4 Astonishing Foods That Cause Acne

You must have read a lot about foods that cause acne and what is the best diet to follow if you have severe acne. Food and acne are interlinked, hence diet really matters. but Food alone is not the main cause of acne1; your lifestyle, hormones, and genes also play a part in getting acne.

More research into foods that cause acne reveals many details about dealing with this condition. Complementary and integrative health medicines 2can be applied to cure acne.

These treatments include diet, supplements, stress management, and herbal medicine. Consulting a board-certified dermatologist is another way to get your acne treated.

What is Acne?

Acne, also known as acne vulgaris, happens when your hair follicles are clogged with oil and dead skin cells. It is common among teenagers, and it comes in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.

Though acne vulgaris occurs during the onset of puberty and in young adults, other age groups are also prone to it. Acne usually appears on the face, back, and shoulders and causes discomfort.

Young woman with acne touching face and looking at camera
Source: Depositphotos

As per an estimation, 9.4 % population in the world has acne problems which makes it the eighth most prevalent disease in the world.

Acne usually goes away by your thirties, but it can also go beyond that if you are not careful about what you eat and your lifestyle.

Some foods cause acne; consuming certain types of food in excess can make you prone to acne and worsen acne if you already have it.

Different Types of Acne

There are different types of acne, and they can be classified as:

  1. Blackheads: Sometimes, the clogged follicles that surface on the skin get discolored due to the air, and they look black.
  2. Whiteheads: Clogged hair follicles that stay under the skin and are visible as a bump.
  3. Pimples: Also termed pustules, they are filled with pus and can be read at the base. Hormonal changes are one of the reasons for getting too many pimples.
  4. Papules: These small pink bumps are inflamed and tender.
  5. Nodules: Large and painful nodules are found deep within the skin.
  6. Cystic Acne: This is very painful and is deep and filled with pus.

If you have acne, find out which one of the above you have and get treated accordingly. A board-certified dermatologist will be able to diagnose it properly and guide you on what to do.

What Can Cause Acne?

Many reasons can be attributed to getting acne; some of the main ones could be a growth of bacteria in the pores, excess sebum production in the pores, and dead cells in the pores.

Hormones, medications, genes, family history, and age contribute to developing acne. Studies also point toward other factors that play a part in aggravating acne vulgaris.

There are foods that cause acne, environment, stress, scrubbing the skin too hard, squeezing the pimples, and pressure from backpacks, sports helmets, and tight clothes.

Acne can cause discomfort, embarrassment, and anxiety due to skin inflammation. As we all know, there are foods that can cause acne, sugary foods, sugary drinks, candy bars, etc., along with many other factors.

Is It Necessary to See A Doctor to Cure Acne?

Acne can be managed at home by taking good care of the skin. If your skin texture is dry, vitamin E oil makes it less prone to acne. Vitamin E works well when it comes to reducing acne scars too.

If there is no change in the acne after following a healthy diet, good skincare, and over-the-counter treatments, it would be better to consult a dermatologist.

Untreated acne vulgaris can leave scars on your face. It is better to get it treated early to prevent scarring on the face.

Foods That Cause Acne

There is no exact cause why you get acne. Excess oil, hormones, clogged pores, and an unhealthy diet and lifestyle are some of the known reasons why acne occurs. Let us look at the foods that cause acne vulgaris and how to have a rich intake of food to lessen acne breakouts.

Dairy Products

More research points towards a link between dairy products and acne, making it one of the topmost foods that cause acne.

Though it is still being debated, milk, chocolate, cheeses, and other products related to dairy enhance oil production in the body.3

Too much milk consumption, if you ate chocolate daily, too much milk consumption, and too much ice cream consumption are said to be some of the foods that can cause acne. Dark chocolate is also bad for all those who have acne.

assorted dairy products
Source: Depositphotos

Milk and even skim milk are detrimental if you look to reduce acne. Cut down on drinking more milk if your skin is acne-prone.

Try cutting down on the other dairy products as well, and see if a non-dairy diet affects the oil production in your body in a healthy way. Harvard health publications mentions skim milk being one reason for acne and whey protein.

If you are acne-prone, instead of milk, skim milk, and other types of milk, try drinking cashew milk. It is a good choice for acne-prone skin textures.

Fast Food

The Western diets of burgers, french fries, nuggets, and other fast foods tend to cause acne or increase the existing acne to worsen.

Teenagers and young adults have a penchant for fast foods, and french fries, burgers, nuggets, soda, and milkshakes dominate their foods. Teenage acne is a fast-rising problem globally, thanks to the fast foods they consume.

Image that has fast food like chips, french fries and burgers
Source: Depositphotos

If you want to know some foods that cause acne, fast foods are one. High-fat diets and greasy foods promote oil production in the body and cause skin inflammation.

