Acne Diet

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)

Acne (pimples) has some relationship with nutrition, however there is little credible research providing links between certain food groups and acne. As an acne sufferer it is a process of trial and error. However there are some guidelines that may be useful.

Foods to Avoid


acne-dietFoods with saturated fats and trans fats can contribute to oily skin. Saturated fats are found in most animal products – such as meats, dairy, and poultry. However the body does still require other essential fatty acids – such as from fish,  flaxseed or hempseed oil.

Some believe that a high calorie intake (i.e. eating too much) can lead to increased hormone levels, and subsequently more ‘break-outs’ – but this is unproven.

What about chocolates and candy?
Many believe there is a direct relationship between eating chocolate and increased acne. However this is unproven – although chocolate does have a high proportion of saturated fats.

Foods to Try

A higher protein intake may assist in acne control. This may be to do with the decreased production of a certain enzyme that can cause more oil production, and increased clogging of pores. A diet with 60-70% carbohydrates may be too high in carbs.

Products and Treatment Video

Acne Treatments & Vitamins

Some people have found that Vitamin A and Zinc have helped with acne. In addition Green Tea could also be incorporated into the diet (as it leads to a decrease in androgen production).

High levels of iodine in the diet does impact some acne sufferers – by causing new outbreaks of acne lesions. Note that very salty (iodized salt) foods such as chips etc, contain high levels of iodine and should be avoided.

See Also

Medline plus acne information

By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Akash

    According to my analysis , getting heal from acne, you should follow some rules to get permanent soln.
    Those are as follows:-)
    -Avoid intake of oily things.
    -Wash your face with cold water at least twice a day.
    -Avoid touching your face which may cause inflammation.
    -Eat an apple daily and include fresh vegetables in meals.
    -Avoid intake of dairy products except milk (may take two cups at morning and evening).
    -Avoid more contact times with sun,wind and inhabitual situations.
    -BE HAPPY.

  • Monica

    I’m 42 and experiencing hormonal acne for about 1 year now & they’ve turned into acne scars. I’ve tried various products costing me tons of money in addition to natural goodies like salicylic acid, apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. Those products dry my skin to the point of pain and I do moisturize. I gather I’m just super sensitive. I’ve seen some posts on Vitamin A & K and will do that. It seems that with hormonal acne I’ll need to work from the inside out. I wish you all the best of luck. This is sensitive topic and I most certainly understand ones frustration.

  • Josh

    Everyone is different, lots of things work. It could be as simple as washing your face, every night, with soap, rubbing with light force in small circles

    • Rusty Shacklfurd

      How would you know? You probably don’t even use soap.

  • irfan

    I have acne only on nose from last 5 to 6 year….,
    big type of acne,
    its giv me incomfortable in party, mrgs, n any big movements….
    I hv used all type of tricks, medicines, bt here not any single movemnt to decrease acne…
    Please frnd giv me any trick

  • rt

    i hav tried everything but ill advice not to spend single money on any product for female only contraceptive for 6 months will clear your skin.believe me. its all hormonal.

  • Britney

    Everyone is different, as everyone’s hormones are functioning at different levels. What worked for me is drinking lots of water, and going on birth control. For any women who has tried endless washes that don’t work, I suggest to try going on birth control. It is a miracle pill!!! (Well, I use the NuvaRing). You see the difference in days. To keep the blemishes and blackheads away, I continue with using “Say Yes to Tomatoes” line of acne face wash. Good luck! Stay hydrated and limit your dairy! And get to a gyno =)

  • harold

    what is the best way to reduce acne forever??

    • lalasasasalsa

      I use to get pimples all over my face but I got facials.Then all of sudden no acne.Also the facialist who had amazing skin said she had cystic acne and got rid of it through acne facial.So i have to say it was amazing results.Tea tree oil also works.

    • floui

      Avoid milk and coffee (caffeine anything).

      Tea Tree Oil for 2 yrs

  • zoya

    And evn it will help to reduce acne scars…and be patient…they will nt harm your skin or make it worse..really

  • zoya

    aysha i wil sugst u 1 thing …add tomatoes and cucumber to your daily routine…which r a good source of vitamin A,C,k…so if ur skin is oily take a tomato juice nd cucumbr juice and apply it on the face with the help of cotton ball..and aftr sumtym rinse it of with cool water..wash ur face with luke warm water and thn use a cleanser gently..hope this suggstn work fr u..

