The best (and the worst) foods for acne and how to eat for clearer skin.
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Our skin health is an external manifestation of our internal environment, meaning that if we’re dealing with acne, then there’s an underlying issue within our body that’s going on. I’m a big believer in treating the body holistically and finding the root cause of the symptom and I try to follow this same process with acne as well. While special serums and expensive cleansers can help, they can only do so much and they aren’t really helping the real problem. Instead, learning what to eat to reduce acne can make a major difference in your skin health.
One of the main reasons people suffer from poor skin is because of their diet. If you’re eating foods that aren’t supporting your body, this can instead cause inflammation, blood sugar spikes, and other problems – your acne is just a symptom of these underlying issues.
Ever since growing up, I always struggled with acne. My skin has never been terrible, but it’s never been great and I always had a least a few zits. It took me several years to improve my skin since I had so many underlying health issues, but it’s come a long way. My skin is still not perfect, but it’s improved greatly, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come!
Before we talk about what to eat to reduce acne, let’s first chat about foods that don’t help the skin.
Foods + Drinks That Make Acne Worse
Your skin plays an important role in your body’s own natural detoxification process. Remember that when your skin gets acne, it’s trying to help you! It’s also trying to communicate an important message to you that what’s currently going on isn’t properly supporting the body.
Here are some foods that generally make acne worse:
- Dairy products
- Sugar – I’m not really talking about fruit here, I’m mostly talking about processed high-sugar foods. Think candy, baked goods, low-quality protein bars, etc. If you want to learn more about sugar and how to tame your cravings, check out this blog post.
- Refined carbs (carbs stripped of their natural fiber – white bread, white flour, pizza, etc.)
If you’re trying to heal your acne, I suggest cutting these foods out or minimizing them as much as possible.
Foods To Reduce Acne
That list above might be intimidating, but there are still so many yummy, nourishing foods we can eat for radiant skin.
1. Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens I believe are a total beauty food since they’re packed full of powerful antioxidants, tons of nutrients, and fiber. Aim for greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, arugula, etc.
2. Wild Salmon
Wild salmon is extremely high in Omega-3’s which fights inflammation and supports healthy, bright skin. Try to ensure that the salmon is wild since they are generally found to have a healthier nutritional profile and less likely to contain contaminants and toxic substances. Try this Easy Maple-Glazed Salmon for a quick, simple recipe.
Another personal beauty food of mine! Berries of all kinds are very high in antioxidants which, as we mentioned before, are super powerful for preventing acne. Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and goji berries are all amazing options.
Turmeric is an extremely strong inflammation reducer and has tons of antioxidants, too! I try to cook with turmeric regularly since it’s just so good for our bodies. When cooking, be sure to also cook with black pepper, as they work best synergistically – it helps your body to absorb all of the nutrients from the turmeric.
Sometimes I even put turmeric on my face as an acne spot solution and it works really well. I use this CocoKind Turmeric Spot Treatment – just be careful because it can stain your pillowcases.
5. Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous veggies include foods like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, arugula, bok choy, etc. All of these veggies are rich in antioxidants and a variety of other nutrients. Not only will these be good for your skin, but extremely healthy for your body as a whole, so eat them up!
Other Food Tips for Preventing Acne
Remember that at the end of the day, these specific foods will not just heal your acne. What we’re really aiming for is a nutrient-dense diet free of inflammatory products, unnatural chemicals, and foods that don’t agree with your body.
A general diet tip I have for preventing acne is to aim for low-glycemic foods so you don’t spike your blood sugar. Blood sugar spikes are a huge culprit for acne.
How do you prevent blood sugar spikes? Easy. If you eliminate the foods/drinks I mentioned above you will be well on your way. Essentially, your blood sugar spikes when you ingest too much sugar – this can be from foods like candy and other sugar-laden products, or refined carbs where there is no fiber to slow the absorption. Soda is also a huge offender for blood sugar spikes.
Avoiding a blood sugar rollercoaster will not only help your skin but also your overall energy levels throughout the day.
Another Big Cause of Acne…
If you’re eating a healthy, nutrient-dense diet and still struggling with acne, you may be dealing with acne due to hormonal imbalance.
Do you struggle with acne around your chin and jawline? Do you have irregular or painful periods? Do you find yourself commonly fatigued, having a low sex drive, and all-around blah? These are all signs of hormonal imbalance.
Acne from imbalanced hormones is unfortunately very common in women today – if this is the case, be sure to start trying to balance your hormones naturally. Remember that this process can take time as it can take a few months before you start to notice changes, but healing the body holistically is always worth it! I actually made a YouTube video on this topic and you can check it out here!
It may also be worth working with a holistic professional to help you on this journey. Also, check out this blog post on cycle syncing – following some of the basic eating and exercise principles mentioned may really help your hormones.
I hope this info helps you heal your acne for good. I know how debilitating acne can be and how much it can affect your confidence. One thing I can say: don’t ever give up! You will figure it out.
*Please note this page uses affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small commission for purchases made using these links (at no additional cost to you). All products that I share are products I use, love, and recommend.