These Are The 4 Worst Foods For Acne

Clear skin comes from within. The foundation of that is diet. And if you’re dealing with chronic breakouts, you’ll want to avoid the four worst foods for acne.

First, let me be clear.

For most chronic acne sufferers, changing their diet alone will not resolve their acne 100%. For my clients in The Clear Skin Solution, it takes a combination of healing the gut, detoxifying the body and balancing hormones. I also have my clients do an audit of their stress and emotional triggers.

But back to diet.

Yes, acne takes a deep-rooted approach.

And the food you eat is a part of that approach. As I said, it’s the foundation we build everything else from.

We can’t work on healing your gut or getting hormones back into balance if you’re not focusing on your diet as well.

I had cystic acne and it was awful.

I usually share a client’s story in my blogs, but this one specifically, I’m going to share mine.

Prior to being a nutritionist (and while I was dealing with cystic acne), I ate horribly.

My entire diet consisted of carbs, sugar and dairy. I’d have a bagel and latte for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a creamy pasta for dinner. Snacks included chips, cupcakes, ice cream and chocolate bars.

I did not eat vegetables or drink water. And I also visited fast-food restaurants 3-4 times a week.

I had no idea the food I was eating was triggering my acne to be 10x worse.

#1 Dairy

The milk in your morning coffee, the yogurt in your snack bowl and the cheese you’re sprinkling over your dinner…enemy #1 when it comes to acne. There are four reasons why.

  • Even if you’re drinking organic, hormone-free dairy STILL contains over 60 naturally occurring hormones that are big-time acne triggers.⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • The proteins in milk, casein and whey, are difficult for most to digest which leads to gastrointestinal distress, inflammation and potential damage to the gut lining.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
  • Casein has been shown to negatively impact the absorption of the skin-healing mineral zinc — which is bad news for acne sufferers. ⁣⠀⠀
  • Dairy contains insulin-growth factor (IG1), which increases insulin levels and, thus, causing blood sugar swings. The spike in blood sugar is a big culprit for acne because it causes the body to overproduce sebum. Hello, breakouts.

Try: cashew cheese, caulfilower alfredo/vegan parmesan, hot chocolate, ranch dressing

#2 Refined Sugar (& Refined Carbs)

Quick nutrition lesson: refined sugar and white flour are examples of simple carbohydrates.

When you ingest them, your body quickly converts it to glucose and floods your bloodstream with it. In turn, this creates the perfect situation for inflammation and oxidative stress to flourish. In turn, acne is both triggered and aggravated.

And if that’s not enough to steer you away from sugar, know that it also contributes to aging. Yep. Sugar breaks down the collagen in your skin and increases fine lines.

Try: super chewy lemon cookies, sweet and salty bliss balls, chocolate avocado pudding, chocolate truffles, candied pecans, gummy bears, homemade chocolate bars, vanilla donuts

#3 Gluten

Fun fact: Over 50% of acne sufferers have poor gut health. And the connection between gluten and those chronic breakouts lies in the gut.

Gluten causes permeability of the gut lining and allows toxins and undigested food particles to enter into the bloodstream. When this happens, the body looks at them as intruders and activates an immune response. By doing so, inflammation increases, and so does acne. Not to mention this immune response also impacts your insulin levels, which we already know is an acne trigger.

Try: herbed low carb bread, banana bread, burger buns, chicken fingers

#4 Refined Omega-6 Fats

While there are healthy omega-6 fats (like flaxseeds and walnuts), the majority of the omega-6s consumed are the refined and inflammatory types.

I’m looking at you corn/vegetable oils.

Not only are they the bad kinds, but they’re also vastly overeaten. Ideally, your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio would be 1:1. The average person these days consumes a ratio between 10:1 and 50:1. 

The high intake of refined Omega-6s causes huge inflammation in the body, which we know causes acne.

How My Body Responded 

The first thing I removed from my diet was gluten — but only out of curiosity. I really didn’t think it would make a difference.

To my surprise, my migraines stopped, my bloating disappeared, and my skin was clearer.

Dairy was next. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t know how I’d survive without cheese. Spoiler alert: I found alternatives and don’t miss it at all anymore.

Without the dairy, my skin cleared up even more, and my stomach aches went away.

From there, I spent the next few years tweaking my diet and eventually going back to school to study nutrition. Once my diet was pretty solid, and I have removed the four worst foods for acne mentioned above, I noticed my skin was better — but not 100%.

I had to work to correct the damage that had been done to my gut from the lifetime of eating inflammatory foods (and all the antibiotics I took). Plus, I had to address the hormonal imbalances I had from all the years I took the birth control pill.

Remember, acne is an external symptom of an internal issue. Your body is sending you signals that something is not right inside, and it needs your help.

The combination of avoiding trigger foods, increasing the healthy ones and focusing on internal healing cleared up my skin for good. And that’s why I specialize in helping other women do the same.

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