Does Your Diet Affect Acne (Foods You Need to Eat and Avoid)?

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When it comes to home remedies for acne treatment, there are several crucial points that you need to concern. In general, your diet and some changes of lifestyle habits should be on your top list.

Interestingly, there are also a lot of issues and opinions about the role of lifestyles and diet in triggering pimple flare ups. Let’s explore these issues on the following section!

Does your diet really affect acne?

It is clear that all foods you eat can affect your entire health, including for the health of your skin. But unfortunately there is still no clearly answer about how far your diet would affect your acne flare-ups.

This is reasonable since diet is not the single factor behind the problem. Furthermore, there are few studies on this.

So, does your diet have an effect? Probably ‘yes’, but again diet is only one of many components that factor into acne – as noted before.

How does a pimple form? Medically, acne is considered as a kind of disorder of the skin cell’s turnover, a condition called keratinization. Skin turnover is needed to keep the health and elasticity of the skin. But sometimes this mechanism goes awry and may cause retained cells.

The accumulation of these retained cells may clog the opening pores of the skin and block the skin’s oil glands. As a result you’re likely to have more oil (natural oil of the skin called sebum).

Some protein may also get trapped into the opening pores, this could be a nutrient supply for bacteria on the skin called P-acnes to grow rapidly. The clogged opening pores may also cause decreased volume of oxygen in the skin.

All these things would create a great combination to cause acne.

There are lots of factors involved in the process of the skin renewal’s cycle, and again your diet is one of these things

Skin regeneration (life cycle) is a normal process, that’s why your body needs plenty of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients from foods that you eat to support the cycle of this renewal.

It’s true that diet has contribution. However, you should not overestimate the role of diet in affecting your acne flare-ups. Here are other factors that also should be taken into account:

  1. The areawhere you live (environmental factors such as air pollution),
  2. The quality of your sleep (whether or not you have plenty of good sleep every day),
  3. How well you cope with stress (see also the link between acne and stress),
  4. Skin care factor (whether you have good /poor skin care),
  5. And the hormones of your own body.

So, don’t only focus on your diet when it comes to acne prevention. There is no any super food that can be powerful enough ‘alone’ to prevent pimple flare-ups!

In general, unhealthy foods (such as high in saturated fats, dairy products, simple sugars, junk foods, French fries, and other acne-triggered foods) should be restricted – particularly if you have many sites of acne-prone skin.

Does eating chocolate cause acne?

You may ever hear that chocolate will make you break out – but, is it true or only a myth? Well … the answer of this question is not fully understood (still debatable).

But overall, there is still no adequate scientific evidence to confirm the connection between pimple flare-ups and eating chocolate. But if you have acne-prone skin, chocolate may be one of foods that should be restricted in your diet.

Try eliminating chocolate in your diet, then wait-and-see. If there is no significant improvement, your acne is less likely associated with your dietary chocolate.

How about eating almond – does it cause acne?

This opinion is completely only a myth. Instead, eating almond moderately may help improve the health of your skin. Almonds are high in healthy fats called ‘monounsaturated fats’ and vitamin E (both are good nutrients for your skin). 

As well we know, the skin needs to have a balance level between alkalinity and acidity to keep healthy. And monounsaturated fats are required to help improve the balance of skin pH – according to one Dutch Study.

Moreover, almond is not only great choice for your wide variety of healthy fat sources. It is also can help improve the mechanism of your blood sugar metabolism.

However, it also contains saturated fats – therefore, you still need to eat it in moderation [reference]!

Does eating meat cause acne?

There may be no any direct link between meat and breakouts, but for better result it’s much more recommended to choose meats high in omega-3 fatty acids instead of others that contain only bad fats (saturated fats).

Omega-3 fatty acids are not only good nutrient to improve the health of your heart but also a good thing for your skin health.

This healthy fat can help control leukotriene B4 production. Leukotriene B4 can trigger the over production of sebum which then will put you at greater chance of having inflammatory acne.

Salmon, avocados, flaxseed oil, and walnuts are some healthy foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.

So, what are the best foods for acne-fighting [summary]?

Again, there is no any food that can be powerful enough to prevent acne if it works alone. Other appropriate steps (e.g. having a good stress management, getting plenty of sleep, having good care skin, regular exercise, etc) are needed to provide your best chance in preventing breakouts.


In general, the following are common nutrients and diet recommendations for breakouts-fighting:

  1. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water /day (about 5-8 glasses of water /day or more if you are an athlete)! We all agree that there are a lot of functions of water that we drink to help the body keep functioning optimally. It can help hydrate the body (the basic thing to maintain the health of the skin). Being hydrated means you provide a better chance for your skin to flush out more toxins from the skin and also to get a better regeneration & metabolism of skin cells.
  2. Get plenty of selenium from your diet. It can be found in garlic, eggs, salmon, tuna, brown rice, and wheat germ. Selenium with vitamin E may work together in improving acne.
  3. Choose ‘smart fats’, particularly such as omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats – as noted before!
  4. Full your diet with plenty of vitamins! When it comes to acne prevention and treatment, vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin A should be on your top list! Both vitamin C and E can work synergistically to provide a calming effect on your skin. Then for vitamin A, it can help regulate and maintain the skin cycle. Though these vitamins are good for the entire health, you need to consume them moderately.
  5. Zinc! Some statistics show that some people with breakouts are also being at lack of zinc. More research may be needed for a clearly answer, but experts believe that zinc can help create environment that make P-acne bacteria to keep under control (not overgrowth). Almonds, wheat germ, and Brazil nuts are good sources of zinc.

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