The Worst Things To Eat If You Have Acne

January 13, 2017 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

A world of attention has been given to acne treatments and supplements that help clear up pimples and blackheads. But all of the activated charcoal products in the world aren’t going to do much good if you aren’t nourishing your skin from the inside out and eating the right foods to maintain a flawless, healthy complexion.

In addition to stocking your pantry with sunflower seeds, green tea, and oatmeal, it’s equally important to get a handle on the foods you should never eat or eat in moderation if you suffer from acne. DC Derm Docs’ Dr. Dale Isaacson and Dr. Marilyn Berzin clued us in on five foods and drinks that should be eliminated or drastically cut from your diet if your goal is to get clearer skin.

Salt — Skip sprinkling on additional salt at your next meal for clearer skin. Too much salt can dehydrate your skin and lead to swelling. It can also make it more difficult for your skin to heal acne.

Foods With a High Glycemic Index — Your breakfast pastry could be to blame for that zit that appeared out of nowhere. Studies have shown that foods with a high glycemic index, like donuts, white bread, and pretzels can raise blood sugar levels, making you prone to breakouts. Elevated blood sugar stimulates your body to pump out insulin, triggering hormonal effects, including excess oil, and increased skin cell production, all of which lead to clogged pores and breakouts.

Shellfish — Shrimp, crab, and lobster contain iodine, which can also lead to clogged pores and acne. Iodine creates irritation within your skin. If you already have clogged or congested pores, it will speed up the formation of an inflamed pimple in those who are acne-prone.

Dairy — If you’re breaking out on the chin, jawline, and neck, milk may be the cause. Since milk can aggravate this skin condition, any dairy products containing milk, including cheese, ice cream, and cream sauces, can also lead to acne. Studies have shown that eating dairy products can prompt the release of insulin, growth factors, and hormones in the body that may all play a role in breakouts. Be cautious and read food labels to avoid hidden milk solids.

Alcohol — Happy hour may not be so happy once you go home to find blemishes on your complexion. Alcohol dehydrates your skin and highlights wrinkles, which prevents your skin from healing.  Your weekend habits can also have a negative impact on your vitamin A, B3, and C levels, which are all important antioxidants for your skin and vital to regenerate new cells. But you don’t have to cut out alcohol entirely. Resveratrol, an antioxidant in red grapes, has been shown to have numerous beneficial features, especially for skin aging, and you can get enough in a single glass of red wine.

For more skincare tips, check out The 12 worst things for acne-prone skin and 7 Skincare mistakes that are aging you.


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...


The 10 Best High-End Makeup Primers Money Can Buy

Remember the days when primers weren't a thing? How ...


Here's How To Get 9 Invisibobble Hair Ties For Less Than $10!

Chances are you've encountered at least one woman wearing ...


These Are The Best Body Care Brands That You Should Be Using Every Day

Feeling like your daily shower routine needs an update? Well ...


This $7 Face Cream Makes Your Skin Smoother And Firmer Overnight--Really!

If the cold and wind this winter are taking a ...