Food & Nutrition

Does Diet Affect Acne? A Complete Review

Acne is a skin issue that can make a few kinds of bumps to form on the surface of the skin. These bumps can shape anywhere on the body yet are generally common on the face. Itโ€™s a typical skin condition that influences almost 10% of the total population.

Numerous components involved in acne development, including sebum and keratin production, acne-causing bacteria, hormones, blocked pores, and inflammation.

The connection between diet and acne isnโ€™t clear yet, however, ongoing studies prove that diet can play a significant role in acne development.

Foods that cause acne:

There are certain foods that can raise blood glucose levels. When blood glucose rises rapidly, it makes the body discharge a hormone called insulin. Having excess insulin in the blood can cause oil glands to produce more oil, increasing the risks of acne.

Some foods that trigger spikes in insulin are as follows:

  • Sugars & refined grains: Foods like refined cereals (pasta, rice) or white sugars (sodas, tetra pack juices, honey) can be absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, raising glucose levels. The increase in insulin levels additionally pushes the excess glucose into cells, which in turn causes acne.
  • Dairy Products: A study indicated that consumption of low fat and skimmed milk led to an increase in acne. So avoid dairy if itโ€™s causing acne.
  • Fast Food: People who consume high amounts of fast food like burgers and fries are known to encounter acne.
  • Chocolate: One study found that eating chocolate increased the reactivity of the immune system to acne-causing bacteria which ultimately helps in the development of acne.
  • Fatty Food: Fried foods like nuggets and burgers that have a lot of oil, which can lead to an outbreak of pimples.
  • Lean Meat and Animal Protein: Some individuals experience acne along the jawline and the neck, due to an excessive intake of meats like chicken and mutton.
Anti-Acne Diet:

Just as there are foods to be avoided to prevent acne, there are some that can be taken to have clear skin. Some of these are:

  • Complex Carbohydrates: These are found in whole grains like whole-wheat bread, and brown rice; raw fruits and vegetables, red and yellow peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, spinach, and apricots; and legumes & beans.
  • Vitamins A, D, and E: A study found that those lacking Vitamin A and E showed increased acne. Liver, cream, butter, eggs, etc. are rich in Vitamin A. Nuts like almonds, peanuts and broccoli are rich in Vitamin E.
  • Probiotics: A healthy gut assists to reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the presence of acne. Probiotic supplements can help. Yogurt, buttermilk, etc. are probiotic-rich foods.
  • Turmeric: It contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant that is known to reduce inflammation. It can control blood glucose levels, and reduce the occurrence of acne-causing bacteria.
  • Zinc: Chickpeas, beans, seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds, meat, and fish are good sources of zinc. People with low levels of zinc in their bodies may be more prone to acne.
  • Anti-inflammatory diets:ย A diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been linked to reduced acne severity.
  • Green tea: Green tea contains polyphenols that are related to reduced inflammation and lowered sebum production.

In a nutshell, overall dietary patterns are likely to have a larger impact on skin health. It is probably not necessary to completely avoid all the foods that have been linked to acne but rather consume balanced diet. Meanwhile, it’s going to be helpful to stay a food log to seem for patterns between the foods you’re eating and therefore the health of your skin. Personalized advice from a dietitian should also be taken.


Ms. Siddiqui is a dietitian by profession. She is likewise a content creator and writer & enamored with expounding on nourishment, health and well-being in her spare time.


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