Acne Causing Foods To Avoid


If you have visited acne forums where people discuss about diet I’m sure you know that the ‘eternal question’ is does food X cause acne.

That is actually a very dangerous question.

It’s dangerous, because it frames the issue in a way that actually makes it harder to get rid of acne. The frame (or mindset) it implies is that certain foods cause acne. So the only thing I have to do is to stop eating those foods.

As you know from the what causes acne section, acne is linked to your overall health. It’s a sing that your body is not in balance.

Yes, diet influences the body a lot, and wrong diet over a long period creates imbalance in the body. But diet is only one part of the puzzle.

So to frame the diet issue correctly, you should ask yourself: “Is this food going to improve or degrade my health?”

What is good for the body is bad for acne.

Here’s a small (not comprehensive) list of foods that are bad for the body and will aggravate your adult acne. So try to stay away from these.

Excessive protein

Animal proteins come bundled with quite a few reasons to avoid them.

First of all, they are highly acidifying. Acid environment actually encourages the growth of harmful, acne-causing bacteria and parasites. The body is designed to run slightly alkaline and excessive acidity will throw it off balance.

Secondly packed meat contains sodium nitrite. Sodium nitrite is used in cancer research. When researches want to inflict mouse with a cancer they inject sodium nitrite into the mouse. That same thing is in practically all the packed meats in the supermarkets.

Meat also contains large amounts of sulphur. The sulphate reducing bacteria (SRB) in the gut turn sulphur into hydrogen sulphide, ammonia, phenols and other chemicals that damage the gut lining and make it more ‘leaky’.

Eat organic meat if you want to eat meat. That way you can at least avoid the hormones and antibiotics that come loaded with ‘normal’ meat.

Sugars and sweeteners

The harmful bacteria in your stomach thrive on sugar, which they convert into toxic waste. It’s not only the refined sugar that’s bad for you – it’s practically all sweeteners (including naturals like honey). Fruit juices are full of easily accessible sugar. Fruits are fine when eaten whole. The fiber in fruits prevents sugar to be released quickly. In fact fruits are one of the most detoxifying foods you can eat.

Replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners is even worse than sugar itself. Artificial sweeteners contain many chemicals that are toxic and convert to even more toxic chemicals (e.g. formaldehyde) in the gut. Click here for more info on aspartame and artificial sweeteners ( )

The only healthy sweetener I know is the herb called stevia. It’s much sweeter than sugar and doesn’t degrade your health like all the other sweeteners do. It’s so sweet that you only have to use few drops of it – so it works out to be dirt cheap also.

Dairy products

Cow’s (or any other animal’s) milk is not meant for humans. Dairy products slow down digestion of other food and give bacteria more time to putrefy them.

Pasteurized and homogenized milk is also highly mucous forming and coats your small intestine linings. This mucous inhibits absorption of nutrients through the walls of the small intestine.

Dairy cows are also constantly fed with hormones and antibiotics to maximize their milk production. Those hormones and antibiotics enter your body along with the milk you drink.

The only remotely acne-friendly dairy food is yoghurt made of raw and non-pasteurized milk. Yoghurt, since it’s already partly fermented, is also much easier to digest than milk.

For more detailed explanation, please see milk and acne page

Wheat and other grains

Grains and products made of them (bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes, etc.) have been shown to slow your transit times (i.e. the time it takes for a food to move through your digestive system). It means that food stays longer in the gut and putrefies there. Grains are also quickly turned into simple sugar that feed Candida and other harmful bacteria and parasites.

To add to the insult most of the bread and pasta are made of refined wheat flour. During refining wheat is stripped off any micronutrients and enzymes. Wheat is by far the biggest offender, but try to avoid other grains also – including rice (white and brown).

Safer alternative to rice and grains are starchy vegetables like potatoes.

Here’s a more detailed explanation of why grains are bad for acne.

Back to: Prevent adult acne

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Comments on Acne Causing Foods To Avoid Leave a Comment

lucy @ 3:19 pm #

Hello, A query – Concerning your comments re. meat containing sulphur and the problems this causes can i have your opinion on M.S.M?
I take this daily with a little diluted juice and flaxseed oil.
Also In the Clear for life book I have just purchased you tell us to avoid green tea as this does contain caffeine but elsewhere on the website you advocate it as a new convert.
I am confused. If not green tea can I drink any herbal teas?
I am struggling to replace my previous multiple cups of black tea with something hot that is suitable.
Many thanks.