  • aysha

    my age is 20 i have acne prob from last 7 year what i can do tell me i am very worried about it and how i cac remove acne scar plzzz help me give me suggestion

  • zoya

    m 18 yrs old..evn m suffering from pimples..my skin is toooo oily.. and i hate this alotttt..so plzzzzzzz suggest me a good skin care method …currently m using neutrogena facial cleanser…and further m thinkin to use garnier neem face wash(new)..is it good??? plzzzzz help me guys…evn i m eagerly waitin for a good and healty skin..before i used 2 consume lotss of sea food and dairy products bt nw i hav stopd eating all dis nd i drink lottt of water

    • Danielle

      I had severe acne for 10 years and I finally got ride of it recently by doing this:
      -wake up and drink 500ml of water at least with a good pro-biotic.
      -wait at least 20 minutes than eat an apple before breakfast and before bed.(the more apples you eat the better your skin will look)
      -Through out the day drink LOTS of water.
      -Try to eat as many raw organic fruits and veggies as possible
      -Stay away from all dairy!(dairy has lots of hormones,antibiotics and steroids that can make acne worse)
      -Some people also have a gluten intolerance so you might want to stay away from breads, and pastas or anything with wheat just till your clear then slowly add it back in to find out. (luckily I’m not one of those people)
      -exercise daily even if its just walking
      -use NATURAL skin care products and shampoo(I use the line “Yes to tomatoes” Its cheap and it works! My favourite product from the line is the “yes to tomatoes repairing acne lotion”. Chemical products can aggravate acne and make it worse(stay away from SLS, Parabens and anything that’s man made.( like Garnier and Olay!)
      -”Just natural” is another great brand but where I’m from I can only purchase online so I prefer “yes to tomatoes”
      -For toner, I like the brand “Thayers” Its cheap and natural.
      -Don’t exfoliate too often.
      -When you do exfoliate just use sugar and leave it on your skin for at least 20 minutes(or mix it with your face wash and wash it off)
      -glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane and it chemically exfoliates without irritating your skin. Plus it’s cheap!
      -After I exfoliate I use “Yes to tomatoes clear skin moisturiser”

      I hope this helps and remember the apples :)

  • Lauren

    Oh, and one more thing… although you should stick to these types of products, there is nothing wrong with experimenting with different brands and such to find which ones work best for you. I switched almost every month, keeping to a cream wash, scrub, toner, and wrinkle cream. I personally use in the AM: Olay 7-effects in 1 acne face wash, any toner with witchhazel, neutrogena intensives wrinkle + toning moisturizer and PM: Garnier Deep Clean Scrub (with dermabrasion cloth, toner, and Olay PM Wrinkle Cream.

  • Lauren

    I used to have horrible acne and now I have beautiful skin. The only thing that will help you is to keep pore clogging bacteria off of your skin and to use dermabrasion. I keep a very rigid schedule of washing my face twice a day, plus toner and moisturizer has worked. I absolutely never skip, if I do I will break out. But you have to use a dermabrasion cloth or a hard sea sponge! You can buy a dermabrasion cloth at Walmart for around $2. I have also found that products with retinol work wonders, such as wrinkle creams. My favorite is the neutrogena intense wrinkle cream + toning, that whole line has a special retinol that is super powerful, but hydrates really well. My schedule is to wash my face 2x a day, use toner, and then moisturizer. In the AM I use a cream wash, and in the evening I use a scrub with the dermabrasion cloth. You can do this for body acne too. I also use olay’s Rx sulfur mask to spot treat zits overnight. I ABSOLUTELY NEVER TOUCH MY FACE!!! I cannot stress this enough! Your hands produce so much oil and touch everything. I always carry tissues just incase, like if I need to scratch my face. And one more tip, you have to do this for the long haul. To fix acne it takes time, ALOT of time. Expect a year to fully heal your skin, but you should see results in a month or less.

