What are Some of the Foods that Can Cause Acne?


Most of the time, taking food is such an automatic and impulsive act (especially when one is famished) that many people actually stop and think if the fare is likely to cause a breakout of acne. The truth is there are certain foods that have the real ability of causing acne breakouts. For this reason you’d do well to know something about them so as to avoid them and save you the trouble of being infected with acne.

What are Some of the Foods that Can Cause Acne?

Pertinent information on acne

Acne is a well-known skin condition which affects 10% of the world’s population

There are many factors responsible for the development of acne such as sebum production, a bacteria that causes acne, hormones, clogged pores and inflammation.

Nevertheless there has always been a controversial connection between the intake of food and causation of acne, but only recently, research studies have shown that diet actually plays an important role in the development of acne.

For the purpose of this article, four of these food types and their impact on acne formation will be discussed. Let’s start with carbohydrate rich foods.

Refined Grains and Sugars

It has been found that more people who suffer from acne are known to consume more refined carbohydrates that people who suffer a little or none from acne.

The type of foods that are rich in refined carbohydrates comprise the following:

  • Sweeteners such as cane honey or agave, sugar, maple syrup,
  • White flour made pasta
  • Rice noodles and white rice
  • Sugar sweetened drinks and sodas
  • Cereal or desserts made from flour such as crackers and bread

A study found that people who are avid consumers of sugar had a 30% greater risk of developing acne while those who consumed pastries and cakes had a 20% higher risk.

Blood sugar and insulin levels in the body can be explain by the effects that refined carbohydrates have on them.

The fact is that when they are consumed, refined carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, which boosts blood sugar levels.

When the levels of blood sugar increase, the levels of insulin in the body also increase to facilitate the carrying of the blood sugars out of the bloodstream and into the cells of your body.

Unfortunately having high levels of insulin is not a good thing for people who have acne. Why?

Insulin stimulates androgen hormones into a more active position and also boosts the insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). These occurrences help in the development of acne by helping to make skin cells grow more quickly and by increasing the production of sebum.

Conversely, low-glycemic foods that do not significantly increase levels of blood sugar or insulin are associated with a reduced severity of their acne breakouts.

While this information may prove interesting, more information is needed to firmly establish how refined carbohydrates can contribute to acne development.


Dairy Products

Numerous studies have established a connection between milk products and acne severity in teenagers.

Two studies in particular found that adolescents who consumed milk or ice cream regularly were about 4 times more likely to suffer from acne than those who didn’t.

Nevertheless it has been admitted that the studies that have so far been conducted have been of poor quality.

Up to now research has concentrated on teenagers and young adults and has only established a relationship between acne and milk but not an effect cause relationship.

For this reason it’s not certain how milk can assist in the development of acne, but theories have been proposed.

It’s known that milk boosts levels of insulin, without counting its effects on blood sugar which may actually worsen the severity of acne.

Amino acid contained in cow’s milk stimulates the liver to increase its production of IGF-1, which can help develop acne. 

While it can be said that drinking milk may make acne worse, it’s not crystal clear if dairy plays a direct part in actually causing acne. More research is needed to confirm this claim.

Fast Food

Many believe that consuming calories rich, fatty and refined  Western type cuisine has strong connections with acne.

These food types typically consist of burgers, hot dogs, milkshakes, French fries and nuggets, the core foods that sustain a Western diet that can also increase the risk of getting acne.

A study involving 5000 teenagers plus young adults of Chinese descent found that diets rich in fat were linked to an increased risk of forming acne by 43%. Eating fast food increased this risk by 17%.

Likewise a separate study, 2,300 Turkish men found that eating sausages or burgers was connected to an increased risk of developing acne b y 24%.

Other researchers were of the opinion that eating this type of food could affect gene expression and change hormone levels that could trigger the development of acne.

Even so research results on fast food, doesn’t really prove that fast foods actually cause acne so more research is required.

Fast Food

Foods Rich in Omega-6 Fats

Similar to the Western type diet, foods containing high levels of omega-6 fatty acids have also been linked to boosted levels of inflammation and acne.

This may be attributed to the fact that Western diets contain large quantities of corn and soy bean oils which are loaded with omega-6 fats, and only a few food types such as fish and walnuts that contain omega-3 fats. 

Because of the differing amounts between Omega-6 omega-3 fatty acids the body is forced into an inflammatory state which has the propensity to make acne severity worse.

On the other hand, an intake of omega-3 fatty acids may decrease inflammation levels, a situation that can reduce the severity of an acne breakout. 

Even though there may be some truth in the connection between omega-6 fatty acids and acne, there’s a lack of random studies on the topic and more research needs to be undertaken.


Any research study undertaken to confirm and refute the connection between two different things such as food and acne must leave no doubts whatsoever about whether or not such a link exists between the two. This must be so because the link between food and the development of acne is a very important relationship that can affect the lives and indeed the comfort and wellbeing of individuals. We sincerely hope you’ve learned much from this article. We have purchased acne remedies from this reputable seller.