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Diet

The affect of diet on disease is a notoriously difficult thing to study. For this reason, we do not know for sure whether diet directly affects acne, and if so, to what degree. However, it remains a distinct possibility that moving toward a healthier diet may reduce symptoms of acne, at least to some degree. From the science produced thus far, we have early hints that it may be best to:

  • Eat a low-glycemic diet rich in whole grains, meat/poultry/fish, vegetables & fruits, nuts, eggs, and oils, and cut down on high-glycemic processed foods and drinks like white bread, candy, and soda. 
     
  • Take up to 6 regular fish oil pills per day, or up to 3 "concentrated" fish oil pills to get the omega-3 fats your body needs to combat inflammation. Remember: Acne is an inflammatory disease.
     
  • Eat lots of colorful vegetables & fruits. Nature makes food colorful when it contains high amounts of antioxidants, and these plant-based antioxidants may help calm the skin. 
     
  • Take 30mg of zinc gluconate per day: People with acne tend to be low in zinc, and multiple studies support a link between low levels of zinc and acne. 

Outliers:

  • Dairy gets a lot of press when it comes to acne, but the evidence we have thus far is tenuous at best.
     
  • Consider calories: A rapid increase in calories can cause the body to increase hormone production, which could hypothetically increase symptoms of acne. This may be why most "acne diets" tend to work in the short term as calories are limited.
     

Latest in Diet

Diet Do Sugary Foods and Drinks Cause Acne? Sugary foods like candy and soda are known as "high glycemic load" foods because they cause a spike in blood sugar and a corresponding rise in insulin, which may initiate a cascade of hormones that may lead to more acne. But more evidence is needed. January 04, 2021
Diet Diet and Acne Can your food intake cause acne? All of the latest science on diet and acne is explored on this page, including information on milk/dairy, glycemic load, omega-3s, zinc, caloric intake, fatty/oily foods, iodine, chocolate, antioxidants, and the gut. December 28, 2020
Diet Caloric Intake and Acne Increased calories might increase skin oil production, and thus make acne worse, whereas decreased calories might have the opposite effect. Is this why most "acne... December 07, 2020
Diet Is There a Link Between Iodine and Acne? Only very high levels of iodine from sources like kelp supplements or some medications lead to skin eruptions that look like acne, called "acneiform eruptions." The research shows us that we do not need to concern ourselves with iodine affecting acne when it comes to a typical diet. November 25, 2020
Diet How Fatty Foods Affect Acne It may be the calorie content in fatty food more than the fat itself that might lead to more acne. However, there is simply not enough evidence for us to conclude anything about fatty food and acne until we see randomized controlled studies on the subject. November 06, 2020
Diet The Role of Good Bacteria in the Gut We have trillions of good bacteria in our guts that keep us healthy. Oral antibiotics, which are sometimes prescribed for acne, kill both bad bacteria and good bacteria, and can negatively affect our immune system and health. October 12, 2020
Diet Tips on How to Eat Low Glycemic Eat more whole foods like meat, veggies, eggs, nuts, beans, and oils, and less processed and high-sugar foods like white bread, candy, and soda. September 15, 2020
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