A diet intake of refined carbs and processed foods are better avoided if you want to prevent acne because they can easily trigger your hormones and cause more acne.

Glycemic Foods

Now we are getting a better idea of whether foods can cause acne. A high glycemic load diet4 (filled with carbohydrates and dairy) can trigger acne and worsen your skin.

A high glycemic load diet menu has white bread, white rice, bagels, pretzels, soft drinks, and other foods. Carbohydrates in glycemic index diets raise blood sugar levels.

Bagels - one of the most unhealthy foods that create acne
Source: Depositphotos

Opt for a low glycemic diet instead of a high glycemic diet, and with these low glycemic foods5, you can see significantly less acne happening and a decrease in blood sugar levels. A low glycemic diet is one of the foods that will help you get rid of the glycemic load.

Replace your glycemic diet with green vegetables and healthy eating habits so that you can manage with less acne medication. You will see a change in the glycemic index in no time, and there will be little or no acne.

Malaysian young adults have a high glycemic load diet with ice cream, skim milk, white bread, etc., which causes high glycemic index and blood sugar spikes.


Research shows anyone with acne should avoid nuts. Not all nuts are bad for acne. It is mainly almonds, walnuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts with Omega-6 fatty acids, which are more harmful than Omega-3 fatty acids.

Assorted dry fruits and nuts that can cause acne
Source: Depositphotos

If you want your skin clear and shining, it is better to reduce the intake of these nuts.

Eating these nuts in moderation will not aggravate your acne condition. See how your skin and hormones react to these nuts, including them in your diet.

What Foods to Include in Your Diet to Prevent Acne Breakouts?

Instead of going for dietary supplements to cure your acne, you can reduce the glycemic load by eliminating the high glycemic foods from your diet and adding certain foods that will take care of the skin and give it a glow.

Please list the foods that can cause acne and eliminate them from your diet plans. You will be able to see some change in the skin texture.

Ginger tea - a super tea that can prevent acne and skin problems to a great extent
Source: Depositphotos

1. Ginger, green tea, flax seeds, and turmeric are good to include in the diet because they have anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger promotes blood circulation, and turmeric and green tea have antioxidants, and they are good additions to your dietary plan.

2. Probiotic-rich foods are good for gut health, and they are not only good for balancing the other hormones in the body but will help reduce acne. Let these food items be included in your diet instead of the foods that cause acne.

3. Vitamins A, D, E, and zinc are good for skin health and are helpful if you have acne. Vitamin e oil is available to buy, and you can apply that on the face. It helps remove the scars.

4. A diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and brown rice is helpful if your skin is acne-prone, and they are a welcome addition once you decide to stay away from the foods that cause acne.

In The End

You must know how to regulate your diet, what to eat, and what not to eat if you want to reduce acne. It is not about the food you eat; it is how the food reacts with your body’s hormones.

Now that you know the foods that cause acne, you can neutralize them with foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.

Salad with flax seeds which are high in omega 3 fatty acids
Source: Depositphotos

The Mayo clinic diseases also give good information on the foods that cause acne and what can be included in your diet to get the glow and shine back on your face. Let the days of shyness, discomfort, and embarrassment be replaced with confidence and sparkle.

If you liked this article, here is something more. 


1. What foods aggravate acne the most?

If you regularly consume foods and beverages like soda, white bread, white rice, and cake, you’re more prone to develop acne. These foods’ sugar and carbs have a tendency to enter your bloodstream very fast. They have a high glycemic index, which measures how nutrients affect blood sugar levels.

2. Can curd contribute to causing acne?

Cow’s milk may raise the likelihood of getting acne, however no research has linked dairy products like yoghurt or cheese to an increase in breakouts.

3. Do I have the risk of getting acne if I consume more of white rice?

The excessive consumption of foods with a high glycemic index is a crucial contributor in either causing or aggravating acne, according to numerous research. Therefore, avoiding sugary foods, foods with a high glycemic index, such as white bread, white pasta, and white rice, as well as other refined carbohydrates, may be good for acne.

  1. Ravisankar, P., et al. “Acne-causes and amazing remedial measures for acne.” J Pharm Res 5 (2015): 209-301. ↩︎
  2. Templeman, Kate, and Anske Robinson. “Integrative medicine models in contemporary primary health care.” Complementary therapies in medicine 19.2 (2011): 84-92. ↩︎
  3. Rahman, M. M., et al. “Oil-rich nonseed tissues for enhancing plant oil production.” CABI Reviews 2016 (2016): 1-11. ↩︎
  4. Chang, Kevin T., et al. “Low glycemic load experimental diet more satiating than high glycemic load diet.” Nutrition and cancer 64.5 (2012): 666-673. ↩︎
  5. Brand, Janette C., et al. “Low-glycemic index foods improve long-term glycemic control in NIDDM.” Diabetes care 14.2 (1991): 95-101. ↩︎

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