antioxidants, such as those found in vegetarian and Mediterranean diets, prebiotics, probiotics, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, and low glycemic index foods, may mitigate acne lesions. Conversely, diets abundant in ultra-processed foods, high sugar content, saturated fats, and dairy may exacerbate acne. However, further investigation is warranted to elucidate the precise role of diet in acne manifestation.


Oxidative stress emerges as a pivotal factor in acne pathogenesis. While reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a crucial role in immune function, their excessive production can induce cellular damage, precipitating skin ailments. Dietary antioxidants, encompassing vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols, serve as pivotal mitigators of oxidative stress.


The recent study scrutinized the correlation between Dietary Antioxidant Quality Index (DAQI) and QoL among young women grappling with AV. A cohort of 165 women aged 18 to 35, all adhering to a daily caloric intake of 500-5000 kcal, constituted the study population.


Baseline data collection encompassed sociodemographic, lifestyle, and acne-related information. Parameters such as height, education, marital status, body weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, and physical activity levels were meticulously documented. Dietary intake was assessed through a randomized three-day food diary, capturing details of food consumption, caloric intake, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other dietary nutrients.

The DAQI scale evaluated dietary components including vitamin C, vitamin E, β-carotene, copper, manganese, iron, zinc, selenium, dietary antioxidant capacity, phytosterols, lignans, and polyphenols. Additionally, antioxidant enzyme components like superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and catalase were assessed.

Findings revealed a mean participant age of 23.6 years, with 88% single and 65% possessing a middle level of education. Over half of the cohort battled AV for two to five years, with 9% grappling with severe acne. AV exerted a moderate impact on QoL, with approximately 33% exhibiting signs of depression.

Noteworthy lifestyle factors included moderate physical activity, occasional alcohol consumption, and average BMI among many participants. However, a significant subset displayed low physical activity levels, obesity, smoking habits, and weekly alcohol consumption. Importantly, dietary antioxidant levels often fell below recommended thresholds.

Dietary choices wield substantial influence over AV manifestation through modulation of gut microbiota, hormonal regulation, immune response, and carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Countries favoring antioxidant-rich diets demonstrated lower AV prevalence compared to those endorsing Western dietary norms.

Participants with higher DAQI scores exhibited healthier lifestyles, characterized by non-smoking habits, lower BMI, and moderate physical activity levels. Elevated DAQI scores correlated with a 30-33% reduction in AV risk and enhanced QoL.

In conclusion, adherence to antioxidant-rich diets attenuates AV risk and ameliorates associated depressive symptoms among afflicted individuals. The DAQI emerges as a promising dietary quality indicator for AV patients, warranting further exploration in clinical practice.


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