  • lana

    gad am 21 and i have acne since age 15 probably tried every product out there and none seem to work i even tried accutana for 5 moth it didnt work i tried going on a diet but nothing is working and am really sad if any of you know what to do pleas pleas tell me

    • kani

      stop consuming dairy products and sugar containing food…and all ur junk foods

  • Carol

    Good luck getting rid of acne as it can be tough. I suffered from it all through my teens, 20 somethings and now Menopausal acne. I eat a very healthful diet, low in sugar, lots of fruits and veggies and still I suffer. I drink tons of water and Love my green tea and still I suffer. I have read that Vitamin A and zinc are helpful so that is what I’m going to try next. My dad also suffered from acne and it is hereditary so that could be why I can’t seem to lick it.

  • dechen

    i am 14 years old and in have acne on my face and also on my neck ……………………i want a clear skin soo what am i supose to eat ………….and how to get rid of this acne ….please help

  • daffy

    i just eat tons of veggies, my skin become clearer, and the healing is faster if any zit comes out. ive beeen having them since age 14(38 now). but any medication is bad, either it has unwanted side effects or is not effective. i stopped using at 21 and live with my acne, though it wasnt as bad. bilieve me i tried getting rid of it as bad as i could using only logics. lets see some of stuffs i’ve tried, exercise daily(good blood flow), avoid masturbating(zinc lost), eating tons of veggies, watch my hands with sanitized lotions, use plain soap(no dangerous chemicals), avoid shampoo, avoid stress(bad immune system), have a cold and allergy(enhanced immune system), avoid covering the mouth and nose(no contact). All of these aforememntion contribued more or less or has no effect
    on the prevention or healing process. but by nailing tem down one by one or combination( and i ve been experimenting them since 21 and without any damn medication) one i found just now plain and simple,its in the frigging diet: just eat lots veggies daily(half daily serving), avoid pure carbs…

  • Althy

    Sorry for all my spelling errors :/

  • Althy

    Vitamin D deficiency…. Try taking vitamin D supplements. I highly reccoment cod liver oil because it has Vitamin A and omega 3 which will help heal and protect ur skin. Seriously, 85-90% of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Your body makes the oils in effort to obsorb vitamin d because it’s deficient. Also, without enough vitamin D your body’s immune isn’t as strong and can’t heal and protect your body as well. It also helps with hormonal imbalances which is a large cause for acne. Try it! At least research it on google. Look up “vitamin d deficiency” google is ur best friend! Word it differently to get different results like “how to avoid vitamin d deficiency” or “am I vitamin d deficient” “signs of vitamin d deficiency”

  • Sarah

    Carol, I (36 years old) would suggest that you try organic, detergent-free soap. Kiss My Face has a bar soap for $4 or $5 that you can get at health food stores and many grocery stores, as well. Don’t put anything else on your face until you see if this works for you. I had terrible acne before I started using detergent-free soaps. It might just be that you have sensitive skin and the more stuff you use to try to fix it, the worse it is getting. Also, you might want to see a doctor to make sure you don’t have a MRSA infection, which spreads the more you squeeze you face. Best of luck!

  • Priya

    Carol, you might have some food allergies/intolerances too. See an allergy specialist for testing and try cutting back on some major allergens like wheat, dairy, citrus on your own. See how you look and feel after reducing your intake of those. Also, try liquid castile soap for your hair and body. You can get it at Whole Foods or online. I like the tea tree version, but it is a bit drying for my face in the winter, no problems using it on my hair and body. I had the same problems that you described- oily, smelly hair and skin that’s flaky at the same time. Eating alot less wheat and dairy and using castile soap has really helped me. I also take zinc and calcium daily.

  • Yogesh

    Carol start consuming food like Kiwi,Papaya,Guava,Dates,Carrots,These will ensure that your vitamin and mineral requiements are met naturally.It will help you.

  • amanda

    @ carol
    try paulas choice. it is the only acne wash and cream thats ever worked for me! give it a try i highly recomend! :)

  • Carol

    I am 38 and been suffering with acne since age 11. I’ve probably tried every product out there and none seem to work. Been using proactiv for 8 months now and really haven’t seen much improvement. My pores are constantly plugged and i can squeeze my face and produce thick white discharge every day! I quit wearing make-up a year ago thinking that would help but i swear its gotten worse. I have alot of scarring because i have to pop my pimples because if i dont they stay for weeks and hurt. I have even tried not popping and they still leave brown spots. My face is full of brownish marks that will not go away! Makeup makes it look worse. My hair and skin are very oily. I probably wash my face 5 times a day. I cannot skip a day washing my hair as it gets very greasy and smelly. I think my hair folicles are also plugged as my hair is getting thinner all the time. Also, my skin is very oily yet at the same time it’s dry and peeling! Frustrating! I am to the point where I don’t even want to leave my house. If anyone has any advice it would be greatly appreciated :)

    • Maggie

      Hi carol, I just saw this entry. Is your condition better now? Your situation sounded exactly like mine. To understand your situation first. Are you overweight? Do u reside in a country with summer condition all round? Stress level at work/life is very high?

