Types of Food That Cause Acne


Although the correlation between diet and acne is still being researched, studies show connections between certain triggering foods and acne flare-ups. Diet may be a key player in both resolving and worsening symptoms.

Foods containing high amounts of sugar are among the worst for your complexion.

(Lilly Wallace)

DairyA study from the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that dairy products, and in particular skim milk, may trigger acne breakouts. While more rigorously collected data is needed to confirm the correlation, evidence shows that certain dairy products may aggravate acne because of their hormone and bioactive molecule content.

Cows receive hormones to increase milk production, and residues of those hormones pass to humans in the milk. This can cause an increase of sebum (oil) production, which clogs pores and allows bacteria to grow on the skin, leading to skin inflammation and acne breakouts.

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If you suspect dairy as the trigger for your acne flare-ups, consider switching from cow's milk to nut milk.

Lilly Wallace

SugarSugar is justifiably considered the cause of many food-related health problems, and it is also considered a possible trigger for acne flare-ups. Eating sugar causes the level of blood sugar to rise, and that stimulates the production of the hormone insulin. Constant spikes of insulin in the blood can lead to insulin-resistance, which enhances sebum production and the development of acne symptoms.

Instead of sweetening your coffee with refined sugar, switch to raw honey or coconut sugar.

Lilly Wallace

Foods With High Glycemic IndexThe glycemic index indicates how fast a carbohydrate enters the bloodstream. A studysuggests that a low glycemic load diet may improve not only the symptoms of acne vulgaris, but also the insulin sensitivity of the patient. Eating foods with a high glycemic index, such as refined carbs like pasta, cause a spike in blood sugar, which leads to excess insulin generation and consequently, to inflammation.

Pasta, white bread and potatoes are among the foods with the highest glycemic index.

Lilly Wallace

A Few Tips

  • Keep a food diary and document any acne flare-ups to investigate whether there’s a correlation between certain foods you eat and flare-ups you experience.
    • Supplement your diet with healthy fats, like fish oil, because of their anti-inflammatory properties. A study suggests that fish oil supplementation may improve acne severity.
    • Take probiotics. According to the Gut-Brain-Skin Theory, which has recently been supported by some evidence, probiotics influence systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, glycaemic control, tissue lipid content and even mood. *Follow a low glycemic load diet.
A low glycemic load diet may help reduce or even eliminate your acne symptoms.

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