3 Types of Food That Cause Acne

A common skin condition that causes inflamed bumps, spots, pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads, acne affects up to 10% of the world’s population. There are many treatment options available for acne; this skin condition can, however, be stubborn and persist for a long time. If you or a loved one is dealing with this annoying skin issue, keep reading for more information. Here, we discuss the top foods that cause acne and also talk about anti-acne foods that can help combat this skin disorder naturally.

What Are Some Foods That Cause Acne?

Dairy food that cause acne

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Acne is usually caused by excess oil production by the sebaceous glands in the skin that can lead to clogged pores, causing break-outs. Genetics, hormones, stress, etc. are known triggers that cause acne. Researchers have now identified a strong link between diet and acne, so what you eat impacts your skin, especially if you’re acne-prone. Scroll down below to learn the top inflammatory foods that cause acne.

Sugar and Refined Grains

A diet rich in refined carbohydrates and sugars is linked to greater inflammation, which can trigger acne in individuals prone to this problem. Foods made from refined flour like white bread, cereal, pasta, deserts, and soda spike up your insulin levels, leading to hormonal imbalances, activating sebaceous glands. As sebaceous glands produce more oily secretions, your skin breaks out into acne.

Dairy Products 

The Nestle Nutrition Workshop Series Pediatric Program conducted a study in 2011 that determined that in industrialized countries, dairy consumption past infancy contributes to acne later in life. Dairy stimulates the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) and boosts enzymatic activity of mTORC1, both of which contribute to the development of acne and other inflammatory diseases.

Processed Foods

Increased consumption of processed foods like burgers, fries, chips, nuggets, hot dogs, milkshakes, etc. are among the top foods that cause acne. Researchers are yet to find an exact link between fast food and acne; processed food contains a significant amount of refined grains, dairy, and chemical ingredients all of which can trigger acne. Eating excessive fast food leads to hormonal imbalances, which can result in acne.

Does Chocolate Cause Acne?

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If you have acne-prone skin and love chocolates, this may be an intense question raging in your mind. However, most dermatologists and researchers agree that there’s no conclusive evidence linking chocolate directly to acne. That being said, certain ingredients in chocolate, including sugar and dairy, can aggravate existing acne and pimples. Sugar leads to insulin spikes and increased production of androgens, which results in increased sebum production, causing acne and pimples.

face-mask for acne

So, the next question is: what about the cocoa found in chocolate? With all the hype around the anti-inflammatory properties of dark chocolate, you’d wonder if eating dark chocolate with less sugar and dairy can cut the risk of acne. Well, researchers and dermatologist are divided on this as well.

Some studies suggest that the fatty ingredients in dark chocolate can actually trigger acne. However, most experts agree that more detailed research and studies are required to establish a clear link between chocolate and acne. After all, dark chocolate also contains dairy, even if there’s less than in milk chocolate. You can also try making your own hot chocolate with coconut milk or another dairy substitute and an artificial sweetener.

face-mask for acne

Ultimately, the best thing to do is keep a food journal will help you identify your trigger foods, and if chocolate is among them, you’ll unfortunately have to forgo this particular treat to prevent acne flare-up.

What Foods Help Heal Acne

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We’ve talked about foods that cause acne; now let’s focus on nutrient-rich, antioxidant-loaded food sources that can actually heal or prevent acne. Keep reading to know the top foods that can help combat this common yet distressing skin condition.


A bright yellow spice native to Asia, turmeric contains a powerful polyphenol, curcumin, which has strong antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial properties. Consuming turmeric in your daily diet has an anti-inflammatory effect on your body and can help reduce acne.

Fatty Fish

Eating fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines a couple of times a week is beneficial for your overall health and skin in particular. These fatty fish are rich in the Omega-3 fatty acids that promote the growth of healthy skin cells, improving the overall texture and appearance of complexion. Fatty fish is also rich in those antioxidants that prevent free radical damage and reduce inflammation on the skin. Reduced inflammation combined with an anti-oxidant boost can significantly reduce acne and pimples.

Probiotic Foods

There is increasingly evidence between a healthy gut and good skin. Probiotic-rich foods like miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi contain beneficial bacteria that can not only improve digestion, but also block sebum production and reduce inflammation, reducing acne and pimples.


Acne is a stubborn skin condition that can wreak havoc with your skin and dent your self-confidence. As credible research points to a connection between an unhealthy diet, rich in refined grains, sugar, and saturated fats to acne, it is evident that what you eat has a huge impact on your skin.

Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder which can be managed with a combination of medication and a healthy diet. If you’re prone to acne, it’s important to monitor the foods that may be triggering a flare-up. Loading up on nutrient-dense food, rich in plants, veggies, whole grains, and lean protein is a great way to combat the overall inflammatory response of the body, which can improve your skin, reducing acne, pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. Managing your stress is also an important factor in controlling acne flare-ups.

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