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Foods That Cause and Prevent Acne

Learn how your diet can affect breakouts

GREY Journal

Most of us at some point in our lives fall victim to the pestilence of acne. Acne is caused when excessive oil and bacteria clog pores and hair follicles, leading to the infection or inflammation of skin. Two common factors that trigger these conditions are hormones and stress, but did you know diet also plays an important part? Studies show eating certain foods can worsen acne while others help to reduce it.

Foods to Avoid

Refined Sugars and Carbohydrates
bread rolls
bread rolls

Refined sugars and carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels and fluctuate the hormones that increase skin cell production. As a result, sebaceous glands secrete more oil and clog pores. Examples of these highly processed foods are:

  • White Bread
  • White Flour
  • Cookies
  • Potato Chips
  • Frozen Pizza
Milk
glass of milk and pitcher
glass of milk and pitcher

Milk’s primary function is to stimulate hormone growth in young mammals, that’s why it is known to increase levels of acne. It also helps produce insulin, which raises blood sugar levels. Though it is a great source of calcium and an immunity boost, too much milk can cause extreme fluctuations in your body.

Spicy Foods
bunch of red and green chili peppers
red and green chili peppers

Spicy foods raise your body temperature, which can inflame your skin and cause acne to flare up. If acne is a persistent problem for you, it’s best to limit consumption of spicy foods in order to reduce aggravating your symptoms. Foods that can flare up acne are:

  • Chili peppers
  • Hot Sauce
  • Excessive Garlic and Onions

Foods to Eat

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
raw fish on a plate
raw fish on a plate

Omega-3 is a type of fat known to suppress inflammation in the body. Perfect for treating acne, asthma, and joint inflammation, Omega-3 fatty acids are mostly found in fish and nuts. A few examples include:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Canola Oil
  • Soybean Oil
Probiotics
berries and nuts in yogurt
berries and nuts in yogurt

Probiotics are often beneficial because they deliver healthy bacteria that break down harmful substances in our bodies. In addition to helping eliminate acne, they also help with digestion. Foods that have been fermented and even certain cheeses are all high in probiotics.

  • Yogurt
  • Pickles
  • Kimchi
  • Mozzarella
  • Gouda
  • Cottage Cheese
Green Tea
three cups with green tea
three cups of matcha green tea

Green tea is filled with natural chemicals known as polyphenols. These chemicals act as antioxidants which help eliminate bacteria and other waste from our bodies. Green tea also reduces inflammation and has been proven through research to destroy cancerous cells and prevent heart disease. Studies on green tea are still ongoing, but there are numerous reports on how this unique beverage does wonders for our health.

D. A. Romo
Lifestyle blogger and content creator. I keep you entertained while your boss thinks you're working. After earning his BFA in digital filmmaking, David spent years honing his skills as a screenwriter and producer. He then took a chance and quit his day job to pursue writing full time. In an unexpected turn, David found a completely new role as a marketing associate and copywriter for GREY. Currently, he has one published book and is writing an adventure for a tabletop RPG.

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