Top 5 Worst Food That Causes Acne

A girl popping her pimples looking at mirror | foods that cause acne

There is debate over whether or not a connection between diet and acne exists. Contradictory research has been conducted on the topic, with some studies even claiming to have identified specific foods that contribute to acne. Nonetheless, we know that the nutrients we consume have an effect on our skin health and that our diet plays a significant part in keeping our skin in good condition.

Though diet alone cannot bring up acne, there is some evidence that some foods might aggravate preexisting acne. Foods that may cause or exacerbate acne are mentioned below. Read on to learn who they are.

Anti acne gel

Here is the list of the Top Five foods that causes acne:

1. Refined Grains and Sugars

Research involving 64 people with mild to severe acne revealed that individuals with acne ate more carbs than those without acne. Increased levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (a hormone that triggers increased sebum production, which typically peaks around puberty) were also present in these acne patients.

Adolescent acne may be exacerbated by a diet high in sugar, according to another research.

Examples of foods that are high in sugar and refined grains include

  • White rice
  • Rice noodles, pasta, and white flour noodles
  • White flour products including bread, cereal, cakes, pastries, and cookies
  • Beverages high in sugar
  • Sugars and syrups (honey, maple, and cane)

2. Dairy Products

Dairy products, specifically milk, contribute to the severity of your acne production due to the bovine hormones. Teenagers consuming low-fat and skimmed milk led to an increase in acne. Milk is known to increase insulin levels. Insulin increases androgen production leading to acne. Milk may be hard to cut from people’s diet as used daily, but another alternative of milk can be used such as almond or cashew milk which may prevent the formation of acne.

3. Fast Food

All of us know that fast food is not good for our health and is the reason for a growing number of health concerns. Fast food items, such as pizza, french fries, and sodas, increase acne risk. Fast food much be taken to the limit if we want acne-free skin.

4. Foods Rich in Omega-6 Fats

Foods like cornflakes, soybean oil, etc. contain Omega-6 fats that increase the risk of acne and are inflammatory. These omega-6 fats worsen the inflammation of the skin hence it’s best to avoid foods rich in omega -6 fats.

5. Chocolate

Chocolate is a dairy product as mentioned above dairy product leads to the formation of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Cacao contains vitamins A, C, E, and zinc which are all highly beneficial for your skin. So you must avoid milk or white chocolate, mostly made up of contents that lead to inflammation and agitate your acne. Instead include foods that fight acne in your diet, which have an anti-inflammatory and protective effect such as flaxseed. 

How long does it take for food to cause acne?

It takes about 12 weeks to show up acne flare-ups caused by food.

4 Food to reduce pimples

As the food listed above contributes to the development of acne, there is time to replace this food that provides nourishment and nutrients to your skin keeping it healthy and clear. Foods containing high glycemic indexes like carbohydrates, sugars, and other food items instigate acne production. So you should instead replace the best foods for healthy skin with a lower glycemic index which minimizes the appearance of acne.

A few of these are listed below:


Probiotics are a combination of healthy bacteria that naturally live in your body and promote a healthy gut which reduces inflammation and the risk of acne production. When you get an infection the healthy good bacteria from your body are replaced by bad bacteria, hence to prevent the growth of bad bacteria in the body, you must take probiotic supplements or probiotic-rich food like yoghurt, buttermilk, etc for your diet.


Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory food product that helps blood sugar levels in the body, thus inhibiting the growth of acne-causing bacteria. This leads to reduced acne production. Turmeric contains curcumin which is a potent anti-oxidant that is known to reduce inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acids: 

Omega-3s are also anti-inflammatory acid that leads to reduced development of acne production.  

Other food items

Other food items rich in vitamins A, D, E, and zinc, lean fats, and proteins are also the best foods to have clear skin by keeping your immune system healthy and preventing acne production.

According to AAD, while cow's milk (but not milkshakes) is a low-glycemic beverage, some research suggests that consuming this kind of milk may be associated with an increase in acne outbreaks. Acne has been linked to consuming every kind of cow's milk studied so far.

How to get rid of acne faster?

1. Apply ice to the pimple:

When dealing with a painful zit, the first step is to apply ice. 

Wrap the affected region in a towel and apply ice to it for three to four minutes at a time to reduce swelling and pain. 

If the ice melts before you can get it wrapped in fabric, throw a few cubes in a plastic sandwich bag. 

To reduce skin redness and swelling, repeat this many times throughout the day.

2. Apply a crushed Aspirin Paste on the Pimple:

Salicylic acid, a component of aspirin, is very good in removing excess oil and dead skin. Crushing one or two aspirin tablets and adding only a little bit of water can provide a paste that may be applied topically. 

Next, dab some paste onto the zit. 

This should lessen the pimple's discomfort and diminish swelling and redness. 

After applying the paste for 10 to 15 minutes, properly cleanse your hands with warm water.

3. Apply an over-the-counter spot treatment for acne

When selecting a product off the market, you may focus your search by keeping an eye out for two key components that are included in many over-the-counter acne treatments. 

One of them is salicylic acid. Benzoyl peroxide is a further crucial component to search for. 

Benzoyl peroxide aids in killing the bacteria that cause acne in addition to decreasing oil and eliminating dead skin cells. 

The product you pick and the frequency of application rely on the specific characteristics of your skin, even though each of these substances is secure and functions similarly.

4. Use a face mask to treat acne

These days, there are plenty of face masks available, and many of them are designed to treat acne. 

Once again, you'll find substances like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which work to clear out clogged pores and lessen inflammation to treat acne directly. 

Sulfur is an additional component that functions similarly. 

Sulfur is often used in face masks and is also useful to cure pimples, particularly milder breakouts, despite conjuring images of matchheads, hot springs, and the pungent scent of eggs. 

If you have sensitive skin, sulphur can be a better option since it is kinder than salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide.

Take Away

certain meals function as triggers and may create an outbreak even though it's unclear if particular foods have a direct connection to acne. Nearly 10% of the world's population experiences it. Therefore, it is recommended to refrain from consuming anything if you are aware that it would cause you to break out a pimple. But most essential, maintain your confidence despite the acne and appreciate yourself and your physique. Having acne will come and go.


Can drinking water reduce acne?

Yes. Water may benefit your skin in a variety of ways, which over time helps to reduce acne.

What fruit helps clear acne?

Acne individuals who suffer from this could benefit from the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics of kiwis, cherries, and stone fruits (such as peaches, nectarines, and plums).

Can coffee cause acne?

Anti-oxidants included in coffee have been shown to improve skin health and general well-being. However, adding sugar or milk to your caffeinated coffee might exacerbate acne.


  2. An E Koku Aksu, S Metintas, Z N Saracoglu, G Gurel, I Sabuncu, I Arikan, C Kalyoncu, Acne: prevalence and relationship with dietary habits in Eskisehir, Turkey
  3. Jennifer Burris, William Rietkerk, James M Shikany, Kathleen Woolf, Differences in Dietary Glycemic Load and Hormones in New York City Adults with No and Moderate/Severe Acne