There is no doubt certain foods can cause a acne breakout. If there is such a thing as a hormonal"acne diet", avoiding the following food categories (or reduce your intake) has been shown to keep acne under the control:
Avoid excess dairy - this can lead to increase in sebum production
Avoid excess sugar - sugar raises your insulin levels which causes a rise in inflammatory markers
Avoid high intake of processed food such as refined carbohydrates or those with a high glycemic index - these too can raise insulin levels, leading to a rise in inflammatory markers. A large study was conducted in the US found patients who were on a low glycemic index diet not only lost weight, but 87% found their acne had improved dramatically and 91% reported needing fewer acne medications
Zinc supplements have been shown to assist in the management of acne and skin repair. Studies have shown 20mg-40mg daily is sufficient, just remember to take these after food to avoid nausea
Foods which have been found to have a positive effect on individuals with acne:
Foods which are high in antioxidants as these are also anti-inflammatory
Increase consumption of fish and healthy oils which are high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids (also known as γ-linoleic acid).
Where you are breaking out can also give an indication of what is going inside your body. Check out our acne mapping guide.
Author: Helen Huynh
Pharmacist and Editor for ellé derm
1. Baldwin, H. Tan J (2020) "Effects of diet on acne and it's response to treatment." American Journal of Dermatology. Aug 3. doi: 10.1007/s40257-020-00542-y
2. "Can the Right Diet Get Rid of Acne?" (2020) American Academy of Dermatology. Cited 12/08/2020