Overweight teen girls are more likely to develop acne problems than their slimmer peers, but the same link doesn’t hold true for adolescent boys, a new study shows.
Researchers at Oslo University Hospital and the University of Oslo surveyed about 3,600 Norwegians -- aged 18 and 19 – and found nearly one in five of obese or overweight girls had acne problems, compared to just 13 percent of all girls.
Among boys, the Norwegian team found about 13.6 percent had acne, regardless of their weight.
Researchers, led by Dr. Jon Anders Halvorsen, said other factors could not account for the differences in their findings, reported in the journal Archives of Dermatology.
Teens were surveyed about their weight and height, whether or not they had pimples, their drinking or smoking habits, history of mental distress and diet -- especially concerning sugar, sweets, chocolate, vegetables and fatty foods. About 9.5 percent of the girls and 15.4 percent of the boys were overweight.
"This study demonstrates that overweight and obesity are associated with acne in girls aged 18 and 19, but the same association was not observed in boys," the authors wrote.
About 10 percent and 20 percent of teens struggle with moderate to severe acne that can lead to psychosocial problems, the researchers noted.
“There is a growing interest in possible links between diet, lifestyle, and acne,” the authors said. “However, possible relationships remain controversial. On the other hand, the number of overweight children and adolescents is increasing. The aim of the present study was to demonstrate a possible relationship between body mass index (BMI) and acne in adolescents.”
Acne occurs when pores on the surface of the skin become clogged. It is most common in teenagers, but it can happen at any age. Three-quarters of teenagers have some acne. Treatment typically involves cleaning the skin with a mild, nondrying soap to remove oils, dirt and make-up. Over-the-counter and prescription medicines are also available.