The Paleo (Paleolithic) Diet is designed around the types of food that were most likely consumed by ancient hunter gatherer peoples. The core concept of the Paleo Diet is that for the bulk of human evolution, our diet consisted of meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, tubers and unprocessed grains. Therefore, our bodies and metabolic systems have evolved to work best when we consume these foods. The Paleo Diet restricts all processed foods, especially sugar, and it is very low in simple carbohydrates.
Many individuals have found that switching to a Paleo Diet (and other diets that minimize consumption of processed foods) helped to improve their acne symptoms. There are several possible reasons why this may be true. First, high intake of sugar and simple carbohydrates may alter the balance of hormones (eg. Insulin Growth Factor 1, IGF-1) that have an impact on acne symptoms. Second, some people may have food-specific allergies that contribute to acne symptoms, and these foods are often excluded in restrictive diet. Third, a well-balanced and healthy diet can improve overall immune function, which can help control acne symptoms.
There has been little clinical research into whether switching to a Paleo Diet is an effective treatment for acne. However, any dietary changes that reduce the consumption of processed foods and sugar, while increasing consumption of vegetables, lean meats and fruits, are likely to have a positive effect on overall health. For many acne sufferers, improving dietary choices is likely to be at least somewhat beneficial.
Acne vulgaris: a disease of Western civilization. Cordain, et al. 2002.
The role of diet in acne and rosacea. Keri, et al. 2008.
Linking diet to acne metabolomics, inflammation, and comedogenesis: an update. Melnik, et al. 2015.
Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. Cordain, et al. 2005.