Eating healthy foods in the right amounts can help prevent unintentional weight gain and keep the organs functioning well, including the skin.
Consuming certain types of food may help keep the skin clear. Some foods have properties that reduce inflammation and may help lessen the appearance of acne.
However, acne can be due to several factors, some unrelated to diet. If a person experiences acne, they may wish to speak with a doctor or dermatologist to find the right solution for them.
This article explores foods to avoid, foods to eat, and other remedies for acne.
If a person has concerns about acne or simply wants to make sure they are eating a diet for healthy skin, they may consider eating less of the following foods.
Milk and dairy products
Limited research suggests that milk and dairy products might contribute to skin conditions, such as acne, in some people.
In addition to IGF-1’s impact on hormones related to acne production, other hormones present in milk and dairy products may
Some studies in girls and boys have shown that consuming dairy products, especially skim milk, was associated with having more acne. This may be due to reduced amounts of estrogen in skim milk compared to whole milk.
Other components of milk products may also influence acne. For example, according to an
Foods with a high glycemic index
Foods with a high GI raise blood sugar — and therefore insulin levels — faster than foods with a lower GI.
Eating a diet with a high GI causes the body to produce more insulin. When the body has excess insulin, it stimulates the production of androgen hormones and sebum in the skin, which
Western diets tend to include foods with a high GI, including:
- refined grains
- sugary cereals
- white bread
- sugary beverages
- foods with added sugars
It is unlikely that any single food on this list can cause acne if a person eats them in moderation. However, following a diet consistently high in many of these foods may play a contributing role in developing acne.
Anecdotally, many people believe that eating chocolate promotes acne.
Studies on whether chocolate causes acne are inconclusive. If there is a link, it may be due to the milk and sugar content in some types of chocolate.
To keep the skin at its healthiest and help reduce acne, consider increasing consumption of the following foods.
Fatty fish is a source of omega-3 fats, an essential part of the diet with several well-documented positive health effects.
A 2020 review found that consuming omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish, helped manage inflammatory skin conditions, including:
- skin ulcers
Additionally, including omega-3s in the diet reduces the likelihood of developing skin cancer and may also decrease the effect certain drugs have on the skin.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables have positive effects on skin health. A
Sulforaphane may also help prevent premature skin aging by stimulating several protective processes in skin cells and promoting stem cell renewal.
There is not much evidence on the direct effects of broccoli on acne. However, one
When the skin produces too much sebum, it
Soy may have beneficial effects on the skin.
The treatment group also had decreased androgen hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels, which is related to testosterone.
High levels of DHT and testosterone play a role in increasing acne development, according to an
There is some evidence that consuming soy products may reduce wrinkles and increase the amount of collagen that the body produces, which in turn promotes skin integrity.
Red grapes and red wine contain the compound resveratrol, which may have several health benefits.
This substance may protect the skin by helping it stay moisturized and preventing it from losing heat.
Additionally, resveratrol may protect against UV damage. This may help protect against premature aging and other signs of sun damage, such as wrinkles and liver spots.
Resveratrol also has an antioxidant effect that may help prevent skin aging, reduce the appearance of acne, and the development of skin disorders. This includes skin cancers, such as melanoma.
However, it is important to note that when a person consumes resveratrol from dietary sources, they
While consuming a healthy diet is an important part of keeping the skin clear, there are other ways to help treat acne.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recommend the following steps:
- Use any acne products for at least 4 weeks. Some people may only experience clear skin after 2–3 months of treatment.
- If there is no improvement in acne, use specific acne products that contain benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or salicylic acid.
- Follow the directions for acne products, either from the label or from a dermatologist or doctor.
- Wash the face right after waking up, before going to sleep, or after sweating.
- Never scrub the affected skin.
- Use skin care products that are known not to cause acne, are oil-free, and are noncomedogenic, meaning they do not lead to blocked pores.
- Do not touch, pick, or pop acne.
- Apply acne products to the whole face, not just blemish-prone areas.
- Frequently wash pillowcases and other items that come into contact with the skin.
- Make an appointment with a dermatologist.
Acne is the result of complex processes in the body.
Certain foods may help keep the skin clear, while other foods may worsen existing acne.
People with concerns about their acne could try to limit foods with a high GI and possibly skim milk, as these products may exacerbate the condition.
While there is no firm evidence that eating chocolate causes acne, scientists need to perform more research in this area.
Several food items may help promote healthy skin. Eating foods that contain omega-3 fats, cruciferous vegetables, soy, and red grapes may help reduce acne, prevent skin aging, and reduce UV damage.
People can also follow simple skincare tips to reduce the severity of their acne.
It is important to note that some causes of acne may not be related to diet. Therefore, a person may not be able to clear up their acne with diet alone.
If an individual has severe acne or acne that does not respond to home treatments, they may wish to consult with a doctor or dermatologist.