Anti-Acne Diet: Foods to Eat and Avoid for Clear and Healthy Skin

By Skin & Hair Academy | June 07, 2022
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Acne develops when hair follicles get clogged with sebum and dead skin cells. The disorder of the turnover cycle of skin cells can also lead to acne formation. To avoid acne, one needs to pay attention to skin hygiene and consume the right foods.

Since diet and nutrition play a crucial role in skin health, you need to be mindful of what foods to eat and which ones to avoid if you aim for clean and healthy skin. The proper diet for acne, consisting of essential vitamins and nutrients, contributes to the skin renewal process by repairing damaged skin cells and building new cells. So, let food be your first medicine to prevent or heal acne.

This guide will help you discover foods to eat and avoid if you have acne.

Foods to Avoid for Acne

Here are a few foods to avoid to gain clear skin.

1. Refined Carbs

Refined grains spike one’s insulin levels quickly as they get absorbed straight-up into the bloodstream, thus engendering conditions that exacerbate acne. Experts say that insulin allows the androgen hormones to become more active. This eventually boosts sebum production and contributes to acne formation. Here is a list of foods with refined carbs you need to avoid:

  • Cereal, bread, desserts, crackers and stuff made from refined flour
  • Pasta, rice noodles, cookies, cakes, etc.
  • Sweets, pastries, snacks, soda, artificial sweeteners and foods with added sugar

2. Fast Food

Greasy and oily fast food not only load our bodies with refined carbs and calories and contribute to acne flareups. These high-GI foods even raise blood sugar levels which are not good for those with acne. A studyconducted on a large group of Turkish men has found that eating burgers and sausages frequently increased acne development by 24%. Well, some examples of fast food items that need to be avoided for clear skin include:

  • Burgers, sausages, hot dogs, nuggets and French fries
  • Milkshakes, sodas and other sugar-laden beverages
  • Fried chicken, tacos, pizza and chips
  • Ice cream and sandwiches

3. Whey Protein

No doubt whey protein can help your muscles grow, but it provides your body with a hefty dose of amino acids. According to studies,these amino acids allow skin cells to divide rapidly and eventually lead to the development of acne. Propellants also believe that amino acids in whey shoot up insulin levels that can, in turn, contribute to acne formation.

4. Greasy Food

Experts believe that the association between acne and greasy foods is just a misconception. That means indulging in greasy foods, such as fritters, chips and fries, won’t cause acne or exacerbate an existing condition. However, they can trouble your skin if you spend a lot of time cooking them. And the reason for this is a no-brainer – the oil from those deep fryers can clog your hair follicles.

5. Sugar or Sweet Foods and Drinks

Excessive sugar consumption can cause spikes in your blood glucose levels, and hence you are more likely to get acne. Foods such as sugary beverages, milk chocolate and desserts have a high glycemic index and can trigger acne breakouts easily.

6. Dairy

Dairy items are known for their high lactose content, negatively impacting skin health. Dairy cows are also treated with artificial hormones that can affect people who consume their milk by triggering acne.

Foods That Prevent Acne

Given below is a list of food items you can eat for acne prevention:

1. Berries

If we have to name one food for acne prevention, it would surely be berries. Berries are a powerhouse of antioxidants that can help improve the condition of mild to moderate acne. Include a lot of different berries in your diet, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

2. Carrots

Carrots are bursting with vitamin A which helps fight inflammation and prevents inflammatory acne lesions. It can also reduce cell damage and fight free radicals – factors that can contribute to acne.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin E, which are powerful antioxidants required for optimal skin health.

4. Lemon

Lemon juice has astringent qualities that can help reduce sebum (oil) on the skin. Its antiseptic qualities also help in lowering inflammation and killing acne-causing bacteria. What’s more? Lemon has bleaching properties that can heal acne scars.

5. Green Vegetables

Green vegetables and leafy greens, such as spinach, beets, cucumber and broccoli, can help reduce acne. Thanks to their high fibre and vitamin E content, they work to give clear skin!

6. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that support healthy skin cell turnover and eventually keep acne at bay. Get a hefty dose of omega-3 from flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.


The relationship between skin and nutrition is well-known. What we eat is reflected through our skin. If you are dealing with acne, some foods can help you improve your condition and prevent future breakouts. Foods such as antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies, fibre, omega-3, and vitamins A, C and E can give you results for getting clear skin. You also need to cut down on refined carbs, fast food, greasy food and sugar as they can trigger acne formation. We recommend visiting Skin and Hair Academy to learn more about acne and get expert skin care tips for clear, blemish-free skin.

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