Research article

BMC Dermatology

, 12:13

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

High glycemic load diet, milk and ice cream consumption are related to acne vulgaris in Malaysian young adults: a case control study

  • Noor Hasnani IsmailAffiliated withDietetic Program, School of Healthcare Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • , Zahara Abdul ManafAffiliated withDietetic Program, School of Healthcare Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Email author 
  • , Noor Zalmy AzizanAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, Hospital Kuala Lumpur



The role of dietary factors in the pathophysiology of acne vulgaris is highly controversial. Hence, the aim of this study was to determine the association between dietary factors and acne vulgaris among Malaysian young adults.


A case–control study was conducted among 44 acne vulgaris patients and 44 controls aged 18 to 30 years from October 2010 to January 2011. Comprehensive acne severity scale (CASS) was used to determine acne severity. A questionnaire comprising items enquiring into the respondent’s family history and dietary patterns was distributed. Subjects were asked to record their food intake on two weekdays and one day on a weekend in a three day food diary. Anthropometric measurements including body weight, height and body fat percentage were taken. Acne severity was assessed by a dermatologist.


Cases had a significantly higher dietary glycemic load (175 ± 35) compared to controls (122 ± 28) (p < 0.001). The frequency of milk (p < 0.01) and ice-cream (p < 0.01) consumptions was significantly higher in cases compared to controls. Females in the case group had a higher daily energy intake compared to their counterparts in the control group, 1812 ± 331 and 1590 ± 148 kcal respectively (p < 0.05). No significant difference was found in other nutrient intakes, Body Mass Index, and body fat percentage between case and control groups (p > 0.05).


Glycemic load diet and frequencies of milk and ice cream intake were positively associated with acne vulgaris.


Acne vulgaris Diet Glycemic index Young adults Dairy products