Junwei @ 2:29 pm #

oh no.. I’m doing bodybuilding and my protein intake is high(not just shakes), I consume roughly 100 grams of meat protein(chicken breast, white meat fish, sometimes beef) every day. I drink coffee before I workout and now I’m adding on amino acids in my supplementation as well.. I dont take much simple sugars except after working out, I will pop 3 small sweets that contains roughly 10 grams of carbs(simple sugars). and my diet is mainly brown rice and around 1 and a half bowl of white rice everyday. I normally take wholemeal bread as well. and peanut butter(contains hydrogenated oil). Does the hydrogenated oil affects outbreaks? I think my diet has doomed me into getting pimples. So what I want to know is if there is any good antitoxifying food i can consume to neutralise my body into a less inflammed or acidic ? Best still, is there any supplement i can take to prevent outbreaks? and what can i do to clear my blemishes and scars? please..

Junwei @ 2:36 pm #

adding on the only vegetables i have are green leafed vege, pumpkin(heard its gd for complexion), I have a 1000 mg vitamin c which i cut into two to consume on morning and night. multivitamins which i take sometimes cause i heard it will create alot toxins in my already toxic body. does tomatoes help? i hate eating fruits and I only take apples for fruits. so what do u suggest? I dont want to reduce my protein but Im willing to change my diet into adding more vege and fruits. so what fruits u think is the best for curing scars and prevent acne? oh yea i have a joint supplement, combee brand. It has an ingredient that help to prevent inflammation called Dendelion and also the devil’s claws. have you heard of them before? I wonder if its gd for me..

Roel @ 2:42 am #

@Seppo, thanks to this, I’ll try to avoid those.

Sarah @ 10:59 pm #

Hi Seppo,

Question – you mentioned that insoluble fiber is not good for the body whereas soluble fiber is. I’ve heard very different things – that we need both, that each serves a different function in cleaning out the intestines. don’t fruit and vegetables have a bit of both? so how could it be back for our bodies? i’m taking a fiber powder made of fruits that has both soluble and insoluble fiber as part of a probiotic program, so that the toxins can exit my body faster. i’m confused now and would appreciate your response.

Junwei @ 2:06 pm #

Insoluble fiber helps to promote bowelmovement by bringing waste out of your body, so the body wont be constipated and it controls and balance out the ph of your body. Too much acidity in your body is not a good thing.
While soluble fiber helps by binding fatty acids in your body and thus reducing your cholesterol level. It also help to lower your blood sugar level

Sarah @ 3:48 pm #

Thanks for following up, Seppo! I’m trying not to go overboard, but I’m really just trying to avoid the initial breakout/detox reaction I tend to get when starting probiotics, so upping the fiber this much is a temporary thing until hopefully my body adjusts and my skin calms down.

Becky @ 5:28 pm #

I am curious to know if weight loss increases the amount of toxins or other compounds in the bloodstream that can cause acne. About a month ago, I switched to a vegan, no oil, no nut diet and have dropped about 30 pounds. I take a multi-vitamin supplement daily and eat plenty of fruits, veggies and few grains. My acne has anything but improved. Maybe I just need more time or to wait until I stop losing weight to see improvement. Any thoughts?

Peter @ 6:01 pm #

Hi Seppo, I read that whole bread is good for your acne and then i read that it can be harmful. I eat whole wheat bread every day and very often throughout the day. What’s your opinion?
Also, I am a 16 year old guy with acne that is becoming more severe. I was wondering what vitamins would be essential for clearer skin. Thank You!

Jessica @ 6:59 am #

Last week I came down with the flu and was unable to eat for three days. My skin cleared up, and the grease was gone. No blackheads oen my nose. Then it came back when I started eating again.

Val @ 12:07 pm #

hi Seppo, thanks for your blog and the info you provide. I have a question regarding sugar: you’re stating it’s ok to eat fruit, but what about dried fruit? I would like to cut out sugar and see if it helps with my acne, and wondering if repacing those with dried fruit is a good idea. many thanks in advance.

Tony @ 2:41 am #

Hi seppo,
I’m just wondering if brown rice is ok to eat for acne? and you say fruit make your sugar level, so which fruit is better to eat?

Ibrahim Salifu @ 9:09 pm #

Hi, I’m from Ghana and has been suffering from acne for almost 11 years now. Although I am 25 years now, I am planning to marry soon and I think because of the severe acne on my nose is preventing me from getting the choice of my life. It is indeed horrifying for me because i am the only person in my family living with acne. This has turn out to be a gargantuan nightmare for me. What do I do to exonerate myself from this hell.

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