Foods to Avoid to Minimize Acne Breakouts

By: Kristen
  1. Chocolate

While chocolate is often blamed for causing breakouts, Los Angeles, California-based dermatologist, Dr. Ava Shamban says that chocolate won’t literally cause a breakout. “[Actually] there’s little evidence that chocolate or any specific fatty foods will cause acne.” However, Dr. Shamban does note that ”Studies show that a high-sugar/high-fat diet can increase sebum production and promote inflammatory responses in the body…which can lead to acne.”

This means that even though evidence is inconclusive that a diet high in sugars and fatty foods cause acne breakouts, there is a correlation between overindulging in sugary foods and the fact that those individuals tend to have more acne breakouts compared with people who eat a diet high in other types of fresh foods (i.e., fresh fruits and vegetables).

  1. Spicy Foods

Many blame spicy foods (or spice-filled foods, particularly those with red chilies and other hot spices) for acne breakouts. In fact, a 2006 Jordanian study that was published in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, showed that acne patients tend to link spices to worsening of acne and breakouts.

However, the evidence is still rather inconclusive, and well-controlled studies between diet and acne aren’t prevalent enough to point to spicy foods as a direct acne cause. In fact, most doctors and dermatologists state that its’ more common for factors like cosmetics, fluctuating hormones and family history of acne to lead to frequent breakouts and severe cases of acne. 

  1. Cheese

A body of research has also found a link between cheese (or dairy) and acne breakouts. According to research from the book The Clear Skin Diet, “[Certain foods] trigger your body to make a burst of the hormone insulin, which help your cells absorb sugar…if throughout the day you’re pushing your blood sugar up high and fast [by eating a lot of sugary foods…you’re going to have more insulin circulating in your bloodstream.”

In fact, a 2007 study published by the American Academy of Dermatology, backs this link between dairy and acne. The study monitored 43 young men (many teens) with acne over a 3-month period. Researchers discovered that those men who consumed a low glycemic diet (measuring blood sugars regularly).

  1. Nuts

Although nuts are often pointed at as an acne-triggering food, the verdict is still out on the link between eating nuts and experiencing an acne breakout. In fact, most scientific research reveals the link between nuts and acne is still quite unknown.

A collection of studies from the American Academy of Dermatology, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that diet is not a direct contributor to acne. It does, however, claim that consumption of a high-glycemic diet can contribute to acne breakouts, whereas, science attests that a low-glycemic diet (i.e., high in lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables) seem to promote clean, healthy skin with fewer breakouts.

  1. Milk

Similarly to cheese, milk is considered a culprit for acne, even though there isn’t a lot of evidence to prove that milk is a direct breakout cause. However, that doesn’t stop acne sufferers from eliminating certain food groups in order to try to avoid the severity and frequency of acne outbursts. Multiple scientific studies claim that highly glycemic foods trigger acne, especially when you consider that increased insulin hormones, which help your cells absorb sugar, affect what’s circulating in your bloodstream and what appears on the surface of your skin.

According to a 2007 study published by the American Academy of Dermatology, those who consume a low glycemic diet (full of fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins have less instance of skin breakouts and severity of acne is lessened greatly. The study monitored a group of 43 young men and male teens over a 3-month timeframe.

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