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Top 10 Foods That Cause Acne

Top 10 foods that cause acne
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Acne is a skin condition that manifests as pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads when your hair follicles become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Teenagers who are going through hormonal changes during adolescence are more likely to experience it.

In addition to hormones, diet can also play a significant role in the development of acne, meaning that anyone, regardless of age, who consumes too much of the wrong foods might get acne.

I enjoy food very much. Who doesn’t, after all? However, I have heard that you are what you consume. If you wish to prevent certain illnesses and skin issues like acne, there are several foods that should only be consumed in small amounts.

What Foods Cause Acne?

In this article, I share the top 10 foods that cause acne. 

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Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
  1. Fast food/Junk food

Pizzas, Burgers, Burritos, Sausages, Fried chicken, and all other kinds of fast foods could be doing more harm to your skin than you will admit. Junk food is rich in fat, calories and refined carbohydrates.

Eating this kind of food usually increases the risk of getting acne by 17%. Junk food contains a lot of oil which connects with dead skin cells hence acne. 

2. Sugar

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if your diet contains too many sugary foods like cake, soda, candy, biscuits, and any other processed foods, you are likely to develop acne.

The sugar in these foods gets into your blood, hence your blood sugar level increases. Your body is then forced to produce insulin to regulate the level of sugar in your blood and this affects other hormones that may boost oil production in your skin, leading to acne.

I wouldn’t say kiss these foods goodbye but eat them once in a while.

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Photo by Jessica Loaiza on Unsplash

3. Chocolate

You must be crying right now… That was me when I learned this. Chocolate is a mixture of cocoa, sugar and dairy, that can’t be good. Dairy, and especially white chocolate, contain ingredients that lead to inflammation of the skin. 

The extra sugar that goes into these candy bars may cause the skin to break out. When mishandled, a breakout can turn into terrible acne, and you don’t want that.

Here’s is the good news though, not all chocolate is bad. Try switching to dark chocolate. It is healthier, and tastier( for me), you might like it better too. In fact, Cosmopolitan says Dark Chocolate (up to 70% cocoa), is very good for your skin.

4. Foods rich in omega-6 fats

Diets rich in omega-6 fatty acids and low in omega-3 worsen acne.

A combination of foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids such as; meat, nuts, poultry, fish, eggs and sunflower oils, while lacking foods that contain omega-3 for example; walnuts, Chia seeds, and Sardines is not an advisable diet.

If the diet is more of the omega-6 fatty acids without the complimentary, one’s skin is easily prone to breakouts.

5. Alcohol

Consuming alcohol in large quantities can alter your hormone levels. Having too much alcohol content in your body causes an imbalance in oestrogen or testosterone levels.

This causes the skin to produce a substance called sebum which clogs the skin pores with oil and bacteria, causing the breakouts.

Drink alcohol in moderation, and if your skin is sensitive to breakouts, quit alcohol or keep it to the very minimum.

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Photo by Neetu Laddha on Unsplash

6. White Bread

White Bread contains refined white flour which contains a high glycaemic index that raises blood sugar levels.

 As we have noted above, insulin makes more hormones in the body active, leading to faster cell growth and sebum production which causes acne.

7. Red Meat

This list gets more interesting as it goes. I bet you’re wondering what you should eat now. Does your diet feel attacked yet? Well, red meat too!

Beef contains an amino acid called leucine which turns on a chain reaction that stimulates the skin’s oil glands and triggers an acne breakout.

8. Canned food

Processed foods have added ingredients such as; sweeteners, oils, preservatives, and spices, which are used to make flavourings.

This food is usually over-processed, making it lose its natural taste and nutritional value. This makes your skin prone to acne once you get used to this type of food because your body is introduced to different chemicals all at once.

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Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

9. Energy Drinks

We love these too, but they contain a lot of sugar and can increase blood sugar levels.  Any sugary drinks can increase risk of acne.

Avoid excess sugars when you can. 

10. Greasy foods

Foods fried or cooked with excess oils for example; Chips, Doughnuts, Samosas, to mention but a few, are high in calories, fat, refined carbs.

 These foods are also low in fibre, vitamins and minerals. They lack the nutrients to nourish the skin yet contain more of those that will easily cause acne.


Food is not completely the enemy, in fact, it is part of the solution. You just need to find the right proportions to have for all the foods you love.

The foods mentioned above should be taken in minimal or regulated quantities, whereas foods that are rich in vitamins, fibre, minerals and water should be eaten in plenty. Ensure to strike a balance between food values if you want a healthy, acne-free skin.

Know your triggers and watch your diet because your eating habits affect your body more than you think. Satisfy those cravings but keep in mind, portions.


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Meet Our Founder

Joy Akatukunda

Joy Akatukunda

Hi, I’m Joy Akatukunda. I’m a lover. My main goal in life is to inspire and empower women become better versions of themselves. I use my talents and skills to share love, knowledge, advice and ideas that transform lives. I’m a writer, singer, and occasional dancer. My talents are a gateway for my own experiences and personality to be seen and heard by the world, hoping that a certain woman will be encouraged and fired up to start her own business, hit the studio, work on her body, leave a toxic relationship or do that one thing she’s forever been afraid to do. I have struggled with these and more, hence I understand the need to inspire someone to make that bold move.

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