    • san

      You need a proper moisturizer, washing face is causing your dryness. This dryness causes acne, you can use olive oil very light and natural moisturizer also anti bacterial.

    • Katie

      @Carol

      Go to a doctor! Your condition dosn’t sound like the usual acne problem/syptoms, going to a docotor will help you find what your suffering with and how to treat it. I hope you skins gets better, all the luck!

    • sharath pawar

      hi i myself(18) was the victim of acne just like u i hav tried many products but it didn’t worked out for me so i visited dermitologist and he suggested me accutane i.e isotretinoin and that capsules worked out like miracle for me my acne is cleared now and my scalp is also less oily now and almost no dandruff so i suggest to talk with your dermatologist about the medicine i said hope it will work for you …..

  • Cami

    I told my gardnmthoer how you helped. She said, “bake them a cake!”

  • Akash

    I’m 20 yrs old. I have this problem of black heads on my face. They appear mainly on my forehead,near eye region and nose. I have used black head uprooting scrubs but it is showing minimum effect. They disappear for some days and reappear. I have started scratching them from my face which is resulting in marks on my face. Please give me a permanent solution of this.
    Thanks

  • denver

    i have to say that when i was 12yrs old i also got really painful acne i could not sleep it hurt that much i tried everything on the market literally and got made fun of at school so finally i told my mom and she brought me to the natural pathic doctor and he gave me my life back by giving me vitamin A cream and tablet to take iam now 19yrs old and haven,t had a
    breakout since and am glad i can sleep now to everyone should try it make sure you do this during the winter and moisturize !!!!! because in the summer my skin burnt even though i had spf 80 on but then tried it during the winter didn,t get burnt once and felt nice with the cold air on your skin

  • Star Thompson

    I am 19 years old and suffer with acne and spot break outs and i have tried all sorts but the best thing ive ever used is tea tree oil its a natural remedy and can be bought from shops from as little as £3 its pure tea tree oil and what it does is it dries spots up and when i have used it my spots are fully vanished within 2-3 days i suggest anyone who hasnt tried it to do so you can get the pure tea tre oil in a bottle from boots and superdrug which you will dab on to some cotton wool and apply to your face be sure to apply to a clean face so wash and rince with just water and prefrably some soap from the simple range also from boots and superdrug its really good to use after tea tree oil has dried up all spots be sure to use a little moistriser after also from the simple range in boots and superdrug they are now even selling tea tree oil sticks so its like lipgloss but tea tree oil which is handy to take wherever and just use igt whenever you need i really hope this helps as it has worked for me another thing i did was drink plenty of water and cut out greasy foods especially too much cheese

  • Jess

    Everyone is different!
    I have cut most dairy foods out of my diet and replaced them with soy.
    I eat fresh fruits, like Blueberries and peaches instead of lollies.
    I also take ‘Inner Health Plus’ as part of my diet. I take it once a day – then have a break and take a Multi vitamin.

    REALLY WORKS!

    I wash my face with ‘ASAP daily face wash’ to help clear my breakouts – Results in 3 days. In the mornings I use the ASAP Moisturiser, but at night, I cut off an Aloe Vera leaf and smear the inside juice on my face – Kinder smells but its magic! It heals the ance wounds and dries up the ones that are about to surface.

    People tend to spend a lot of money on products when the natural ones like Aloe Vera, honey, egg whites and olive oil mixed with rock salt are the ones where you get the best results!

    I’ve had acne since I was 14! im now 22 and still have the occasional break out – I’ve tried everything and finanlly found the right diet and face products!

  • Mark Lindsay

    my advice is lots of fruit and less junk food, drink water instead of sugar drinks , a healthy diet as well as cleansing regular will help , dont waste your money on creams and lotions ! follow a healthy diet you will be fine. First hand experience advice.

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