Foods to Avoid and Eat for Clear Skin

Certain foods may aid in maintaining clean skin. Some foods include anti-inflammatory characteristics that may help reduce the appearance of acne.

Certain foods may aid in maintaining clean skin. Some foods include anti-inflammatory characteristics that may help reduce the appearance of acne. 

Foods to avoid if you want clearer skin

If a person is concerned about acne or just wants to ensure they are eating a healthy diet, they should limit their intake of the following foods.

Dairy products and milk

According to limited research, milk and dairy products may contribute to skin disorders such as acne in certain people. A 2016 study found a relationship between high IGF-1 levels in the blood and acne severity. IGF-1 interacts with the adrenal glands, altering hormones and contributing to acne. Because this hormone is found in milk and other dairy products, it may explain a probable relationship between dairy intake and acne.

In multiple studies of girls and boys, consumption of dairy products, particularly skim milk, has been related to increased acne. This might be because skim milk has less estrogen than whole milk.

Other milk product components may also have an effect on acne. According to a previous study, dairy contains the amino acid leucine, which increases the creation of sebum in skin cells.

  • Foods that have a high glycemic index
  • Acne may be exacerbated by diets with a high glycemic index (GI), according to research. High GI meals elevate blood sugar — and hence insulin levels — faster than low GI ones.
  • Eating a high GI meal leads the body to create more insulin. Excess insulin encourages the synthesis of androgen hormones and sebum in the skin, which can result in acne.
  • Western diets frequently include high GI items, such as:
  • grains refined
  • grains high in sugar
  • chips
  • cookies
  • white bread
  • alcohol
  • sugary beverages
  • sugar-sweetened foods

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.

Does chocolate cause acne?

Many individuals assume that consuming chocolate causes acne based on anecdotal evidence. However, according to a 2016 assessment, there is no convincing evidence linking chocolate intake to the quantity of acne a person has. Some people develop considerable acne after consuming this food, while others do not. The research on whether chocolate promotes acne has been inconclusive. If there is a correlation, it might be due to the sugar and chocolate milk content.

Foods that may aid in the maintenance of clean skin

Consider increasing your eating of the following foods to maintain your skin healthy and help minimize acne.

Fatty fish

Fatty fish contains omega-3 fats, which are an essential element of the diet and have various well-documented good health effects. According to a 2020 review, eating omega-3 fatty acids, such as those present in fatty fish, helped treat inflammatory skin problems such as:

  • psoriasis
  • dermatitis
  • acne
  • Ulcers on the skin

Furthermore, incorporating omega-3s in the diet lowers the risk of developing skin cancer and may minimize the effect of some medicines on the skin.


Broccoli and other cruciferous veggies are good for your skin. According to 2019 research, they contain sulforaphane, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities.


Soy may offer skin-beneficial properties.

A previous trial urged participants to eat 160 milligrams of isoflavone, a soybean component, every day for 12 weeks. The study revealed that those who received the isoflavone had considerably fewer acne lesions, or pimples, following treatment when compared to the placebo group.

Red grapes

Red grapes and red wine include chemical resveratrol, which has been linked to a variety of health advantages.

An prior in vitro investigation on acne bacteria discovered that resveratrol was relatively harmful to acne bacteria and acted to suppress them over time.

Other acne treatments

While eating a nutritious diet is vital for maintaining clear skin, there are other ways to treat acne.

The following actions are recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology Association:

  • Use any acne treatment for at least four weeks. Some patients may only get clean skin after 2–3 months of therapy.
  • Follow the instructions for acne products on the label or from a dermatologist or doctor.
  • Schedule a consultation with a dermatologist.
  • Wash your face immediately after waking up, before going to bed, or after sweating.
  • Never scrub the affected area of the skin.
  • Use skincare 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 entire face, not just the blemished regions.
  • Wash pillows and other objects that come into touch with the skin on a regular basis.


Acne is the product of various biological processes. Certain foods can help keep your face clean, while others might aggravate existing acne. Several foods may aid in the promotion of good skin. Consuming omega-3 fatty acids, cruciferous vegetables, soy, and red grapes may help minimize acne, prevent skin aging, and reduce UV damage. Simple skincare treatments can also help people minimize the severity of their acne.

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