(HealthDay News) – Family history, body mass index, and diet are all linked to the risk of moderate-to-severe acne in young adults, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Anna Di Landro, MD, from the Centro Studi Gruppo Italiano Studi Epidemiologici in Dermatologia in Bergamo, Italy, and colleagues examined the impact of family history, personal habits, dietary factors, and menstrual history on a new diagnosis of acne among individuals aged 10–24 years. Two hundred and five patients with moderate-to-severe acne from dermatologic outpatient clinics were compared with 358 controls with no or mild acne who came for a dermatological consultation unrelated to acne.

The researchers found that the odds of moderate-to-severe acne were significantly increased with a family history of acne in a first-degree relative (odds ratio, 3.41). There was a reduced risk observed for those with lower body mass index, which was more pronounced in males than females. No correlation was seen with smoking or with menstrual variables. Participants with increased milk consumption (more than three portions per week) had an increased risk (odds ratio, 1.78); the correlation was stronger for skim versus whole milk. Consumption of fish had a protective effect (odds ratio, 0.68).

“In conclusion, our study confirms the important role of a family history on the risk of moderate-to-severe acne, and suggests that lower body mass index values, especially in boys and men, may have a protective effect,” the authors write. “The influence of environmental and dietetic factors in acne that develops in adolescents should be further explored.”

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