June 14, 2024

Pinoy Health Guide

Health Tips

Can Diet Really Affect Acne?

3 min read

Your diet could be to blame for acne. Eating foods rich in vitamins A, C and E is also vital in combatting this skin condition.

Foods high on the glycemic index that raise blood sugar and stimulate hormones that can trigger acne should be avoided, including white breads and pasta, fried potatoes or chips, doughnuts, sodas and sugary snacks.

High-Glycemic Foods

Studies have demonstrated that eating a high-glycemic diet (one rich in refined carbohydrates and sugars) may contribute to acne flare-up. This occurs because these foods cause blood sugar levels to spike rapidly, prompting insulin secretion from cells throughout the body and stimulating production of excess sebum – both leading to inflammation throughout the body and increased breakouts of acne.

Foods with a high glycemic index include white bread, corn flakes, puffed rice, donuts, potato chips and many sugary beverages. Studies have indicated that following a diet high in fresh vegetables, fruits beans and steel cut oats may help decrease acne outbreaks.

Glycemic index can differ based on several factors, including preparation time and length, other foods consumed simultaneously and any dipping activities undertaken; for example dipping bread in olive oil will lower its glycemic index significantly. Glycemic index can also depend on factors like its ripeness and type of fat it contains.


There is some anecdotal evidence linking dairy products, like milk and yogurt, with acne breakouts; however, scientific research remains inconclusive. One meta-analysis of observational studies suggested that high intakes of whole, low-fat and skim milk was associated with an increased risk of acne; however this relationship was stronger when looking at casein than whey intakes.

Cow’s milk contains two proteins; one called whey is thought to increase insulin levels and clog pores; dairy may also trigger hormonal acne due to androgens present, which stimulate sebum production excessively. To determine whether dairy may be contributing to your acne outbreaks, keep a food diary noting when your breakouts happen and eliminate dairy gradually; observe your skin over time after stopping its consumption and see how your skin responds. It may take several weeks before any results become evident so be patient!

High-Fat Foods

Though evidence does not directly link high-fat food with acne, experts believe that eating too many fatty or oily foods could contribute to hormone imbalances, inflammation, sebum overproduction and blocked pores – risk factors associated with acne. A diet rich in nutrient-rich whole foods such as fresh vegetables, beans, steel-cut oats and fruits may help lower these risks.

Though the exact cause remains unknown, some research indicates that cow’s milk (both skim and whole) may increase sebum production leading to more breakouts and protein powder shakes containing whey and casein may exacerbate or trigger acne flare-ups.

Attributes that should be included in your diet when considering fat are omega-3 fatty acids found in wild-caught fish, some greens, and nuts; omega-6 fatty acids found in refined oils, packaged snacks and fast food may also be of concern.

Oily Foods

Oily foods may exacerbate acne because excess oils and dead skin cells clog the pores, leading to breakouts. Furthermore, eating greasy food may stimulate sebum production resulting in blackheads or pus-filled spots when bacteria infiltrate.

Studies have demonstrated a correlation between frequent consumption of fried foods like pizza and fries and more severe acne breakouts. While its exact causes remain unknown, one possibility could be due to high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats found in these treats.

Skim milk has been linked with more acne than whole milk; scientists don’t yet understand why. One theory holds that hormones produced during gestation end up in milk, stimulating sebum production and leading to spot formation.

Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins is key for combatting acne. Cutting back or giving them up altogether could cause stress and nutritional deficiencies; so eating them in moderation is best.

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